New member here. I built a tubulum!

So I’m a new member here. In my mid 40’s, took a little piano back in high school, and sang in a choir for a few years back in college. I’ve always loved listening to music, and especially love house/trance/electronic music.

I stumbled across a YouTuber in Australia named “PipeGuy” a couple years back and always thought to to myself “I should build that!” A few months ago in a moment of passion and inspired by a specific song I wanted to play, I finally decided to do it!

I needed just 10 notes initially, and at first the pipes just went straight out into my backyard, but after doing that, I realized I was just 2 notes away from a complete scale (C minor), and also that I wanted my instrument to be portable like his was. I also decided to buy an old suitcase at goodwill and attach a drum kick to it, turning it into a makeshift drum underneath my seat. So now I have this:

I have the notes of the C minor scale from F1 up through C3, or in terms of the tonal numbers used by IFR, what I have is 2 34 5 6 71 2 34 5 6.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to play it! I’ve already discovered a number of interesting little patterns just by “goofing off” on it, but I know there’s so much more that it’s capable of. I didn’t know it at the time I built it, but a major scale is just the same notes as a minor scale, just resolving to a different root note. So this thing can play even more melodies than I had originally imagined!

– Nate


Welcome to the forum @Nate_B . That’s a fascinating looking instrument you have there. :smiley:

I think the first time I saw that instrument was in a Phillip Glass piece. I thnk it was this video?

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Love the video!

I will say, this is probably the most fun I’ve ever had with a musical instrument! The year of piano I took back in high school was ok, but I eventually got bored with it as I felt like all I was really learning was how to transcribe notes written on a page into the striking of keys, and if I just heard music and wanted to play it, but couldn’t find sheet music for it, it would always take me forever to “hunt and peck” until figuring it out. It stopped being fun for me.

But this feels different somehow. Maybe because I built it myself, or maybe because I don’t have any pre-conceived notions of what it’s “supposed” to sound like. I can just play around on it without feeling like I have to compare myself to other people.

There are, of course, still songs I’d like to learn how to play on “the pipes” (as I call them), but I’m realizing it’s not really sheet music I want to learn how to read better in order to do that – it’s ear training I want to learn. I want to be able to “hear” what a song is doing musically, whether it’s something I heard somewhere or just something I’m imagining in my mind.

That’s where I think I.F.R. can help me. I’ve bought the e-book and the first “sing the numbers” course and I’m excited to see where it will take me!

Welcome to the forum @Nate_B. You will certainly get off to a good start reading the IFR book and singing the numbers. Listen lots and listen more and do lots of playing around, that’s how you will develop you ears!