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Zulu squashbox layout questions

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Following my last comment on the 2.5-year-old Johnny Clegg thread, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole on Zulu squashbox music, and eventually became fixated on the keyboard layout. The only layout chart I've found appears in this ICA article (and associated discussion on this forum here and here). I have attempted to recreate it by transposing a standard C/G layout to Eb/Bb and then swapping notes around as shown in the article, but am running into questions.


  • I assume from listening to squashbox recordings that I should be transposing down from C/G, not up, right? Making it one of the lowest tunings there is, without getting into the baritone/bass registers?
  • The layout chart on the article doesn't have any denotations for octaves, so in a few cases I'm not sure which octave some of the buttons should be, because I seemingly can't achieve the layout as shown in the chart by just swapping existing notes that would appear in the "standard" Eb/Bb layout. Does anyone here have a squashbox layout chart with octaves included?


Here's my best guess in the absence of any other information deleted due to inaccuracies; see next post.




Edited by Luke Hillman
removed inaccurate images
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Posted (edited)

I was able to make contact with the author of the ICA article, Harry Scurfield, who was kind enough to give me a demonstration of his squashbox and clarify the layout for me.

To answer my own questions,

  • Yes, it's lower than C/G. Also, the squashbox is typically a double-reeded instrument with the second set of reeds being an octave lower. To my ear the lowest notes on the squashbox sound like the bass notes on my Hohner Pokerwork.
  • Here's a layout chart complete with octaves:


Edited by Luke Hillman
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