16/02/2018 - Allgäuer Zeitung

Allgäuer Zeitung

»Fun with 22 strings«

Women from Wiggensbach, Kempten and Altusried have discovered their love for the KernSoundboard. The instrument is easy to learn. Their joint music also pleases seniors.

In the early evening everything is quiet in the nursing home Kapellengarten in Wiggensbach. The corridors are slightly darkened and it is quiet on the way to a small room with kitchen, in which five to ten women from Wiggensbach and the surrounding area meet regularly to make music. The lively women are allowed to use the room for their rehearsals as guests. Everyone has unpacked five identical instruments. On the table or slightly removed on a wooden frame stand - slightly inclined to the player - string instruments made of light beech wood. Its trapezoidal shape and strings are similar to those of a dulcimer.
Each string is not hit, but plucked with your fingers. The "Walzer aus dem Bregenzerwald", which the women sing together, is not only a matter of unanimity, it also surprises the precision and uniformity of the game. Although Helene Sepp has only been there for two months, the interaction with the experienced ones works out perfectly. This is due to a peculiarity of this instrument, which is tuned in C major. A sheet inserted under the strings indicates the note and its value just below the string to be played. Large arches bring the gaze back to the place that is to be repeated. This greatly facilitates the game together. "So even an inexperienced player can quickly achieve extremely satisfying results," says Christa Unglert, who has been making music with the soundboard for three years.
The instrument was developed by music educator Martin Kern from Buchenberg. His idea behind it: introduce children to the music as early as possible in a tedious way. But even adults and seniors can use it for a long time to enjoy making music. "At retirement age you do not want to practice so much anymore. Then the soundboard is already a good thing. It is relatively fast in it, "says Christa Unglert. Together with Barbara Pohl she performs every two weeks in the recreation room of the retirement and nursing home in Wiggensbach. "The residents are enthusiastic about the pleasant sound and you can still talk well. Our music does not stir, but calms down, "says the youngest in a circle, Angela Kaspar, who plays in celebrations and festivals. The hits on these nights are the "Schneewalzer" or "Auf dem Gelb Wagen". Especially "Deep in the Bohemian Forest" arrive well and awaken memories of house residents. The five women obviously enjoy the classics adapted to their instrument. This joy also comes from the fact that they have a close relationship with their sound board: the women have assembled their own instrument. Under the guidance of Martin Kern, they assembled prefabricated components. They glued, sanded and waxed, and fastened the vocal cords, picking up and tuning the 22 metal strings. The chromatic range of a tone board ranges from c1 to a2 and can be tuned with the help of an electronic tuner.
The women are also ambitious in making music: they want to give the pieces even more finishing touches. Emphasizing and the right tempo need to be designed. If that does not always succeed in all passages, they take it with humor. "Anyway, we coped with each other!" Says Angela Kaspar at the end of a play. And that triggers courageous laughter in the round.

By Harald Holstein

16.02.2018 - Allgäuer Zeitung