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How to make your own music box from a kit

With some planning and patience, the average crafter can create a music box from a kit. By using some craft tips and following the kit`s instructions, the assembly of a music box can be a successful project.

Building a music box can be easier and less complex than it may sound. A music box kit makes it possible for the average crafter to build their own box. By preparing for this project and following the kit`s instructions, you can create a unique keepsake with a personal touch.

When choosing a music box kit, ask yourself what level of complexity and intricacy you are comfortable with. Most kits are made for adults, but there are kits designed for children as young as 7 years. More intricate kits consist of the musical movement, a slow-spinning figurine, customizable jewelry compartments, drawers, feet, inlays, onlays, and bandings. Some kits are designed to only display the sound device, called the musical movement mechanism. Many of the fine music box kits require the musical movement to be ordered separately. This can give the crafter more opportunity for customization. The musical movement, being the heart of the music box, is wound with a key called the ratchet lever. Suppliers sell classic melodies that play anywhere from 3 to ten minutes at a time. Musical movements come in 18, 30, 50 and 72 notes. The more notes there are, the more complex and deep the melody will sound.

Make sure to check the kit`s requirements list for items that may not be included in the kit, such as screwdrivers, hand drills, clamping devices, and wood glue. It is also a good idea to have a tape measure, pliers, and wire cutters on hand. Once you are ready to start assembling your music box, choose a flat, clean, work space with good lighting. Lay out your parts, tools, supplies, and instructions, with everything inside your reach. You will be working with small parts, like screws and hinges. They can be easily lost, so you may wish to keep them in a small craft container. Most kits include instructions that are both written and illustrated. Examine these to get a general idea of how the box and its contents should be assembled. When you assemble your music box, it is important to follow the step-by-step instructions from beginning to end, in this order. As you work, it is also important to protect the musical mechanism, keeping all dust, hair, clothing and wood fibers away from it. The smallest particle can stop the mechanism from playing. Keep the mechanism wrapped in plastic or in a box, and vacuum your work space before installing it.

Walnut, rosewood, maple, and cedar are popular woods used to build a music box. The inside of the box commonly stores jewelry or small treasures. The interior can be lined with soft fabrics like velvet or satin. When attaching the fabric to the music box compartments, use the glue sparingly. Apply it in even amounts, using a precise applicator. Smooth out any wrinkles or bumps that you see. If you want the mechanism to be visible inside the box, a transparent panel made of acrylic, glass, or plexiglass can be installed. Make sure to clean this panel before attaching it, leaving it free of fingerprints and particles. Make sure to remove debris from inside the movement`s case before you secure the panel that covers the mechanism.

There are many ways to decorate the outside of your music box, giving it a more personal touch. If you want to decorate your box in a more elaborate way, here are several ideas:

- The most common way to finish a music box is to apply wood stain, varnish, or paint to it`s exterior. To protect your health, do this in a well-ventilated area, as chemicals in wood stains, varnishes, and paints can be caustic. When using very strong chemicals for extended periods of time, you may wish to wear an air-purifying respirator. Ask for these at paint stores and craft supply stores.

- Designs can be created by applying paint with stencils. They can be found at art supply stores, or you can create your own. Trace a stencil from a design that you like, or draw one freehand. Use card stock, bristol board or a thick paper to create your stencil. This way, it will be sturdy and reusable.

- If you like the look of decorative papers, a unique effect can be created by gluing assorted strips onto the surface of your box. This is called `decoupage`. Papers of different textures and designs are added in a thin layer. Next, this layer is sealed with varnish and sanded. This process is repeated until the surface resembles inlay work or a painting.

With some planning and attention to detail, you can build a music box from a kit. Creating this classic keepsake can be an easy and successful craft project!

Vincenzo bellini`s operas

Read this article for a history and overview of the Italian operatic composer Bellini, whose works are still famous today.

The operas of Bellini are well-known by opera enthusiasts everywhere. His works, from Il Pirata to Norma, are prime examples of Italian musical composition and style. But when did this composer write his famous works? How did they relate to his personal history as a musician?

Vincenzo Bellini was born in Catania, Sicily, in the year 1801. He was born into a family of musicians, and started music lessons at the early age of three. His talents caught the attention of a rich Italian man of the Sicilian court, who paid for the young composer to attend the Real Conservatorio di Musica in Naples. When creating his first works, Bellini was aided by the librettist Felice Romani, with whom he worked for most of his operas.

Bellini s early operas include Adelson e Salvini and Bianca e Fernando. These works were received with great success, which led to a commission by La Scala for the opera Il Pirata, a hit. His next six operas of note were all performed in the most prestigious locations. They were, in this order: La Straniera, Zaire, Romeo and Juliet, Ernani, La Sonnambula and Norma, the composer s most famous work. Arias from each make up standard audition and performance repertoire today. Bellini s last two operas, Beatrice di Tranda and I Puritani, were well-received by the public before his death.

Despite the wide range and excellence of his works, the composer is truly known for one opera today. Norma was the composer s greatest triumph, written at the peak of his career. The libretto, written by Felice Romani, is one of the reasons that the opera was a success. It is written clearly and passionately, with attention to the details of plot and characters development. Oddly enough, the first run of the show did not receive good reviews. It was only by the fourth or fifth performance that the public began to realize that the work was a masterpiece. The role of Norma has been claimed by many prima donna s as their own. The most famous of these are the soprano Renata Scotto, who s 1980 recording won rave reviews from the opera world, and the recordings of Maria Callas, who sung the role over forty times in her life and claimed it as her signature role. While it would be hard to choose the better interpretation, it is clear that the part is incredibly challenging. The voice of Norma needs to combine elements of dramatic, lyric and coloratura singing to succeed.

Bellini s music is most known for its range, as well as the comparison between text and music that he creates. It is notoriously hard to sing his arias, because of the vocal agility needed for the runs and arpeggios located in his work. A singer must have an extensive knowledge of bel canto reach the high notes located in certain pieces. This form of music, known as beautiful singing, concentrates on vowel sounds and natural manipulation of the voice for vocal agility and performance. A connoisseur of vocal styles, Bellini was known to accept only the very best singers into his operatic performances. Bellini s music, despite its technical difficulty, almost delves into text painting, or the depiction of a solid concept in the ethereal form of music, to create a picture of the scene. This makes it worth singing one aria alone. He stokes the dramatic by placing it in the music, using characters as a tool to carry its meaning to the waiting audience.

Despite Bellini s fiercely Italian nationalism, he died living in Paris, away from his homeland, of liver damage at the age of 34. His death was recorded swiftly and was greeted with much sadness in the opera world and throughout Italy. When the bust was presented, a work by another famous Italian composer, Donizetti, was played in Bellini s honor. Donizetti was incredibly attached to his friend, and he also composed a mass in Bellini s honor.

Bellini s works live on for their melodic form and their voluptuous, almost mesmerizing music. His famous operas are, for reference: Adelson e salvini, Bianca e Gernando, Il Pirata, Bianca e Fernando, La Straniera, Zaira, I Capuletti e I Montecci, La Sonnambula, Norma, Beatrice di Tenda and I Puratani di Scozia. Singers like Pavarotti, Sutherland, Serafin, Corelli, Callas, Scotto, Levine and Giacomini have performed his work. For the beginning listener, I would recommend a viewing of La Sonnambula, as it was the composer s most famous work of his day. Continue this listening with a recording of Norma, considered the composer greatest work in modern times. Avid listeners may enjoy Il Pirata, because this gives an insight into the artist as a young composer. You may find that some of the pieces in these recordings are familiar. This is because Bellini s music is so inspiring that it is still used today to educate and uplift, in schools, advertisements and movies. Good luck, and enjoy!

Written by genevieve thiers -

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