The Kazoo [ kəzu ː ] is a small Membranophone, which belongs to the Ansingtrommeln ( Mirlitons ). Through activation or sing to a membrane is vibrated, thus changing the sound of your own voice.
Kazoos are common in a characteristic shape: a about 10-12 cm long, slightly rectangular tube, which tapers towards the end, but still is open. On the tube sits a round, semi-open holder, under a parchment membrane rests loosely. There are Kazoos in various forms. The membrane holder can be mounted on top or side.
Kazoos be made of various materials. The most common and cheapest is plastic, what the typical squeaking sound even more highlights. Kazoos Metal sound brighter and are more stable, but although they are slightly more expensive. Kazoos made of wood are relatively refined and have a warm and mellow sound.
It works similar to the old technique of comb - blowing, with an easy- saxophone -like sound. A kazoo is not a wind instrument. It is not blown, but hineingesungen. With your own voice the little parchment membrane is made to vibrate. The membrane does not bring its own sound out, amplifies it and changed only the singing voice. The result is a quäkiger, nasal, distorted sound. The pitch depends solely on the hineingesungenen tone.
Precursor of kazoos have been around for centuries in Africa. While the instrument in early jazz in so-called Jug bands or spasm bands was used as a melody and there was real Kazoo Orchestra in the 1920s, it currently plays as a rule only a role as an effect or instrument musical gag.