Copyright ©2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Between now and December 25, we'll do what we can to spread some holiday cheer with some of the new music from the season. First up an instrument that might sound more like Halloween than Christmas.

(Soundbite of song "The First Noel" performed on a saw)

MONTAGNE: Still, it doesn't take long to pick out the familiar melodies of Christmas: "The First Noel," "Silent Night," "Frosty the Snowman."

(Soundbite of song "Frosty the Snowman" performed on a saw)

MONTAGNE: What you're hearing is from an album called "The Singing Saw at Christmastime." Playing the saw, Julian Koster, who normally plays stringed instruments in a band called The Music Tapes. Koster coaxes these sounds out of a standard handsaw by bending it and then drawing a violin bow across the saw's smooth edge - the one, of course, without the teeth. Extracting a melody is not so easy.

(Soundbite of song "Jingle Bells" performed on a saw)

MONTAGNE: The "Singing Saw at Christmastime" is intended to celebrate a holiday season full of good cheer. But the saws can create an eerie sense of dread. You might say just right for these uncertain times. To hear our hour's long holiday playlist - and that includes full songs by the singing saw - visit nprmusic.org.

(Soundbite of song "Silent Night" performed on a saw)

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