NPR logo

The Seasonal Sounds Of The Singing Saw

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/98215492/98255021" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
The Seasonal Sounds Of The Singing Saw

The Seasonal Sounds Of The Singing Saw

The Seasonal Sounds Of The Singing Saw

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/98215492/98255021" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Hear 'The Singing Saw'

Frosty the Snowman

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/98215492/98203716" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jingle Bells

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/98215492/98203777" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

First Noël

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/98215492/98203778" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Singing Saw at Christmastime emits a ghostly whine for the holidays. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of the artist

It's an instrument that sounds like Halloween — a ghostly whine from another dimension. But it doesn't take long to hear the familiar melodies of Christmas: "The First Noel," "Silent Night," even "Frosty the Snowman."

The music comes from an album called The Singing Saw at Christmastime by Julian Koster, who normally plays stringed instruments in a band called The Music Tapes. Koster coaxes strange sounds out of his singing saw by bending it and sliding a bow against its smooth edge. Extracting a melody isn't as easy as it may seem.

The songs celebrate a holiday season full of good cheer. But the saws that play them capture just a bit of bone-chilling terror — just right for these uncertain times.

Purchase Featured Music

Buy Featured Music

Album
Singing Saw at Christmastime
Artist
Julian Koster
Label
Merge
Released
2008

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?