Music Then and Now - A Brief History of Music and Woodwind Instruments
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Music envelopes us. It is a mainstay of our own society and is built into the souls of our beings. Even in utero it is stated that the fetus is able to respond to music the mother plays or sings. Music come in just about every environment around us: calming or happy music in restaurants, grocery stores, doctor/dentist offices, department stores, elevators, schools, or weddings; majestic music at firework displays or parades; or perhaps serene music at the funeral. It can be heard on nearly all television commercial along with the theme of every television show. Some people crave music like a drug and just cannot live without it playing in a car and even singing within the shower.
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Every person has the ability to produce music whether vocally or having a music instrument. We might not all have accurate intonation or pitch vocally or might not produce a great sound as a result of difference in how we process auditory information, as Simon Cowell so blatantly points out on "American Idol", but we've the capability of producing music. With many coaching or instruction, like lots of the cast members of the tv screen show "Glee" as reported by Emile Menasche', we can deliver a powerful vocal performance.
As time passes, music has developed into an extensively large various categories and subclasses. It may include classical, jazz, blues, swing, symphony, opera, rock, rap/hip-hop, country, folk, pop, R n B, theatre, rock, Latin, techno, tango, children's, electronic, Native American, inspirational, marching band, gospel, romantic, melancholy, or spiritual. Many of these types of music have come about as a part of the changes in the structure and performance of our cultures.
Music also serves to be really therapeutic. From my own, personal experience as an occupational therapist, music helps persons having a range of different disabilities to further improve function whether it might be for communication or movement purposes. For example, in working with persons who've sustained a stroke and possess expressive aphasia (able to understand language, but struggling to formulate the words to verbally express it), singing lets them say what they want simply because this involves a different the main brain. In working with kids with autism spectrum disorders, I have discovered music helps develop more coordinated movement and motor planning because it provides the timing and rhythm these children are not able to access of their brain. Any music instrument can be therapeutic, whether it is woodwind instruments, brass instruments, or string instruments, or maybe even dancing to music.
But where and when did woodwind instruments originate? Whenever we look back in history we will find out what the first woodwind instruments were. However, since the late Curt Sachs so intelligently highlights, music originates returning to pre-instrumental music and primitive man. According to him that "all higher creatures express emotion by motion" eg. stamping his foot on a lawn, slapping his body, or clapping his hands. These audible actions were the precursors to the first woodwind instruments and most likely man was not even consciously mindful of sound as a separate idea.
Through archeological findings, the 1st true music instrument noted in history was the strung rattle which contains nutshells, seeds, teeth, or bones strung in cords or tied in bunches and suspended from a part of the body (ankle, knee, waist, or neck) as a technique of adding sound to body movements or dancing. However, this is a delayed sound following the body movement. Later, the sound became more direct, and not exact, as gourd rattles filled with pebbles or small hard objects were shaken in tribal dances. From that point, other more direct sounding instruments were developed which used feet or hands to make sounds eg. stampers (used stamping sticks or devices to make sound on board or bark covering hole in ground), slit-drums (stamping on empty tree trunk over the pit), drums (used hands or later stays with hit membrane stretched over opening of hollow body of the shape), friction instruments (employing a tortoise shell or rounded piece of hard wood with four notches reduce it and rubbing it on palms to produce a humming or squeaking noise), bull roarers (quickly whirling a skinny board attached to a wire overhead making a roaring sound), and scrapers (scraping a notched stick, shell, bone, or gourd using a hard object).
The ribbon reed was the very first simple music instrument to be played with the mouth much like the woodwind instruments. This was just a blade of grass removed from a reed stretched backward and forward thumbs held side by side and by blowing into the crack the blade would vibrate having a high pitched screeching noise (what youngster hasn't done this even today?). More developed civilizations retracted a wide blade of grass spirally produce a funnel tube with all the thin end with the blade crossing the top of opening. Eventually, the flute originated which was played like the majority of other woodwind instruments: by blowing in the air column from the tube a vibration was created and produced a particular tone. Flutes and other reed woodwind instruments have been played because the Middle Ages (476-1400) and Renaissance period (1400-1600) since they have undergone various adjustments to design, however, orchestral woodwind instruments have more recent origin.
The Baroque period (1600-1750) is renowned for its radical revolution in music together with the need for novelty in the style of composition. There was clearly an emphasis on strong emotion ("What passion cannot music raise and quell" sung by Dryden) requiring a wide range of sound to express passion and also the sudden changes from joy to grief. Similar to the Middle Ages, the monodic type of singular parts being emphasized returned to music as opposed to the polyphonic style of the Renaissance period where equal weight was presented to all the string, brass, or woodwind instruments played in concert. To achieve this sound, woodwind instruments underwent various improvements and alterations. As opposed to being made from one wood or other material, we were holding now made of several pieces fitting tightly together in order to be able to regulate pitch by adjusting the gap. Reed woodwind instruments changed the cut of reed along with the bore was changed for a smoother tone. Oboe-like instruments were dismissed simply bassoons, smaller oboes, and flutes made up the woodwind instruments of the orchestra.
Romanticism (1750-1900) created additional transformations for woodwind instruments, although the musical style was similar to the 16th century. The expressive emotional music brought about a significant increase in the number of timbres and woodwind instruments were changed to be able to modulate from timbre to timbre with greater ease through a variety of technical enhancements. Woodwind instruments were forced to have a stronger, more powerful sound in concurrence to society's change from an aristocratic to democratic culture. Overall, the humanities evolved from aristocratic reserve to unrestrained passion. To safely move the woodwind instruments to satisfy the changing musical style, technical changes were made for improved musical flexibility, fluency of tonalities, accuracy of pitch, and freer modulation. Inclusion of keys, position of holes, key placement, key mechanisms, key padding, and sizes of bores were altered. This created extremely effective woodwind instruments that were simpler to play and maneuver with the ranges. The woodwind instruments section of an orchestra now included not simply the oboe, flute, and bassoon, and also the saxophone and clarinet. Families of woodwind instruments were also created eg. soprano, alto, tenor, baritone to further improve the melodies and harmonies and create a fuller sound.
The 20 th century brought about many radical adjustments to musical styles for example jazz, swing, pop, and rock. However, besides the introduction of electric instruments (eg. piano, organ, stringed instruments), the volume of changes to woodwind instruments were not as great. Woodwind instruments from the twenty first century today still retain their prototype of the nineteenth century, but tend to be made from different metals, their mouthpieces are constructed of differing lengths/widths and reed sizes, plus some persons prefer varying colors for woodwind instruments.