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Search for the World's saddest music 


Jim LampiChapman Stick player Jim Lampi 
The film "The Saddest Music in the World", whose original screenplay was written by the famed author Kazuo Ishiguro, premiered last night in London.

Hear Jim Lampi perform "Fisherman's Dream" and discuss sad music with Kazuo Ishiguro.

Jim Lampi plays out the programme with "Petite Paws".
Live on air

Jim Lampi performs "Fisherman's Dream" in the Today studio.
USEFUL LINKS the official website of the Tappers Guild.

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Chapman Stick

The Chapman Stick looks like a guitar without a body.
Fast fretwork

It is played through an amplifer by "tapping" the strings between the frets.
After the screening, life imitated art, when there was a competition featuring seven musical acts performing their saddest music. Jim Lampi was one of them, playing a modern instrument called a Chapman Stick.

So what exactly is a Chapman Stick? It is a ten or twelve-stringed instrument that combines the range of notes available on a bass guitar with those on a lead guitar. In fact, it looks rather like an ordinary guitar neck without its usual attached body.

It was invented about thirty years ago in Los Angeles by Emmett Chapman. Electric versions of the instrument, such as the one that Lampi brought into the Today programme studio, are played through a guitar amplifier. As with an electric guitar, the instrument's sound can by modified by introducing electronic effects pedals between the instrument and the amplifier.

Instead of fretting notes and plucking the strings as you would on a guitar, the player taps the strings down in between the frets using the ends of his fingers. This lets him use both hands to sound bass and treble notes at the same time, much as a piano player would do.

Jim Lampi says the fret-tapping technique needed to playing the Chapman Stick inspired the blazing guitar solos of rock bands such as Van Halen during the 1980s.

Vote online for your all-time saddest music

We asked you to tell us what you thought was the saddest piece of music or song, and you sent us more than 400 nominations. We've selected the five most-nominated and we'd like you to vote for the ultimate sad music.

Click here to register your vote.

Please don't send us any new suggestions as the nominations are now closed, but do register your vote by clicking the link above.

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