In January of 1883, Patent Number 270,543 was awarded to a toy and/or musical instrument that the inventor, a fellow named Warren Frost, called a kazoo. People speak or hum into the whistle-like instrument, and their voices are distorted with a buzzing sound that is created by a vibrating membrane.
More advanced kazoo players don't just hum, they sing syllables such as dooo, whooo, brrrr or rrrr into the kazoo in order to create more fuzzy-buzzy sounds.
The kazoo is often played by kids or in comedy music, but a classically trained musician named Barbara Stewart once performed with her quartet of kazooists at Carnegie Hall, and amazing music was played by 3,910 kazooists at Royal Albert Hall in 2011.
If you don't have a kazoo to play today, you can try what rock legends Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles used in their music: a comb and paper. (Try waxed paper or tissue paper as well as notebook paper.) Here and here are some other ways to make homemade kazoos.
Did you know...?
Some people are trying to get the kazoo named the official musical instrument of the United States.
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