Instruments

Drum

The drum is a member of the percussion group of musical instruments and are played in every type of music from classical to rock n’ roll. Drums have a skin or a membrane which is stretched across a shell and hit; some drums have more than one. You hit the drum with either your hands or with a drumstick to create sound.

Types of Drums

The first drum “set” was made in the late 1800’s with the help of the invention of the bass drum pedal. The invention of this pedal allowed a single person to play many different instruments all at once, like a one man band. The drum set developed and a new era began. The Bass Drum is the biggest drum in a drum set and can be used by stepping on a foot pedal attached to the beater which hits the drum and thereby creates the deep resonating sound that you are familiar with from a bass drum. The Snare Drum’s are a cylindrical drum with a shallow base that makes a sound that is high in pitch and vented snares came about in the 1970’s when drum maker Ludwig was looking for a snare drum solution that that could produce a louder sound for marching bands.

Cymbals are that delightful tingling sound that you hear when a drummer strikes the metal plates connected to their drum set. Cymbals can either be hit with the drum sticks or activated by use of a foot pedal.

Uses of Drums

Drums are normally played by the hand or by using one or two sticks. In many cultures drums have a symbolic function and are used in religious ceremonies. Drums can be used in music therapy because of the ease of being able to play them with your hands.

Trumpet

In the horns section of any band, the majestic sounding trumpet is a stand out. The trumpet is a brass instrument in an oblong shape and is believed to be one of the oldest musical instruments dating back to at least 1500 BC.

The Sound

The instrument is played from blowing directly into the mouthpiece with lips closed creating a “buzzing” sound. Trumpets can produce different sounds that are controlled by three piston or rotary valves attached to the instrument. These valves when depressed control the level of pitch and as each valve is pressed the pitch becomes lower.

The pitch of the trumpet can also be controlled by its tuning slide. When the slide is pulled out, the pitch is lowered; pushing the slide in creates a higher pitch. There are several types of trumpets available, all named after musical notes; Bb, F, C, D, E, G and A. American orchestra company’s use the Bb and C trumpets most often.

Playing a Trumpet

The best way to play a trumpet is for the first three fingers of the right hand to rest on top of the valves and the fingers of the left hand are wrapped around the middle of the valves. Trumpets are lightweight in size. They’re an easy instrument to learn how to play which makes it a popular instrument for beginning musicians. Trumpet players need to have firm control over their breath and tongue movement. Both types of manipulation can play an equal part as to how the trumpet sounds and how long one can play.

Care of a Trumpet

Trumpets are easily dented so it’s important to make sure the trumpet is stored inside a velvet lined case specifically designed to protect it. Trumpets must be lubricated at least once a day or every time it’s played. The best lubricant consists of a petroleum base which is made up of a kerosene like substance, mineral oil for the valves and an axle like grease material for the slides.

Piano

A piano is a musical instrument that consists of a keyboard and hammers that hit the wire strings that vary in thickness and material, creating diverse sounds that may be softened or sustained by the player using the three pedals.

Parts of a Piano

A piano is made up of 88 keys that range frequencies and pitch dictated by their size and material make-up. There are 52 white keys and 36 black keys. The sound is created by a hammer mechanism that activates when hit by the key. The structure of the hammer which is crafted out of wood gives a very distinct and solid tone although it does not sound too brash. The strings are designed to pass over a bridge to a pin block for tuning. Hitting a key on the piano means you are actually striking two or three strings to create the correct note or sound. In a modern version of this magnificent instrument, the strings are affixed to a cast iron frame that supports the strings and provides strength and tension, enabling them to produce their sound. Steel wire wound with brass or copper is used for the lower notes. This creates provides an added weight to the string without creating excessive stiffness. The piano has two pedals which give the player more control over the instrument. The pedal on the left is the “soft petal” which gives the sound a softer sound. The center pedal, which is called the sustain pedal or the damper pedal as it is also called, controls the longevity of the note by activating or releasing dampers that cover the strings. Grand pianos have a third pedal which is called sostenuto pedal which is located in the middle of the other two.

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