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5 6 5 unexpected music (social studies)

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Unexpected
Music
Genre

Expository
nonfiction

Comprehension
Skills and Strategy

• Sequence
• Draw Conclusions
• Prior Knowledge

Text Features







Headings
Captions
Glossary
Sidebar

by Cynthia
Clampitt

Scott Foresman Reading Street 5.6.5

ISBN 0-328-13591-7

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Reader Response

Unexpected
Music

1. What kinds of instruments does the author deal
with first, wind or percussion? Make a list of the
instruments, using a two-column chart like the
one below.
Wind

Percussion

2. How would you use your prior knowledge of musical
instruments to understand the writer’s descriptions of
prehistoric instruments?
3. Why would antiquity and artifacts be good words to
know when discussing archaeologists?
4. Which instrument or instruments in this book would
you most like to see played? Why?


by Cynthia Clampitt

Editorial Offices: Glenview, Illinois • Parsippany, New Jersey • New York, New York
Sales Offices: Needham, Massachusetts • Duluth, Georgia • Glenview, Illinois
Coppell, Texas • Ontario, California • Mesa, Arizona


Ancient Music
People have been making music since time
immemorial. Archaeologists have found ancient
artifacts that show that music was part of life long
before anyone was writing about music.
It seems likely that the very earliest music
consisted of singing and creating rhythms using rocks
or sticks. But more complex music soon appeared,
even among very early peoples, such as the
Neanderthals. In fact, a Neanderthal flute made of
bear bone was discovered in 1995 by archaeologist
Ivan Turk in a cave in Eastern Europe. Experts have
determined that this flute is at least 43,000 years old,
which makes it the earliest musical instrument yet
discovered. The more we study, the more we realize
that music has always been an important part of
human culture.
Every effort has been made to secure permission and provide appropriate credit for
photographic material. The publisher deeply regrets any omission and pledges to
correct errors called to its attention in subsequent editions.
Unless otherwise acknowledged, all photographs are the property of Scott Foresman,
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ISBN: 0-328-13591-7
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2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 V0G1 14 13 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 05

Neanderthals were
prehistoric people
who lived more than
30,000 years ago.

3


Music and instruments have changed dramatically
over time, yet some of the earliest elements of music
persist, including the combination of singing and
rhythm. Throughout history, people have found
different ways of creating sound, melody, harmony,
rhythm—music. You might be surprised by some of
the instruments that have existed, and even some of
those that exist today. You might also be surprised to
see similarities across the ages.

Thump, Toot, Twang
The actions needed to produce music were
established fairly early on. The essential actions
include striking, as with a drum, blowing, as with
a horn, plucking, as with a banjo, rubbing, as with
a violin, and shaking, as with maracas. Even today,
aside from synthesizers, these are still the means
by which music is created. Let’s look at the histories
of some interesting instruments based on what
action is needed to produce sound. We’ll start with
instruments that are played by blowing into them—
the wind instruments.

Flutes First
Perhaps a passing breeze first showed
that hollow tubes could create a tone,
but whatever it was that led to the
discovery, blowing into tubes was among
the earliest ways of making music. Bones,
bamboo, branches, and cane were the
first things used to make flutes. Holes
were added, to make it possible to create
a range of musical notes. The Neanderthal
flute mentioned earlier is the oldest musical
instrument yet discovered, but cultures
around the world came up with similar ideas
over the millennia.
In China, archaeologists discovered 9,000year-old bone flutes that can still be played.
Flutes were among the first instruments
developed by the ancient Egyptians, and
were being played at least 5,000 years
ago. In South America, Andean cultures
developed flutes called quenas around
3,000 years ago.

This ancient bone quena from Peru is similar in
design and sound to wooden quenas played by
Andean musicians today.

4

5


Today’s flutes range from traditional instruments
that are little changed from ancient flutes to the
complex silver flutes one sees being played in modern
orchestras. But flutes were soon joined by other wind
instruments in the effort to create new sounds.
Horns are so called because the first horns were,
in fact, animal horns. Rams’ horns and buffalo
horns, when blown, produce a loud tone that can
be heard over great distances—excellent tools for
communication, as well as for music.
Horns and flutes are among the oldest
instruments that are still with us today, but there
are many other wind instruments that date back
to antiquity, including oboes, clarinets, ocarinas,
and harmonicas. But there are many more wind
instruments than these, and many of them may not
be familiar to you.

The
ancestors
of Australia’s
aborigines are
thought to have come
from Asia 40,000 years ago.
The ancient wind instrument called
the didgeridoo is still used by some
Australian aborigines today.

6

Weird and Wonderful Wind Instruments
Some instruments are unfamiliar because they
are no longer widely used. During the Middle Ages
and Renaissance, many interesting wind instruments
were developed. We still hear the recorder being
played, but musicians today only pick up crumhorns,
racketts, and serpents when they want to re-create
the sounds of ages past.
Instruments from other countries or cultures
may also be unfamiliar. For example, if you haven’t
been to Australia, you might never have heard
a didgeridoo played. This ancient instrument
originated among the aborigines who lived in the
northernmost part of Australia, and when Europeans
first arrived, it was only played there. However, the
didgeridoo’s popularity has now spread throughout
the country.
Didgeridoos were traditionally found as much as
they were made. Termites eat the hearts
out of some trees, and aborigines would
look for hollowed out trees and cut off
branches that were the needed length
and thickness. As with other wind
instruments, the larger and longer the
hollow branch, the deeper the tone. The
outside would be smoothed and usually
painted, and the didgeridoo was ready for use.
A musician blowing through the didgeridoo
produces a deep, rhythmic tone. By vibrating his
lips, the player can make different sounds.

7


In the markets of northern India, you might
find a snake charmer playing a pungi in front
of a basket with a cobra in it. The snake
charmer moves the pungi slowly from side
to side, and the cobra weaves back and
forth as the charmer plays. The snake
charmer wants you to believe that the
snake is charmed by the music, but
snakes are deaf. While the cobra may
be able to sense the vibrations of the
pungi’s reed, it is the motion of the
instrument that holds its attention.
The music is for the people who
are watching.
The pungi is made of two
bamboo tubes attached to a
coconut shell or dried gourd.
Inside the shell, there are two
reeds. These reeds vibrate
when air is blown over them,
producing the characteristic
sound of this unusual
instrument.
Snake charmers know
how to make it appear
as if they can charm
cobras.

8

Not all wind instruments are played by directly
blowing into the pipe that makes the music. With
bagpipes, the player fills a bag with air, and it is
the air in the bag that plays the pipes. Bagpipes
were invented in ancient Israel and were popular
among ancient Greeks and Romans. They are still
played in these regions, but today these wonderful
instruments are most closely associated with the
Scots and Irish.
The klon-put of Vietnam uses large bamboo
tubes that are laid flat on a stand. The klon-put is
played only by women. Players stand at one end
of the bamboo tubes and clap their hands, which
produces enough of a breeze in the tube to
create a lovely tone.
One of the strangest wind instruments of
all—one that almost isn’t a wind instrument—is
the pyrophone. This instrument is dependent
on fire (pyro) for its sound. The first pyrophones
were built in the 1700s and 1800s. Metal or glass
tubes are heated by fire, and as the tube and
the air inside heat up, a tone is produced. These
instruments are not common because they
are dangerous and difficult to play. But there
is increased interest in them today because
the principles that make them work have
applications for engines and refrigerators!

9


Boom, Clatter, Ding
Pictured at left are just a few of the many
instruments whose sound is produced by hitting or
shaking them. Percussion means “striking one thing
against another,” so these are known as percussion
instruments. In some of these instruments, the
striking is done internally. This is true of rattles like
the one in the upper right-hand corner. Seeds inside
the rattle strike the insides when the rattle is shaken.
Some instruments are played by hitting them with
sticks (drums or cymbals) or hands (drums, bongos,
tambourines). Still others hit themselves, such as
castanets, where two pieces of wood are clapped
together rhythmically. Many cultures create a solid
beat simply by smacking two sticks together.
Making sound by hitting things is one of the
oldest forms of music, and it remains among
the most popular. Today, castanets, drums, and
tambourines all have important places in creating
music, but modern percussionists are also using
nontraditional items to create complex rhythms.
Garbage cans, plastic tubing, and other everyday
items add new sounds to the world of percussion.
For the earliest musicians, however, rocks and
sticks were the available percussion instruments. This
is not as uninteresting as it might sound. Surprisingly,
many rocks create lovely tones. At a Stone Age site
in southern India, archaeologists found a group of
boulders that appear to have been used to make
musical sounds. When struck by a small granite rock,
these boulders make loud, gonglike ringing tones.

10

11


Long ago, it was discovered that the stalactites
and stalagmites in caves make hauntingly beautiful
musical tones when struck. While ancient people
probably used rocks or sticks to produce crystalline
tones from these rock formations, the huge
Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia’s Luray Caverns uses
rubber mallets that are connected to a keyboard.
These mallets tap stalactites that have been selected
to produce a full range of musical notes, so entire
songs can be played. This unusual organ is said to be
the largest musical instrument in the world.
Among percussion instruments, drums seem to
be the most popular. Cultures around the world
have drumming traditions. In some towns, all the
locals turn out to drum together. In other places,
drumming is a special part of ceremonies or holidays.
Among the world’s most famous drumming
traditions is Japanese taiko drumming. Taiko
drumming has been used in classical performances
and rituals for more than 1,400 years. Famous taiko
groups perform concerts worldwide. This drumming
combines endurance with grace, and the movements
of the drummers often look like a combination
of dance and martial arts. There is a wide range
of drums in taiko, but the most impressive is the
massive o-daiko, which means “big drum.” These
drums can weigh as much as 900 pounds. Even larger
drums can be found in shrines and temples.
A Buddhist monk beats a ceremonial
drum as a call to prayer at a temple in
South Korea.

12

13


Not all drums simply create rhythms. The steel
drums of the Caribbean, which were traditionally
hammered out of 55-gallon steel oil drums, produce
a full range of musical notes. Skilled musicians can
play a wide range of songs and dance tunes on
these cleverly crafted drums, though the music most
associated with these tuneful drums is calypso.
The steel drum, also called a steel pan, is the only
acoustic instrument invented in the twentieth century.
They were invented in Trinidad after World War II,
when many empty oil drums became available. Today,
the steel drum is the national instrument of Trinidad
and Tobago, although these drums have now spread
throughout the islands of the Caribbean.
Steel drums, which produce musical notes, are
popular in the Caribbean.

14

A 53-year-old man
known as Cyrille the
Spoonman, who
makes his living playing
spoons on the street in
downtown Montreal,
Canada, was asked in
December 2004 to stop.
Hundred of supporters
wrote letters in protest
of a proposed law to
outlaw spoon-playing.

You may be surprised
to learn that spoons
are popular percussion
instruments. When two
spoons are held slightly
apart and back-to-back,
a skilled player can
create complex rhythms
by smacking the spoons
against hand and knee.
Spoon playing is most
commonly associated
with American folk music. It’s hard
to know when spoon playing began,
but it was at its height in the United States during
the early 1900s. Spoons made up part of the rhythm
section of the “jug bands” that became widely
popular, their influence spreading with the rise of
bluegrass, country music, and jazz.

15


The glockenspiel, marimba, and xylophone are all
percussion instruments that, like steel drums, can be
used to play melodies, rather than just create rhythm.
In each of these instruments, rows of metal or wood
bars, each one shaped and sized for a specific musical
note, are struck with hammers or mallets to produce
tunes. Although these instruments are similar, they
arose in different cultures, from African to European
to Latin American.
Once you look around, you’ll find that there is an
amazing assortment of percussion instruments. And
that doesn’t include strange items, such as garbage
cans, used by some modern percussionists. Bells
(from hand bells to church bells), gongs, triangles,
and maracas are all instruments played by striking or
shaking.

Rubbing Things the Right Way
If you’ve ever run a wet finger around the edge of
a glass and listened to the high, clear note it produces,
you’ll understand the inspiration for Benjamin
Franklin’s glass armonica. He had a glassblower create
a series of bowls, each sized to make a different
musical note. The bowls were mounted on a rod
that was turned by a wheel. A water trough kept
the edges of the bowls wet, and a foot peddle kept
the wheel turning. When Franklin first played the
instrument for his wife, she said its music was so
beautiful, it sounded like it came from heaven.
The glass armonica became one of the most
popular instruments of the 1700s. Famous
composers, including Beethoven and Mozart, wrote
music for it. However, by the 1820s, it had nearly
been forgotten. Today, only a few glass armonicas
are still being played.

Benjamin Franklin said that,
“Of all my inventions, the glass
armonica has given me the
greatest personal satisfaction.”

Glockenspiel

16

17


Instruments that are played by rubbing a bow
across strings are widespread. Depending on your
culture, the violin and bass fiddle might come
to mind, but so might the erhu, morin khuur,
or saringda, from China, Mongolia, and India,
respectively.
But bows are not just rubbed against strings.
No one is absolutely certain when or where people
began playing musical saws with bows, but like
spoons, an idea was transferred to something close
at hand. Like the spoons, the saw’s popularity in
the United States spread with the rise of interest in
country and folk music in the 1920s and 1930s. While
saw playing is not as big as it was then, it remains
popular, and musical saws are still manufactured in
several countries.

The saw is played by
drawing the bow along
the edge. Bending the
saw blade while it is
being played changes
the tone.

18

In the hurdy-gurdy, strings are not rubbed by a
bow, but rather by a wooden wheel that is turned
by a handle at the end of the instrument. Notes
are made with wooden keys that press on the two
melody strings. Though the hurdy-gurdy’s history
dates back to the Middle Ages, interest in this
unusual instrument has been renewed in recent
years, and electronic versions are being used in rock,
jazz, and other music.

Plucking and Picking
Of course, rubbing strings isn’t the only option;
you can also pick, pluck, or strum. Even violins can
be plucked. Guitars and banjos are among the most
common examples of plucked, picked, and strummed
instruments.
Cultures worldwide have stringed instruments
that fall in this category, from Greece’s bouzouki to
Hawaii’s ukelele. History, too, is filled with plucked
instruments, including lyres, lutes, zithers, and a
wide array of harps. It seems likely that the first
stringed instruments had only one string, but people
were soon experimenting with multiple strings,
new materials, and different lengths of strings.
Rock paintings in France dating to 15,000 B.C. show
harplike instruments, and paintings in 5,000-yearold Egyptian tombs show harps and other stringed
instruments. Pictures show that the type of small,
hand-held harp known as a lyre was being played in
Sumeria by 2,800 B.C.

19


Stringed instruments evolved in different ways in
different countries. In Europe, lutes and guitars were
being plucked. In India, the sitar was developed. This
is a complex instrument with two separate sets of
strings, one set for creating the melody and one to
supply a humming background sound. This classical
Indian instrument became popular in the West after
the rock group The Beatles took interest in Indian
music.
Pianos and hammer dulcimers are in a special
category—stringed instruments that are neither
plucked nor rubbed. In fact, with both of these
instruments, the strings are struck. Inside the
piano, hammers that are controlled through the
keyboard do the striking. For the hammer dulcimer,
the musician controls by hand the small hammers
designed specifically for this instrument.

Indian sitar

20

The Long Life of Unexpected Music
People want music in their lives—and this has
been true since the dawn of time. Throughout
history, people have experimented with ideas and
instruments. Often, they simply used what was
at hand, from rocks to spoons. They just as often
worked hard to create beautiful instruments that
produced a wide range of notes.
Today, these traditions continue. People look at
the things around them to try to make music, from
rubbing glasses and blowing into bottles to the
modern percussionists who use garbage can lids.
They also continue to craft complex instruments,
both traditional and new. In the late 1900s, the
range of sounds available to musicians was expanded
by the invention of the synthesizer.
The first synthesizers were developed for scientific
research, but in the 1960s, physicist Robert Moog
developed a synthesizer with keyboards that could
be used by musicians. This new machine created
a wide range of electronically generated musical
notes. Later synthesizers made it possible to capture
or imitate other sounds.
So today, like people tens of thousands of years
ago, we search for new sounds. We look for new
ways of filling our lives with music. The next time
you find yourself tapping your fingers on your desk
or humming a tune, remember that you are part of a
long history of creating rhythm and melody.

21


Now Try This
Music Research
Looking back through history or reading about
other cultures around the world can bring you
into contact with a wide range of unexpected
instruments, from the Aeolian wind harp to the nose
flute. What other unexpected or unusual instruments
are there in the world, either from the past or from
other cultures? What else is there to learn about the
instruments, people, or traditions mentioned in this
book? This is your opportunity to learn more.

22

to Do It!
w
o
H
s

e
r
He
1. Think about what interests you most about
music—the people who write music, those who
play it, the history of instruments, how the
instruments are played, the culture or history
behind a specific music form.
2. Review this book to find an instrument, playing
style, or piece of music history that catches your
interest. Alternatively, you can do an Internet
search for “stringed instruments,” “Chinese
instruments,” “Renaissance music,” “unusual
instruments,” or some other category that
interests you.
3. Using the library or the Internet, research the
topic you have selected. Try to find a recording,
such as a CD or MP3 file, that can let you know
what the music or instrument sounds like.
4. Write a one-page report on what you have
learned. Share the report with your class.

23


Glossary
aborigines n. original
inhabitants of a country
or area, especially as
distinguished from
later settlers; Australian
aborigines.
acoustic adj. having to do
with a musical instrument
that is not electronically
amplified.
antiquity n. times long
ago.
archaeologists n.
scientists who study the
people, customs, and life
of ancient times.
artifacts n. anything
made by human skill or
work.

24

Reader Response
oboe n. a woodwind
instrument in which a
thin, high-pitched sound
is produced by a double
reed.
ocarina n. a small wind
instrument, traditionally
made of clay, with finger
holes and a whistlelike
mouthpiece.
principles n. basic rules of
science that explain how
something works.
reeds n. thin pieces of
wood, metal, or plastic
inside some musical
instruments that produce
a sound when a current of
air moves them.

1. What kinds of instruments does the author deal
with first, wind or percussion? Make a list of the
instruments, using a two-column chart like the
one below.
Wind

Percussion

2. How would you use your prior knowledge of musical
instruments to understand the writer’s descriptions of
prehistoric instruments?
3. Why would antiquity and artifacts be good words to
know when discussing archaeologists?
4. Which instrument or instruments in this book would
you most like to see played? Why?



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