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Music Then and Now - A Brief History of Music and Woodwind Instruments

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Music is all around us. It is a mainstay of our society and is inherent in the souls of our own beings. Even in utero you are able to that the fetus will be able to respond to music how the mother plays or sings. Music are located in just about every environment around us: calming or happy music in restaurants, supermarkets, doctor/dentist offices, department stores, elevators, schools, or weddings; majestic music at firework displays or parades; as well as serene music with a funeral. It can be heard on almost every television commercial plus the theme of each and every television show. Some people crave music just like a drug and just cannot live without it playing in a vehicle and even singing inside the shower.


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Every person has a chance to produce music whether vocally or having a music instrument. Natural meats not all have accurate intonation or pitch vocally or may well not produce a great sound due to a difference in how we process auditory information, as Simon Cowell so blatantly indicates on "American Idol", but we have the capability of producing music. With some coaching or instruction, like most of the cast members of the television show "Glee" as reported by Emile Menasche', we can easily deliver a powerful vocal performance.

As time passes, music has developed into an extensively large various categories and subclasses. These can 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 have come about as a part of the changes in the structure and performance of our cultures.

Music also serves to be very therapeutic. From my own, personal experience as an occupational therapist, music helps persons with a range of different disabilities to further improve function whether it might be for communication or movement purposes. As an example, in working with persons who have sustained a stroke and 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 because involves a different part of the brain. In working with children with autism spectrum disorders, I've 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 may also 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? As we look back in history we're able to find out what the first woodwind instruments were. However, because late Curt Sachs so intelligently indicates, music originates to pre-instrumental music and primitive man. According to him that "all higher creatures express emotion by motion" eg. stamping his foot in the grass, slapping his body, or clapping his hands. These audible actions were the precursors to first woodwind instruments and a lot likely man was not even consciously conscious of sound as a separate idea.

Through archeological findings, the first true music instrument noted in history was the strung rattle which was comprised of nutshells, seeds, teeth, or bones strung in cords or tied in bunches and suspended from the 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 your body movement. Later, the sound became more direct, although not exact, as gourd rattles stuffed 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 produce sound on board or bark covering hole in ground), slit-drums (stamping on worthless tree trunk over a pit), drums (used hands or later stays with hit membrane stretched over opening of hollow body of any shape), friction instruments (employing a tortoise shell or rounded little bit of hard wood with four notches cut into it and rubbing it on palms to generate 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 which has a hard object).

The ribbon reed was the 1st simple music instrument to get played with the mouth just like the woodwind instruments. This was only a blade of grass extracted from a reed stretched forwards and backwards thumbs held side by side 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 rolled away a wide blade of grass spirally produce a funnel tube using the thin end of the blade crossing the upper opening. Eventually, the flute was developed which was played like the majority of other woodwind instruments: by blowing into the air column with the tube a vibration was created and produced a specific tone. Flutes as well as other reed woodwind instruments have been played since the Middle Ages (476-1400) and Renaissance period (1400-1600) as they have undergone various alterations in design, however, orchestral woodwind instruments are of more recent origin.

The Baroque period (1600-1750) is renowned for its radical revolution in music with the need for novelty from the style of composition. There was an emphasis on strong emotion ("What passion cannot music raise and quell" sung by Dryden) requiring a variety of sound to express passion as well as the sudden changes from joy to grief. Just like the Middle Ages, the monodic design of singular parts being emphasized returned to music as opposed to the polyphonic style of the Renaissance period in which equal weight was presented with to all the string, brass, or woodwind instruments played in concert. To achieve this sound, woodwind instruments underwent many different improvements and alterations. Rather than being made from one wood or other material, they were now made of several pieces fitting tightly together to be able to regulate pitch by adjusting the gap. Reed woodwind instruments changed the cut of reed and the bore was changed for any smoother tone. Oboe-like instruments were dismissed and only bassoons, smaller oboes, and flutes composed the woodwind instruments of your orchestra.

Romanticism (1750-1900) created additional transformations for woodwind instruments, although musical style was similar to the 16th century. The expressive emotional music brought on a significant increase in how much timbres and woodwind instruments were changed in order to modulate from timbre to timbre with greater ease through a variety of technical enhancements. Woodwind instruments were forced to have a stronger, better sound in concurrence to society's change from an aristocratic to democratic culture. Overall, the arts evolved from aristocratic reserve to unrestrained passion. To relocate the woodwind instruments 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 effective woodwind instruments that were better to play and maneuver from the ranges. The woodwind instruments part of an orchestra now included not merely the oboe, flute, and bassoon, but also the saxophone and clarinet. Families of woodwind instruments were also created eg. soprano, alto, tenor, baritone to boost the melodies and harmonies and create a fuller sound.

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