3/29/2016 - Music Then now - A Brief History of Music and Woodwind Instruments
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Music envelopes us. It is a mainstay of our society and is inherent in the souls of our own beings. Even in utero it is known that the fetus is able to respond to music that the mother plays or sings. Music can be found in just about every environment around us: calming or happy music in restaurants, grocers, doctor/dentist offices, department stores, elevators, schools, or weddings; majestic music at firework displays or parades; as well as serene music at a funeral. It can be heard on nearly all television commercial and in the theme of the television show. Some people crave music being a drug and just cannot live without it playing in the vehicle and even singing from the shower.


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Every person has to be able to produce music whether vocally or having a music instrument. We might not all have accurate intonation or pitch vocally or may not produce a great sound because of a difference in how we process auditory information, as Simon Cowell so blatantly highlights on "American Idol", but we've got the capability of producing music. With a few coaching or instruction, like most of the cast members of the telly show "Glee" as reported by Emile Menasche', we could deliver a powerful vocal performance.

After a while, music has developed into an extensively large various categories and subclasses. These could include classical, jazz, blues, swing, symphony, opera, rock, rap/hip-hop, country, folk, pop, R n B, theatre, heavy metal, Latin, techno, tango, children's, electronic, Native American, inspirational, marching band, gospel, romantic, melancholy, or spiritual. Many of these types of music attended about as a part of modifications in the structure and function of our cultures.

Music also serves to be really therapeutic. From my own, personal experience as an occupational therapist, music helps persons using a range of different disabilities to further improve function whether it could be for communication or movement purposes. As an example, in working with persons who may have sustained a stroke and still have expressive aphasia (able to understand language, but not able to formulate the words to verbally express it), singing enables them to say what they want since this involves a different part of the brain. In working with kids with autism spectrum disorders, I have found music helps develop more coordinated movement and motor planning mainly because it provides the timing and rhythm why these children are not able to access of their brain. Any music instrument can also be therapeutic, whether it is woodwind instruments, brass instruments, or string instruments, or simply dancing to music.

But location did woodwind instruments originate? Whenever we look back in history we will find out what the first woodwind instruments were. However, as the late Curt Sachs so intelligently suggests, music originates to pre-instrumental music and primitive man. According to him that "all higher creatures express emotion by motion" eg. stamping his foot on the ground, slapping his body, or clapping his hands. These audible actions were the precursors to your first woodwind instruments and most likely man had not been even consciously alert to sound as a separate idea.

Through archeological findings, the first true music instrument noted ever sold was the strung rattle which contains nutshells, seeds, teeth, or bones strung in cords or tied in bunches and suspended from your part of the body (ankle, knee, waist, or neck) as a means of adding sound to body movements or dancing. However, it was a delayed sound following the body movement. Later, the sound became more direct, and not exact, as gourd rattles full of pebbles or small hard objects were shaken in tribal dances. Following that, other more direct sounding instruments were developed which used your feet or hands to create sounds eg. stampers (used stamping sticks or devices to generate sound on board or bark covering hole in ground), slit-drums (stamping on hollowed out tree trunk more than a pit), drums (used hands or later sticks to hit membrane stretched over opening of hollow body of the shape), friction instruments (using a tortoise shell or rounded bit of hard wood with four notches cut into it and rubbing it on palms to create a humming or squeaking noise), bull roarers (quickly whirling a skinny board attached to a cord overhead making a roaring sound), and scrapers (scraping a notched stick, shell, bone, or gourd having a hard object).

The ribbon reed was the initial simple music instrument being played with the mouth much like the woodwind instruments. This was merely a blade of grass removed from a reed stretched backward and forward thumbs held side by side by blowing into the crack the blade would vibrate using a high pitched screeching noise (what child hasn't done this right now?). More developed civilizations rolled up a wide blade of grass spirally to create a funnel tube using the thin end from the blade crossing the top of opening. Eventually, the flute was created which was played similar to most other woodwind instruments: by blowing in to the air column from the tube a vibration is made and produced a particular tone. Flutes along with other reed woodwind instruments have been played since the Middle Ages (476-1400) and Renaissance period (1400-1600) while they have undergone various modifications in design, however, orchestral woodwind instruments are of more recent origin.

The Baroque period (1600-1750) is recognized for its radical revolution in music using the need for novelty from the style of composition. There is an emphasis on strong emotion ("What passion cannot music raise and quell" sung by Dryden) requiring a variety of sound to express passion and the sudden changes from joy to grief. Just as the Middle Ages, the monodic kind of singular parts being emphasized returned to music versus the polyphonic style of the Renaissance period where equal weight was presented with to all the string, brass, or woodwind instruments took part concert. To achieve this sound, woodwind instruments underwent various improvements and alterations. As an alternative to being made from one piece of wood or other material, we were holding now made of a couple of pieces fitting tightly together to become able to regulate pitch by adjusting the length. Reed woodwind instruments changed the cut of reed and also the bore was changed for the smoother tone. Oboe-like instruments were dismissed and only bassoons, smaller oboes, and flutes constructed the woodwind instruments of an orchestra.

Romanticism (1750-1900) created additional transformations for woodwind instruments, even though musical style was similar to the 16th century. The expressive emotional music created a significant increase in the amount 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 was required to have a stronger, more powerful sound in concurrence to society's consist of an aristocratic to democratic culture. Overall, the arts evolved from aristocratic reserve to unrestrained passion. To advance the woodwind instruments in order to meet the changing musical style, technical changes were created for improved musical flexibility, fluency of tonalities, accuracy of pitch, and freer modulation. Addition of keys, position of holes, key placement, key mechanisms, key padding, and sizes of bores were altered. This created more efficient woodwind instruments that were better to play and maneuver from the ranges. The woodwind instruments part of an orchestra now included not only the oboe, flute, and bassoon, but 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 make a fuller sound.

The 20th century brought about many radical alterations in musical styles for example jazz, swing, pop, and rock. However, besides the introduction of electric instruments (eg. piano, organ, stringed instruments), how much changes to woodwind instruments just weren't as great. Woodwind instruments inside the twenty first century today still retain their prototype from the nineteenth century, but could be made from different metals, their mouthpieces are made of differing lengths/widths and reed sizes, and several persons prefer varying colors because of their woodwind instruments.

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