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The Seasonal Sounds Of The Singing Saw

It's an instrument that sounds like Halloween — a ghostly whine from another dimension. But it doesn't take long to hear the familiar melodies of Christmas: "The First Noel," "Silent Night," even "Frosty the Snowman."

The music comes from an album called The Singing Saw at Christmastime by Julian Koster, who normally plays stringed instruments in a band called The Music Tapes. Koster coaxes strange sounds out of his singing saw by bending it and sliding a bow against its smooth edge. Extracting a melody isn't as easy as it may seem.

The songs celebrate a holiday season full of good cheer. But the saws that play them capture just a bit of bone-chilling terror — just right for these uncertain times.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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