What musical instrument is that?

In the movie A Christmas Story you no doubt recall the Bumpus’ hounds. These hounds have a theme song of sorts, which is played whenever they appear in the film. The song is dominated by this low-pitched, melodic snorting which hoots and honks out the tune in what’s supposed to sound hillbilly-ish, I suppose. I’ve heard that sound before, but can only identify it in this particular song.

Anyway, what the heck is the instrument that makes that sound?

A clarinet?

Nope. It’s far too low to be a clarinet. I don’t even think it’s a reed instrument.

Sounds to me like a jews harp. Or do hillbillies play the didgeridoo?

Yep, I think it’s a Didgeridoo…although not a hillbilly instrument…it’s origin is Australia.


Ok, I got the DVD out, and listened to it.

I does sound like a Digeridoo, but I didn’t think they were that “agile”. Aren’t they a drone instrument?

Bass Clarinet?

ContraBass Clarinet?

ContraBass Saxophone?


Reminds me of the instrument used in the long outro in “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel. Sort of a low foghorn sound.

You got it, K364; it is in fact the same instrument heard on Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” namely, the stately bass harmonica.

Yes, the bass harmonica.

Thanks. I used to play the harmonica in a band and never heard of the bass harmonica. I did think that the previously unidentified sound had a harmonica-like quality to it, but discounted that idea because I didn’t think there was such a thing.

Thanks again all.