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 classification 111.222
(Directly struck idiophone)
Inventor(s) William Loughborough
Developed Middle 20th century
Volume Low
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, 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. 
  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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