Conch shells are used as musical
instruments in Japan, Korea, Tibet, Nepal, parts of
Africa, Hawaii, and elsewhere. After the animal is
removed from its shell, the tip of the spine is cut
off to make a mouth piece although holes are sometimes
put in the side for side-blown conchs. A buzzing-lip
trumpet technique is used to produce a sound and the
pitch can be altered by over-blowing or inserting
the hand into the shell. As a musical instrument,
the most commonly used type of conch (a kind of sea
snail) is the pink conch (Strombus gigas
- not pictured). Pictured above in the upper left
and center are a pair of horse conch (Pleuroploca
gigantea - top 18" and center 9").
On the upper right is a rare left-coiled channel whelk
(Busycon canaliculatum), only 1 in 10,000
shells coil to the left. On the bottom is a pair of
triton conch (Charonia tritonis).
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