Casey at the Bat Music Curriculum Guide
- There are a number of different types of bands, including marching band, concert bands, wind ensemble and brass band. The instrument families included in most bands are brass, woodwind, and percussion, though an orchestra (also a type of band) has string instruments as well. Explore the following websites to learn about the instruments in a band: NY Philharmonic and Marching band instruments.
- Read this brief article to see how brass instruments make sound.
- Brass instruments rely heavily on harmonics, along with valves or slides, to create pitches. Every musical note has within it not only the fundamental pitch (the one you recognize as the note being played) but also many other notes above that fundamental. The organization of those other notes, and their relative strengths or weaknesses, give each instrument its unique sound. Brass instruments, in addition, can play notes in the harmonic series (a set pattern of notes beginning with the fundamental) with the same fingerings or slide position. Bugles have no valves to press or slides to move, so a bugle's notes include only those in the harmonic series, beginning with the fundamental pitch "C".
- To see for yourself harmonics in action, try this experiment. You will need a piano (not a keyboard). First, press down slowly and gently (NOT making a sound with the keys) the following notes in order going up and hold them: middle C, G, C, E, G. Keep them held down! Press the right pedal with your foot and hold it down. Now have someone else play firmly and quickly (loudly!) the C one octave below the middle C you have held down. You should be able to hear all of the notes you have held down ringing as well as the note your friend played! That shows how the bottom note played actually has many different pitches in it and when the other keys are held down, their strings are able to vibrate along with the bottom note! Pretty cool!
- If you need help figuring out which notes are which, look at this online keyboard. Middle "C" is the one in the center of a full piano keyboard.
- Here is a great article that explains further the phenomenon of harmonics and how they relate to brass instruments.
- There are many bugle calls used by the military to organize time and represent certain functions in the day, such as mealtimes, wake up and lights out.
- A bugle is different than a modern day trumpet in that it has no valves and relies solely upon the layers embouchure (or lip placement and tension) to create different notes. To learn more about the bugle, visit this website. Explore bugle call recordings on this website.
- John Phillips Sousa, the "March King", was the composer of some of the most well-known American marches of all time, including "The Stars and Stripes Forever" and "The Washington Post March". Sousa actually conducted at the opening ceremonies of Yankee Stadium in 1923. Explore this website to learn more about Sousa and visit the following links to hear some of his marchesL Washington Post March and Semper Fidelis.
- Get out a long pencil and conduct! The two pattern of conducting (as well as other beat patterns), used in many marches, can be seen here. Watch a how-to video on this website.
- The genre of jazz is also a uniquely American invention. Jazz was born in the Southern United States, in African American communities, out of a combination of European and African traditions. Jazz has many different types and sub-genres such as swing, blues, and be-bop. You can learn more about jazz here Scholastic- History of Jazz.
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