Montreal-based toy manufacturer B. toys by Battat brought some new music product to Toy Fair, the standout being its multi-instrument implement Symphony in B.
The device, which is geared toward ages three to 13, has 15 children’s songs and symphonies, and game pieces representing 13 instruments: clarinet, flute, tuba, trumpet, xylophone, drums, cymbals, piano, accordion, koto, guitar, violin and sitar. The child can choose any combination of up to six instrument pieces at a time in coming up with new arrangements of the music–once they’re inserted into the holes in the electronic game base.
“I can’t even call it a toy! It’s an instrument,” said B. toys’ Massachusetts-based chief toymaker Gisela Voss. “It allows a child to be a composer.”
The Symphony in B. unit lights up in teaching the sections of an orchestra and showing which instruments are woodwinds, brass, percussion, keyboards or strings. The product–which won Best of Toy Fair in Hong Kong–also includes a “Playbill” including lyrics and information on the composers and lyrics.
“Nothing you do [when playing] with Symphony in B. is wrong!” says Voss. “You can put together any instruments and it will sound great.”
Voss, who is from Peru, looks to expand the toy’s “global feel” (by way of its Japanese koto and Indian sitar) with the inclusion of more world music instruments, like Peruvian pan flutes and Andean charango lute, in future B. toys product.
B. toys also introduced its dog-shaped guitar-like Woofer at Toy Fair–sort of a follow-up to its Meowsic grinning cat-shaped mini-piano (which also offers bells sounds, organ, banjo and “meowaphone” tones). The Woofer lets a child play 20 different sing-along songs–and nine original “Peppy Puppy” tunes–using three musical play modes: acoustic, electric, and “hound dog” howls.
The toy’s guitar strings play chord progressions or pre-recorded songs; eight musical buttons likewise play chords in guitar or “woof sounds,” and a “Whammy Bone” permits personalizing the music when manipulated. A lyric and music booklet is also included.
New, too, is the Carousel Bells unit–a spinning handheld or table piece, available in large “Colossale” and smaller “Piccolo” sizes and consisting of eight brightly-colored metal bells, packaged with a song sheet for seven songs that are played by striking the bells with the supplied mallet.
B. toys’ new music toy additions are in line with its philosophy that musical toys should not only teach children about music, but teach them to love music as well. Hence, the company stays away from typically synthetic music toy sounds in favor of both orchestra quality sounds and ethnic instruments rooted in the company’s international heritage.
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