Home > Culture > Getting a saw to sing

Getting a saw to sing

We are told to find an edge that stands out from the crowd. For Francesca Simmons, a classically-trained multi-instrumentalist, hers lay in the garden shed.

To prepare for an interview at Oxfordshire-based Gifford’s Circus in 2009, Simmons learned the musical saw – an instrument famously played by Marlene Dietrich in WW2. Today, she performs music on it from Welsh folk songs like Ar Hyd y Nos to Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender.

“My saw is a little larger than a garden saw and still has its teeth”, she explains.

Drawn by a bow, like a cello, Simmons says her saw has a certain range of notes and its tone is exceptionally pure.

“It sounds so strange, but so natural; so mundane, but so special”, she says.

Read More
Cardiff Violins says traditional instruments are still in demand due to sound quality
Will futuristic violins reach Cardiff?
Embrace the beat of Indian music
Piano trio play the old and the new