At this point in time, Bob and I were both playing the Chapman Stick and I was also playing a synthesized horn called ‘The Lyricon’. The Lyricon was a 6-octave synthesizer instrument – a cross between a saxophone and an analog synthesizer. I loved it…another way of exploring new tones and using different reflexes.
One of the things that I discovered over the years of playing many different instruments was that the idiosyncrasies of those instruments can always help you to continue to be creative in your approaches toward songwriting. Just having to use new fingerings can give you new ideas about approaching a melody line and give you something to do in a different way than the way you’re used to doing it on instruments you already know how to play – it always adds some kind of new creative angle.
Each time I start playing a new instrument I also try to write a song. Not knowing the instrument well makes me think more on my creative side. When you know the instrument well, you can get locked up in the typical things that everybody else is doing because everybody’s looking at it the same way. That was, for me, what was so exciting about playing the Stick, Lyricon and the Steiner.
It may sound strange because I’m trying to explain a creative process that was going on in my head at the time, but the bottom line is that the Lyricon was yet another new instrument that we added to our arsenal of instruments in the Stickband.
The inventor of that instrument was a man by the name of Bill Bernardi. Both Bill and Emmitt Chapmen’s stories are so interesting and full of the things we Americans pride ourselves for – innovation and always moving things forward.
Want to know more? Jorrit Dijkstra has an excellent resource page on the Lyricon, including resource links and downloads: