DiscoverE program

From CCE wiki archived
Jump to: navigation, search

Ethnomusicology is the field that studies music of the whole world..."world music".

Around the world, one finds a wide range of instruments and sounds....sounds are connected to places and people who live there.

Our project Folkways in Wonderland provides a "video game" approach to exploring this world, via an immersive reality populated by avatars.

Back to the real world...I've brought a few musical instruments to show you today. We want to hear them, learn how they're used, how they're studied, and how they make the sounds we hear them produce.

For instance, I've brought...

Now, let's travel to Egypt, where I lived for six years, researching Sufi music.

Some instruments of Egypt

  • Kawala (a short end-blown reed flute, open on both ends)
  • Nay (like a kawala, but longer)
  • Toora (cymbals, beaten together)
  • Oud (fretless lute)
  • Tabla (an hour-glass shaped drum)
  • Daff (a frame drum)

Sufi performances

Many of these instruments are used in mystical Islamic (Sufi) rituals, the musical side of which is presented in this staged performance.

Here are some of these instruments performed in a real religious ritual called hadra. Name the instruments you see. Which instruments didn't appear?

Classification of musical instruments by vibration dimension and material

Musical instruments can be classified by vibration material and dimension according to a system devised by Erich Moritz von Hornbostel and Curt Sachs in 1914. It is known as the Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification.

  • Idiophones: the whole instrument vibrates (3D)
  • Membranophones: a membrane vibrates (2D)
  • Chordophones: a string vibrates (1D)
  • Aerophones: an air column vibrates (1D)

In this Virtual instrument museum, all the instruments are organized according to the Hornbostel-Sachs system.

How do these classes of instruments make musical sounds? Here are some animations. Note how vibrations in more than one dimension get very complicated!

Slow motion videos demonstrate the complex vibrations of percussion instruments:

snare drum



Your would you classify the instruments I brought today?

  • Kawala
  • Nay
  • Toora
  • Oud
  • Tabla
  • Daff