Manila Folders

March 4, 2018

Musical Saw

Some specific January night in 2014, the SCAD cross country team got together at one of my teammates house along with some potential recruits that were in town. This was an opportunity for us to all get together and show these recruits what it’s like to be on our team. Being an athlete at an art school is rare and difficult enough, let alone trying to recruit other athletes to come to your school. I think back on this specific night frequently, as it seems to epitomize how wonderful it was to be a part of this team.

Once you walked into the house, off to the side you could see a mountain of bikes beginning to build, and the living room was taken over by Guitar Hero. Boxes of pizza were piled up in the kitchen, and just around the corner was a stair way that led upstairs. However, the floor they led up to seemed to nearly reach the ceiling. It was up there that you’d find half of the team, huddled on this half-floor, playing various instruments and singing songs together. Even if you didn’t know how to play an instrument (such as myself), there was a tambourine you could shake or a washboard you could bap on. For whatever reason, perhaps because it seemed to silly, I found myself completely mesmerized by the musical saw. Here’s a video from that night:

Last night I learned how to play the saw, so now I'm dropping out of school to join a band.

A post shared by Matthew Smith (@matthewsmith.jpg) on

For the years to follow, this tradition of patch-work music continued, and once a year I’d get my time to shine—to finally live out my dreams of learning to play any sort of instrument. I would buy one for myself, but I fear it’ll lose it’s luster if I do so.

In case you’re wondering if the musical saw serves any purpose beyond sounding spooky, here are some songs which feature it:

Now that I listen to this again, Smooth Hound Smith might be using a theremin, but whatever I’m including it any way.

And lastly, so you can hear how beautiful it can truly sound: