General information and resources for students and adult learners.

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    The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you go. - Dr. Seuss

  • Research Is . . .

    Research means that you don't know, but are willing to find out.-Charles F. Kettering

Guitar

The guitar was first played in Spain more than 400 years ago.  Today it is used to play pop and classical music.  The fingerboard has thin strips of metal called frets, which show guitarist where to put their fingers.  they can play single notes or chords.  

Guitar strings are plucked or strummed with the fingers or with a plectrum.

The guitar has a long history, going back at least three thousand years to an ancient Middle Eastern tribe called the Hittites. They played a guitar-like instrument that was probably made from a gourd resonator and had only one or two strings.
About eight hundred years ago medieval minstrels played an instrument called a gittern carved from a single piece of wood and with four metals rings. This is the main ancestors of the Spanish guitar which has a characteristic figure-of-eight shape. This in turn is the ancestor of the many different guitar types played today

The Spanish or Classical Guitar
The present-day Spanish guitar dates from the early 1800s. Before this, guitars were smaller, some having only four strings, with a wide variety of tuning system. The modern instrument has the familiar figure of eight sound box, a round sound hole, nylon strings and machine head tuning keys.
The classical guitar or Spanish guitar has six strings, three nylon treble strings and three bass strings, made from fine wire wound around nylon fibres. For some styles of music, metal strings are used which produce a louder,harsher sound.
The strings are plucked with the nails of the thumb and three fingers. The tone is eve, clear and bell-like; robust in the bass and sweet in the treble. Extremely complex music can be played on this guitar. Like the piano, the melody and the accompaniment can be played at the same time.
The sound of a note can be sustained by plucking the string with the index, middle and ring fingers in quick succession (temolo). Other effects used by the guitarist include vibrato, produced by shaking a finger on a stopped string to give a pulsating tone and playing close to the bridge (sul onticello) which gives a brittle tone.

10 Most Important Guitar Chords for Beginners - Part 1


Guitar Chords for Beginners #2 - How To Play The G Major Chord


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Parts of Acoustic Guitar

The acoustic guitar has three basic parts: a head, a neck and a body.

  • The Head- The head, sometimes called a headstock holds the tuning pegs also called tuning machines, machine heads or tuning gears) that the strings are attached to. In a six-string guitar there are six tuning pegs. Each tuning peg has a knob you can turn using your fingers. The knob will tighten or loosen the string tension and this put each string into "tune".
  • The Neck -The neck is usually fixed to the body by bolts or glue or formed from the body in one piece. It often has a metal truss rod running through it to strengthen it and help against any slight warping or twisting. The neck has a flat piece of wood called the fingerboard of fretboard.
The fingerboard is divided into sections called frets. These sections are marked off by pieces of wire set into the wood called fretwire. By stopping a string in between the fretwires- that is "in the middle of the fret"- the frets determine the different pitches or notes you can make on each string. The strings run from the bridge, along the neck and across the nut - which is a piece of wood, plastic or metal at the top of the neck with slight gooves for each of the six strings-to the tuning pegs.
  • The Body -The body in an acoustic guitar is where the sound comes from. It consists of a top piece, which is sounding board with a sound hole and a back and sides, which contain the sound and make it resonate.
The body has a bridge, made from either wood or metal, which anchors the strings. There are also strap pins or posts which you can use to attach a shoulder strap.





As one of the most popular instruments in the world today the guitar has developed a bewildering numbers of shapes and types. It is used in almost every style of music and instruments builders have invented new sorts of guitar for the particular need of each style.
A lot of music has been written for the guitar as a solo and group instrument. It is sometimes played in the symphony orchestra and in opera. The classical guitar blends well with the flute, recorder or harpsichord and is particularly good for accompanying the voice. The guitar has survived and prospered and no other instrument has the power to bring people together.

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The saxophone


Of all the members of the woodwind family, the saxophone is the most modern and probably the most familiar among non-musicians. 


  • The saxophone is characterized by a fairly wide body made from a conical tube of thin metal, commonly brass which is expanded at the open end with a small flare.
  • It has 18-21 tone-holes of graduated size, all of which are controlled by keys.
  • At the mouthpiece end are two speaker keys that enable the instrument to over-blow at the octave.
  • The mouthpiece, which is fitted with a single reed, was originally made of wood but is now commonly of ebonite or sometimes brass.

The saxophone was invented by a Frenchman named Adophe Sax and patented in Paris in 1846. The saxophone started off, like so many brass instruments, as a regular, if not indispensable, member of military bands, being officially adopted by the French army in 1854.
Since that time, the basic shape and design of the instrument,with its brass or nickle-plated finish and characteristics curved body, has change little.
  • During the 20th century, some additional features were included, such as pearl tips on the finger buttons and small roller situated between certain keys to allow the player's fingers greater flexibility.

The saxophone is not a prominent feature in the symphony orchestra, but it gain the notice of a number of composers, in particular, Vaughan Williams in his Fourth Symphony and Prokoviev in his Romeo and Juliet Suite both composed in 1935.
  • It was the jazz, however that the tenor saxophone found its true niche. Its greater range, compared to the alto, along with its remarkable ability to bend and alter the tonal quality to bend and alter the tonal quality of notes, made it extremely versatile both as a solo and rhythmic instrument.
  • In the 1930s Coleman Hawkins and in the 1950s John Coltrane did much to elevate the status of the tenor saxophone in the world of jazz.

As a solo instrument, the tenor is capable of a wide range of expression:
  • From subdued, velvety and breathy tones to bright, cutting edge which accounts for its popular use in punchy brass sections.
  • In addition, through subtle and not so subtle - distortions of the mouth shape, a player can emit a variety of special effects from growling to screaming.

How Can I Supposed to Live Without You - Kenny G & Michael Bolt





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Cello

The cello (Chello) has four thick strings and a broad, deep body.  It is played with a bow made of horsehair.  The bow is much shorter and heavier than the bow of the violin.  Cellist also pluck the strings.  The sound of the cello is rich and low.

The cello dates back to the end of the 16th century when it evolved from a 15th century instrument called the viola de gamba, or viol-between-the-knees. It was smaller than the cello and less rounded, but it was held between the knees and bowed in the same way.
Originally known as the violoncello, which literally means "little violone" - the violone being the double bass; the name has been shortened to the cello.
  • It has four strings and covers approximately four octaves in its range.
  • It is held light between the knees and is supported by a height-adjustable metal spike.
  • It is played by bowing (arco), plucking (pizzicato) or by striking the string with the wooden part of the bow (con legno- literally with the wood).
The cello is known for its warm, rich tone and is one of the most versatile instruments in the orchestra. It plays all sorts of roles: sometimes it joins the double bassess, chugging away at a bass line on other occasions it plays the rhythmic inner part associated with the middle strings.
The cello's most glorious sound is produced when the composer gives it a singing melody, there is nothing quite like the sound of the whole cello section playing a beautiful melody over the rest of a symphony orchestra.
Many composers have written pieces for the cello, famous composer Antonio Vivaldi knew its value and wrote several concertos where the cellos have equal status with the violins. Because of the cello's range of sound, it can used to evoke many emotions.
How the cello works
Sound is produced from the cello in the same way as the violin except that its pitch is proportionately lower.
The four pegs at the top of the instrument are used to tighten and slacken the strings for tuning purposes and must be able to withstand the added pressure exerted on them.
A cellist normally sits on a chair, holding the body of the instrument between his or her knees,with the weight of the instrument resting on a spike.





  • Fact File:  A cello made by Stradivarius was sold at Sotheby's in London in 1988 to £682,000.

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The Tuba


The tuba is the largest of the brass wind instruments.  Its massive size and extensive coiled tubing require strong lips and lungs to blow through the cup-shaped mouthpiece. 
With its wide,cone-shaped bore design and large flaring bell, the tuba is most known for the deep, rich tones it produces.
Although the name "TUBA" was originally coined by the Romans for their forerunner of the trumpet, the word is now universally associated with the large, fun-loving brass instrument that rumbles away besides the trombones in an orchestra.
The tuba originates from the early years of the 19th century - a time of feverish activity for instrument makers. The developments in science and industry meant that instruments could be built with a technical accuracy never before possible.
Composers, more ambitious than ever, demanded a wider choice of instruments for their new compositions. In particular, there was a need for a new bass instruments that would complete the brass section. It was the Tuba that filled this gap.
It was in 1835 that a patent was granted to two German companies for designing the new instrument. The new tubas were made in various sizes, ranging from deep to very deep and became popular in military bands and in orchestra.
  • Two distinct designs of the brass instruments developed. the kind now more usually seen has the bell (the flared end) pointing up. This is the usual orchestral instrument, which is played sitting down. Another rather ingenuous design, called a sousaphone, was built specifically for marching players. The tubing of this instrument surrounds the player's body, while the bell turns through two right angels, finally resting on the player's shoulders.
The sound of the tuba is thick and heavy and not as brilliant or penetrating as the other brass instruments.
  • In the orchestra its usual role is to add weight and depth to the bass section. it is also capable of playing melody with sensitivity and can be remarkably agile. Indeed, a number of 20th -century composers have written solo works for it.
In a brass instrument, such as the tuba, the air is set in motion by the player's lips pressed hard against the mouthpiece.
  • The shape of the mouthpiece is therefore very important. On the tuba, it is deep and cup shaped. This, allied to the wide, conical-shaped tubing, or bore of the instrument creates the tuba's warm, rich sound.
How the tuba works
The number of different notes playable on the instrument is increased by the use of valves, of which the tuba usually has four. These are operated with the fingers and open and close additional lengths of tubing.
Did you know?
  • A person who plays the tuba is called a TUBIST.
  • The largest tuba, measuring 8 feet in height, would have stretch out more than 45 feet in length if uncoiled.
Super Mario Bros. - Solo Tuba


Simpsons Tuba Trio





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The violin


The violin is one of the best loved of all musical instruments. The beauty of its shape is matched by a beauty of tone. The violin is a member of the family of stringed instruments. It is capable of a wide range of musical expressions; the sound of the violin can be almost as varied and as moving as the human voice.
Anyone who is asked to make a list of musical instruments will no doubt place the violin close to the top. Its clear tones are familiar to everyone and its versatility has given the violin its place as leader of the orchestra.
It is a symbol of romance in countries of the Mediterranean, where violin players serenade young lovers at café tables. The violin is also an instrument to dance to. Almost all traditional country dances rely on the accompaniment of the fiddle. In Medieval times, minstrels with stringed instruments were a familiar sight.
Violin is one of the most expressive instruments and is used by composers to evoke moods. A wide range of effects can be achieved from a variety of playing techniques.
  • The familiar mellow sound is made by simply drawing the bow across the strings creating an atmosphere of serenity and stillness.
  • Sometimes the sound can be so pure that it resembles the soprano voice of a choirboy. By contrast scraping the bow across the strings in abrupt jerky movements gives a harsh, angry sound and is often used to portray storms or violent events.
  • The trembling effect used for sad music is obtained by sliding the fingers along the strings, whereas the short,snappy sounds used to conjure up lighter moods come from plucking the strings. This technique can create an impression of dancing or raindrops.
In recent years, the violin has become a feature of modern popular and jazz music; many rock and pop artists have abandoned synthesizers in favour of orchestral arrangements for massed violins to create a softer effect.

How the Violin Works
Sound is produced from strings by bowing or plucking. This makes the air inside the body of the instrument vibrateand amplify the sound. This is called "resonance".
Four strings are stretched from the bottom of the instrument, over a raised'bridge' and held in position by pegs at the end of the finger board. The violin is tuned by twisting thsese pegs to slacken or tighten the strings.
High and low notes depend on the size thickness and tension of the string. The shorter, thinner and more taut it is, the higher the note it produces.
How strings are made?
All violin strings used to be made from sheep or even cat gut. Then it was discovered that winding aluminum or silver thread round the gut meant that strings could be made stronger and thinner.
Now nylon or plastic is often used instead of gut for the central core and the strings are wound with aluminum or copper wire. the material from which the string is made affects the quality of the sound it produce.

The variety of musical effects possible on the violin makes it one of the most popular of all musical instruments.
All over the world you will find people playing violins or similar kinds of musical instruments. The versatility of the violin makes it suitable for playing many different styles of music.

Sarah Chang plays Bruch - 3rd Movement




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The Trombone

The first trombone date from the late 15th century, they were called sackbuts meaning " "pull-tube" and they were played in bands at royal festivals and weddings. In a painting from the 1490s on a church wall in Italy, one of a group of flying angels is shown playing the sackbut.
The oldest trombone in the world was made in Nuremburg in 1551. Like all trombones it was designed to be taken to pieces when it was not being used. The sliding section and the bell are made to lock in tone another for playing but they come apart and pack alongside one another. This means that the long, thin instrument can be carried about easily. The modern trombone has changed little since then, except that the tube and bell are bigger.
Although it was common throughout Europe by the 16th century, it was most exclusively used in church music, particularly for dabbling up choir voices with its soft mellow tone.

The trombone is a member of the brass family and was the first of today's orchestral instrument to appear in its present form. The trombone has always been one of the most versatile among brass instruments. Indeed it is a mark of its wide tonal range that it became as popular in military and dance bands as it had done earlier in the church.
The first classical composer to score for the trombone regularly was Beethoven, who used it for the first time in his Fifth Symphony in 1808, since then the trombone has played a central role in the orchestra, which usually includes two tenors and one bass trombone. Its bright rich sound is effective for adding volume and depth as well as for cutting through all the other instruments when required.
Twentieth-century avant-garde composer Arnold Schoenberg was the first to make use of the trombone's unique glissando effect (sliding the pitch of a note up or down) and ever since it has enjoyed a special place in everything from jazz and pop to classical music, from military and dance bands to musicals and of course comic effects.



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How the trombone works


The trombone is made of cylindrical brass tubing connected to a mouthpiece at one end and expanding into a bell at the other end.
Apart from the mouthpiece, there are two sections that can be fitted together so that one slides in and out of the other. Bass trombonists, however often use an attachment for the deeper notes. The slide replaces the valves on other brass instruments and like them alters the space in which the air vibrates. Thus changing the pitch.
There are seven natural positions on a trombone from which two octaves of harmonics can be produced. So when a player establishes a natural tone, he can produce harmonic notes by keeping the slide in the same place, while changing the pressure of the air through the mouthpiece.
Three main or common sizes for the trombone:

  • The alto trombone The small alto instrument is less common and players tend to keep it for long high notes that need to be played softly.
  • The tenor trombone In brass bands and orchestras, the trombone section is mainly made up of tenor trombones. In most marching bands you will see the trombones marching at the front, this is so that long slides don't hit anyone in front of them as they march along.
  • The bass trombone The bass trombone is the biggest of the family. It has a much larger flared bell than the tenor. This how you can spot the bass trombonists in the brass section of the orchestra. Most bass trombones play an instrument with extra tubing placed in the bell section of the instrument, over the player's shoulder. By operating a valve that opens or shuts this extra tube. The player can make the instrument work like a tenor trombone with the tube shut or a bass with the tube open.



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The Electric Guitars

The electric guitar was created during the explosion of 20th century innovations in music. It is the driving force behind rock 'n' roll music.

And though the electric guitar physically resembles the acoustic or Spanish guitar the similarity ends there.

What is the difference?
  • The acoustic guitar has a hollow body that functions like an echo chamber, resonating with the sound the strings make when plucked. The only way to increase the volume of an acoustic guitar is to attached a microphone that is plugged into an amplifier.
  • The electric guitar when played, the string vibrations do not echo in a hollow chamber, instead the sound are translated into electrical impulses by a magnetised device called a "pickup".
Where does the sound of the electric guitar comes from?
Electric guitars have added elements. Just like an acoustic guitar, shortening or lengthening a string will give you a variety of pitches or notes. But without a hollow body that resonates, where does the sound come from?
  • The sound comes from electric pickups, wire-wrapped magnets that act like tiny microphones placed under each string.
  • The vibrations of the string cause the magnet in a pickup resonate or more accurately to "modulate" a tiny magnetic field.
  • That signal is picked up by the pickup and turned into a small electrical current.
  • In turn, that current is conducted from the pickup from the pickup to an external amplifier by the electrical cord that has one end plugged into the guitar and the other into an amplifier.
How loud the note is and whether it's distorted or thick and bass-y or thin and treble-y is all determined by volume, tone and effects controls on both the guitar and the amplifier.
  • Electric guitars have narrow necks to make it easier for the player to reach around the neck and the body is cut away to allow high notes to be played easily.
Electric guitars are designed to produced special effects. Many guitarist use effects to alter the sound of their instruments. These are plugged in between the guitar and the amplifier. They change the sound by altering the signal from pick-ups.
Most units have a footswitch to turn the effect on and off. There may also be other controls to vary the level or speed of the effect. On some units the harder the pedal is pressed, the more intense the effect becomes.



  • Early electric guitars has a 'tremolo arm" - a lever which could be sued to alter the pitch of notes as they were being played.
  • Wah Wah pedal - a pedal operated by foot pedals, guitarist can control a variety of unusual sounds. It creates a "wailing" sound by alternately boosting and cutting the treble and bass.
  • A multi -effects unit has several different effects built into one box. Single effects or combination of effects can be selected by pressing the foot switches.
The electric guitar is a versatile instrument and the player can obtain many different sounds. Most instruments have two or three pick-ups designed to produce different combinations. The player can select a single one or any combination of them.

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Different Types of Electric Guitars


The First Electric Guitars
  • The first solid body electric guitar was made by Rickenbacker in 1931. To amplify the sound it used a simple pick-up made from two large magnets. Later along with other manufacturers. Rickenbaker began to make guitars with twelve strings.
  • Leo Fender began to experiment with smaller pick-ups. By 1948 he had produced the Fender Broadcaster. This was later re-named the Fender Telecaster, to avoid confusion with another product of the same name.
  • At around the same time, Les Paul was also experimenting with amplified guitars. Later he joined forces with a guitar manufacturer, Gibson, producing a range of Gibson Les Paul guitars, many of which of which are still popular today.
Different Types of Electric Guitars
There are lots of different types of electric guitar. Over the years, guitar manufacturers have experimented with guitar designs, trying to produce instruments which are distinctive to look at as well as to play. Here are some of the most popular designs made.Gibson Flying V solid electric - In an attempt to modernize their designs in the 1950s, Gibson came up with the Flying V. it is still made today.
  • Hofner Violin Guitar- In the 1960s another manufacturer, Holfner, produced a guitar in the shape of a violin.
  • Vox Phantom twelve-string - Like Gibson, other manufacturers were trying to bring their designs up to date by changing the shape of the guitars
  • Kramer Baretta solid electric - Some guitar-makers have experimented with producing a distinctive sound. Kramer electric guitars are particularly popular with heavy metal guitarists.

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The Clarinet


The clarinet is a popular instrument today. A clarinet is a woodwind instrument. It is shaped like a narrow tube. You play it by blowing in one end through a pointed mouthpiece. The mouthpiece has a thin piece of bamboo called a reed in it.
The clarinet is a single-reeded member of the woodwind family and it was the first reed instrument in which an extensive range of notes over three octaves could be obtained from a cylinder.
There are several members of the clarinet family including the soprano, alto, basset horn, bass and double or contra-bass. They are traditionally made of wood, but today many clarinets are made of special plastic instead. It is cheaper than wood.
History of Clarinet
People have played woodwind instruments for thousand of years. The clarinet developed from an instrument of the early 1600s called the chalumeau, similar to a recorder. This had a reed tied over a large hole in the mouthpiece, it had seven holes and one key for the player to change notes.
The clarinet was derived from the Italian word clarinetto meaning "little trumpet". The clarinet was invented by the German Flute maker Johann Denne in 1690 and was adapted over the years until the German flautist Theobold Boehm devised the clarinet we know today.
Learning to play an instrument takes a while but is well worth the effort. 
It is a great fun to play in groups of clarinettists. 
You can do it by joining a school orchestra or a marching band.
 It takes a lot of practice and time to improve on playing the clarinet. 

So you want to play the clarinet?
It is not a difficult instrument to play, of all the wood wind instruments, the clarinet makes the widest range of sounds:
  • It can play low notes and high notes, it sounds range from smooth and gentle to honks and shrieks.
Clarinets are common in marching bands,orchestras, jazz and folk groups but not much in rock music because it is not loud enough to compete with electric instruments usually found in rock band.
Many schools include lessons in their curriculum and the clarinet plays an important role in school orchestra, musical ensemble and marching bands.
Many students hire a clarinet for a short time before buying it. Hiring is cheaper than buying. It gives you the chance to decide whether the clarinet is the right instrument for you. It also lets you try different types of clarinets.
You can also buy secondhand clarinet they are cheaper than new ones. Music teachers can help you choose a beginner's clarinet. They may even recommend a particular type of clarinet.
Make sure that the instrument you choose has a secure case, that will protect it when you carry it around.
Fact File
  • The famous Austrian composer Wolfgang Mozart was the first composer to use the clarinet in a symphony. He believe it was the instrument closest in sound to the human voice.
How the Clarinet Works- Parts of the Clarinet



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How the Clarinet Works

The holes on a clarinet are either covered by padded keys or left open until covered (stopped) by the player's fingers.
  • Sound is created when a single thin, flat slip of cane (the reed) is made to vibrate by the player blowing through the solid mouthpiece. The reed is pressed against the lower lip, while the player's top teeth bite down on to the mouthpiece.
  • The sound is amplified down the length of the tube, while the pitch of the note is dependent on how many and which holes are covered or left open. We change pitch on a clarinet by covering or uncovering holes. This changes how much air there is inside. The clarinet produces its lowest pitch when all the holes are closed. This is the longest possible length of air it can hold.
  • Clarinet players cover finger holes with their fingertips. They use both fingertips and knuckles to press keys. Each key is attached to a lever. the lever presses a felt pad firmly over a hole, covering it. Springs move the pad off the hole once the key is released. The rings operates as keys. They open or close other holes whenparticular fingering is used.
  • A good mouth position helps to produce a beautiful sound. It can also help you reach very high notes. You fold your lower lip over your lower teeth, bite gently on the mouthpiece, smile slightly and blow! It sounds tricky, but practice can help get it right.
  • Clarinet players should always blow air into the mouthpiece from their lungs, not from puffed-out cheeks. They can blow for longer and play longer notes. When you puff out your cheeks, your lower lip gets floopy. It then vibrates with the reeds as you play. This affects the sound you made.
  • The best way to play a clarinet is to stand or sit up straight. Hold the instrument pointing downwards, about halfway between horizontal and vertical. This position helps you breathe better than if you are slouched.
Parts of the Clarinet

  1. Mouthpiece - the mouthpiece has a slanted top. A large hole underneath is covered by the reed. A metal or plastic cove protects the reed from damage
  2. Barrel - is the short, fat part after the mouthpiece.
  3. Upper and lower joints have finger holes and keys to change notes. Clarinetists keep their hands in the same position on the instrument as they play.
  4. Keys - the keys allow the clarinet players to play lots of notes without having to shift their hands.
  5. Bell - the bell is the curved piece on the bottom end of the clarinet where the sound comes out. The hole inside is wider than in the barrel.

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Drums


Drums are the oldest instruments in the world. Drums are quite simple instruments, all you need to make a drum is a stick and a surface to hit. Drums were once used to communicate, drums were also used for religious purposes and has become an important musical instrument in many cultures.
Drums come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all have some features in common.
How do drums make their sound?
  • A drum is cylinder (shell) with a membrane at one or both ends (the drum head). When something strikes the drum head, it produces vibrations in the air inside the shell. These vibrations make invisible ripples of air, our brains interpret these movements of air as sound.
  • Different types of head, and different shapes of shell give different shapes to the vibrations inside the drum. We hear these as different pitches when the drum is played. A smaller shell creates a higher pitched sound, whilst a larger shell creates a deeper sound.
What are drums made of?
Drum shells can be made of almost any material. Traditional drums are often made of carved or hollowed out-wood. Modern drums can be made of anything from specially treated wood to plastic and even metal. Different materials create different sounds.
Some drum heas can also be made from different sort of materials. In the past animal skins were used and still is the case with some traditional insturments. Modern drum kits use a plastic called Kevlar.

Drums can be played in a wide variety of styles from classical and jazz to rock and pop. They can be played alongside other percussion instruments.
One of the great things about the drums is that they are relatively easy to learn. With a little practice you will be able to play a basic beat within a few hours. Within a few months, you will be able to play along with your favourite songs.
Most drummers will tell you that they always tap on things before they even started playing the real drums. This is after all, how drumming started thousands of years ago.
But like any other instruments rhythm is a very important part of any piece of music and the only way to learn how to play the drums well is to practise, or you can enroll in a drumming class and by listening to other drummers too.

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Kinds of drums


Snare Drum /Side Drum
The snare drum was orignally used ti give signals on a battlefield. It has two heads or skins, one at each end of the drum. These are made of animal skin or plastic. Metal wires called snares rest against the lower head. They rattle when the drum is struck.
The snare drum is sometimes called the side drum because in marching bands players carry it at their side. It was developed in the 16th century and is still carried the same way on a sling that hold it on the players's left side. just below the waist. Both hands are left free to hold a pair of sticksand the side drummers play using both sticks together.
In the orchestra and as part of the modern rock drum kit, the side drum is held on a stand at waist height in front of the player.

Tom-toms
Tom- toms were first played in the Caribbean hundreds of years ago. European visitors gave them the name tom-tom, after the sound they made.
Tom-toms are part of the drum kit and they are played with hard wooden sticks which produce a powerful sound. There are always at least three tom-toms in a drum kit. The two smallest tom-toms share a stand with the bass drum. Sometimes tom-toms are played in orchestra too.

Bass drum
The bass drum is the deepest sounding member of the percussion section of the orchestra. The modern bass drum is up to 100 cm in diameter and has a calfskin or plastic head on each side.

The note a bass drum plays is altered by the tension of the head. The tone of the drum is altered by the kind of beater the player uses. The soft beater produces a dull, deep note, a hearder one makes a louder sound.
  • In the orchestra, the bass drum is usually hung on a large stand, which allows it to be moved easily and to be swivelled into the best position for playing. It stands at the back to stop it drowning out the other instruments. The drum is so large that drummer must stand to play it.
  • In jazz and rock drum sets, the bass drum is mounted on the floor and the bass drum is not played by hand, instead the drummer uses player uses a foot pedal to operate the beater. The bass drum is the biggest drum in the drum kit and has the deepest tone and it rests on its side.

Around the drum kit
Modern drum kits include several types of drum, so that the drummer can produce different sound.
The basic drum kit is referred to as the five piece kit. There are actually more than five pieces, the five refers just to the number of shells. The drum kit includes the following:
  • Snare drum
  • Floor toms
  • Bass drum
  • Cymbals
  • Tom toms

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The flute


The flute is a member of a family of musical instruments that are played either by blowing down or across a hole at one end of a pipe. You use the fingers of both hands to cover and uncover holes along the length of the pipe to change notes.
The flute, in various forms, has been around for many centuries. It is one of the world's ancient instruments. The oldest known flute was found in a cave in Slovenia. It dates back about 50,000 years. The flute is made from the hollow bone of a young bear and has jut two tone holes.
A 9,000 year old instrument found in China is the oldest playable flute, it is made from bird bones and has seven tone holes. There is evidence of its existence even as long ago as ancient Egyptian times, when it was a basic clay pipe with holes in it. The present day flute is known as the transverse flute. Unlike its predecessor, which was held upright, it is held at right angles to the body.
Generally speaking, the recorder was for many years, a more popular instrument than the flute. By the time of Haydn (1732-1809) however, the flute was an established member of the orchestra. The most important period for the flute was the early 19th century, when Theobald Boehm developed the key system that was later used for the clarinet, oboe and bassoon.
Older flutes were made of hard wood or ebonite, a hard substance produced by treating rubber with large amounts of sulphur. The modern flute is usually made of silver and other metals and it has a compass of around three octaves.
There are usually two flutes in the orchestra. They generally play two different parts but sometimes double each other and play the same part.
Occasionally the second flautist plays a piccolo, a tiny flute which sounds an octave higher. This is used when a bright, piercing tone is required.
The flute can hold its own against a whole string section and because of this and its variety of tone qualities, it is a favourite solo instrument. In its upper register the flute is bright and clear. But in its lower octave it has a hollow, woody, haunting sound. Many composers have written concertos and solo pieces for this instrument.
What types of music can you play on a flute?
The flute has a gentle pure sound and it is an important member of the orchestra. The flute is also played in marching bands, wind bands and flute ensembles. Some flautists play jass folk and pop music. In this kind of music, players use microphones and amplifiers to make the soft sound of the flute louder.
You can play the flute on your own or with other flautists. You can join different groups like school orchestra or wind band. Playing the flute in choir is a great way to get to know other flautists
It takes a bit of practice to learn how to blow correctly across
 the blow hole to make a beautiful sound.


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How the flute works


The flute is a side-blown, blow hole instrument.  The flute is a member of a family of musical instruments that are played either by blowing down or across a hole at one end of a pipe. You use the fingers of both hands to cover and uncover holes along the lenght of the pipe to change notes.

The modern flute is unique in the woodwind family. It is no longer made of wood but of silver and other metals and it is the only woodwind that has no reed.
  • In common with other wind instruments it has a key system which opens and closes the length of the instrument, thus changing the pitch of the note by giving the air inside the instrument less or more space in which to resonate.
  • The flute is the only woodwind instrument that is held sideways and has a unique mouthpiece in an unusual place which is at the side of instrument.
  • Most people have at some point produced a note by blowing across the top of a bottle. This is how the sound of the flute is made. The flautist places the outside of his bottom lip on the mouthpiece and almost smiles at the instrument as he blows across the hole.
Putting the Flute Together

The flute comes in a hard case.
This helps you to carry it around safely when you are not using it.
The flute comes in a three parts. 

  • Hold each part carefully where there are no keys as you put the flute together.
  • Twist gently to connect the middle joint and footjoint . 
  • The rod to which the footjoint keys are attached should line up with the middle of the keys on the middle joint.
  • Twist gently to put the headjoint on. Line up the blow hole with the keys.
Fact File:
  • Originally the flute had one thumb-hole and from four to eight finger -holes but no keys. The first key was added in 1677.
  • The flute entered the orchestra in the mid to late 18th century.
  • Glass flutes- Flute makers have experimented with some very unusual materials. In the 1700s, some German flutes were made from porcelain.
  • In 1806, a French flute-maker called Claude Laurent made a flute from green glass. It had metal keys. Today you can still buy glass flutes. They are made from specially though Pyrex glass to prevent breakages!

How to Play the Flute: Tips and Techniques





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