Lujon (musical instrument)

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Lujon (from Emil Richards Collection).jpg
Lujon with pitches A2, B2, D3, F3, G3, and A3
Percussion instrument
Other names
  • Loo-jon
  • Metal log drum
Classification Percussion (Metallophone)
Hornbostel–Sachs classification111.222
(Directly struck idiophone)
Inventor(s)William Loughborough
DevelopedMiddle 20th century
Playing range
Varies depending on configuration

The lujon (/ˈlɒn/ LOO-jon) is a bass metallophone consisting of individually-pitched metal plates that are attached to the resonance chambers of a partitioned wooden box.[1]


The lujon was invented by William Loughborough.[2] At his Sausalito, California studio, Loughborough created a variety of new percussion instruments, including the boobam and lujon, after working with Harry Partch in the mid-1950s.[3]

The lujon is played with soft mallets and produces a sound that is dominated by its fundamental frequency.[4] The instrument is also known as a loo-jon or metal log drum.[5] In a 2009 Web post, Loughborough provided the following historical background: "Henry Mancini's drummer, Shelly Manne had several drums I made and one of them was the Lujon (a pun on 'John Lewis' who bought the first one). Mancini was very impressed with the instrument and wrote ['Lujon'] using its scale as the theme."[6]

On 7 April 2010, Loughborough died of a heart attack in Madrid, Spain, at the age of 84.[7]


Composers who wrote for lujon include Jerry Goldsmith, Gerald Fried, Dave Grusin, Clare Fischer, and John Williams. Henry Mancini used it in his score for Hatari!, and also featured the instrument in a composition called "Lujon."[8]


  1. ^ Beck, John H. (2013). Encyclopedia of Percussion. Routledge. p. 56. ISBN 978-1138013070.
  2. ^ Robertson, Charles A. (April 1961). "Jazz and All That". Audio. 45 (4): 62.
  3. ^ Foster, Enid (28 September 1957). "Music History Being Made at Loughborough's Studio in Marinship". Sausalito News. p. 6.
  4. ^ Fletcher, Neville H.; Rossing, Thomas D. (1998). The Physics of Musical Instruments. Springer Publishing. p. 569. ISBN 978-0387983745.
  5. ^ Adato, Joseph (1985). Percussionists Dictionary. Alfred Music. p. 23. ISBN 978-0769234915.
  6. ^ Loughborough, William (November 26, 2009). "Ode to Lujon". My Quiet Life. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved October 14, 2017.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  7. ^ Love, Fillmore. "In Memory of Bill Love: One of Our Own". Independence Today. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  8. ^ Buhler, James (2000). Music and Cinema. Wesleyan University Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-0819564115.

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