Claus Blocks

By Kristi P.

My instrument is collection of boxes filled with assorted items in order to produce different sounds. The boxes are filled with baggie ties, puzzle pieces, foreign coins, Legos, dice, Q-Tips, mini washers, and bouncy balls.

The instrument is played by shaking the boxes, such as one would shake a gift under the tree on Christmas. I chose to decorate the boxes with Christmas wrap and ribbons to follow a Christmas theme.

The Claus Blocks would fit into the idiophone family because they are played by shaking. The boxes don't have definite pitches, but the volume does vary with each box. Some of the materials in the boxes, such as the Q-Tips, baggie ties, and bouncy balls, are much quieter than the boxes that have dice or puzzle pieces inside.

Generally, the volume and sound the Claus Blocks make can be altered by the way they are shaken or by the force that is used to shake them. The materials inside the box and the size of the box determine the resonance of the Claus Blocks. The timbre is different in every box, once again because of the type of material inside. The Q-Tips produce a soft, light, tapping sound, whereas the mini washers have a jingly, bell-like sound. The box that has bouncy balls inside offers a heavy, mellow sound.