Boom Monkey

For Christmas, Misty’s mom got me a set of boomwhackers. They’re pitched plastic tubes — think handbells for people too nerdy to play handbells. After I got them, I had fun playing various simple songs for Eli. Then I started wondering: could I do something more complex with them?

The result, through a chain of reasoning I will not attempt to reproduce: Boom Monkey, a cover of Jonathan Coulton’s Code Monkey. The vocals are his; I did the arrangement and played the instruments, where by “instruments” I mean “boomwhackers and a shaker”. Boom Monkey is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 US license. You can either download the mp3 or listen to it below.

[audio:BoomMonkey.mp3]

Update: By request, I’ve made a separate instrumental version of the song.

21 thoughts on “Boom Monkey

  1. Wow! This is the first time I’ve ever heard boomwhackers played seriously as a musical instrument instead of as an educational exercise. A good reminder that in the hands of the right musician, any instrument, no matter how humble or toylike, can produce fine music.

  2. *blink* Stephen, you never fail to impress me. So, big deal, you’re a rocket scientist, whatever. But now it turns out you’re a percussionist? And a music arranger? Good lord, what next, a video editor? Oh, wait…

  3. I’ll see if I can’t get this stupid connection to play the audio… but I wanted to comment that I’m quite familiar with Boomwhackers. Our handbell group has a two-octave set of them. My director’s been after mee to write a piece for handbells and boomwhackers.

  4. starlady, now I have evil thoughts of trying to put an actual band together to play this live.

    Joyce, this is what comes from some fifteen years of piano lessons, jazz trombone, and music theory. I can’t really compose to save my life, but give me a set of chords and I can go to town. Give me a set of chords and about six months of practice and I might could do it live again!

  5. I just played it for Z. He loved it and smiles and made baby noises and such!
    (I loved it too.)

  6. Okay, Stephen … so how did you play all this? I take it that you arranged it so you could play stuff in small bursts, and then you spliced it all together? If you ever wanted to work this out live, well, you know I’m a handbell nerd. 😉

  7. I recorded each individual boomwhacker and used the individual sounds as samples. I’ve only got a one-octave diatonic set, so I had to do some after-the-fact pitch shifting to get the range I needed.

  8. Okay, boomwhackers are GOOD! Love that! And the link to Plastic Musik was also appreciated. Wow! Of course you realize I’m telling my mom about you having cool-sounding percussion instruments, right???

  9. You know, very few songs have had the effect that this one had had on me. Nothing like having your life summarized in a few minutes, eh?

    Your version is amazing and, since I had never even heard of boomwhackers prior to this, you have also made a strong point for the usefulness of something that most regard as a toy. Awesome.

    I can’t wait to get my full set and begin playing with them. This is all your fault, you know that, right? 🙂

    Thanks for everything.

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