Wednesday, January 7, 2009

January 28th is National Kazoo Day!!!_Kazoo facts and How to make 3 different Kazoos

NATIONAL KAZOO DAY is Jan 28, 2009!

National Kazoo Day 2009 will be celebrated on Wed. Jan. 28th, because it is convenient to Your Chairperson. (Our rules designate the 4th Thursday in January or whenever convenient to the kazooist.)

May all of you have an eco-friendly and economically feasible HAPPY KAZOO YEAR!
This year we commemorate the 159th birthday of the Kazoo!

For Your Information:
The kazoo is a type of mirliton - a device which modifies the sound of a person's voice by way of a vibrating membrane.

On Playing the Kazoo:

Playing the kazoo is not actually "humming" it is more about "singing" in order for the kazoo to make any sound.
If you speak "do, do, do..." into the kazoo mouthpiece, the 'hard' vocalization makes a more effective sound.

History of the Kazoo
Such instruments have been used in Africa for hundreds of years, to disguise the sound of somebody's voice or to imitate animals, often for various ceremonial purposes. It was on such an instrument that the kazoo, invented by an African American named Alabama Vest in the 19th century in Macon, Georgia, is based. The first kazoo was manufactured to Vest's specifications by Thaddeus von Clegg, a German clockmaker in Macon. The kazoo was first publicized at the Georgia State Fair in 1852. The first metal kazoos were manufactured and patented in Eden, New York, where they are still made in the original factory.

The kazoo is played professionally in jug bands and comedy music, and by amateurs everywhere. It is one of the few acoustic instruments to be developed in the United States and one of the easiest melodic instruments to play well, requiring only the ability to vocalize in tune. In North East England and South Wales, kazoos play an important role in so-called juvenile jazz bands (really children's marching bands).

Leonard Bernstein included a segment for kazoo ensemble in the First Introit (Rondo) of his Mass_(theatre). The kazoos are played by the boy's choir.

One of the best known kazooists in recent times might be Barbara Stewart. She was a classically trained singer who has written a book on the kazoo, formed the "quartet" Kazoophony, and performed at Carnegie Hall. She appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

Classical Kazoo Choir

Kazoos are not just for kids!!!


Comb Kazoo
You will need:
waxed paper

How to:
Fold the waxed paper in half over the comb with the teeth of the comb in the fold.
Tah Dah!!!
Play by placing your mouth over the toothed edge and humming (well more like singing).
You can also try moving the comb from side to side.

Cardboard Tube Kazoo
What you need:
Cardboard tubes (from toilet rolls, plastic or foil wrap, paper towel)
Waxed paper
Markers or crayons

How to:
1. Decorate your tube with markers or pencil crayons.
2. Cut a 5 inch square out of waxed paper.
3. Place the square of waxed paper on one end of tube and secure with an elastic.
4. To play your kazoo gently hum into the open end of the kazoo.

Straw Kazoo
What you need:
drinking straws

How to:
First, flatten out one end of a straw. The easiest way to do this is to bite on it.
With a pair of scissors, cut the flattened end of the straw in an upside-down "V" shape.
This will act as a reed just like in a clarinet.
Place the "V" end of the straw in your mouth so that the "V" end is just past the inside of you lips.
Press on the "V" with your lips while blowing.
This might take some practice. You may have to separate the "V" a bit.

You can also try cutting the straw and then blowing on it.
Do you hear how the pitch of your "kazoo" is higher?

Here is the only picturebook I could find that featured kazoo playing:

There once was a duck
who loved the kazoo.

He played:
La ditty, da ditty, zu zu.

some info I used was found at

1 comment:

Jen said...

This is simply amazing! Very innovative and creative. I really loved the materials you put to complete the features this kazoo. We did a DIY Kazoo project out of the same materials you used. You should check it out! :) DIY: Kazoos