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Making traditional musical instruments

Activities

Research: Spend some time finding out how musical instruments from different cultures work (you could look back at cog 2 to remind yourself how a mbira works). Complete a table to show your findings, thinking about the materials used; the instrument's structure; whether it is hit, plucked or blown; how it is tuned; how it produces sound, and so on.

Research: Carry out research to find out about traditional musical instruments that were once played in your country that are no longer common. Why do you think their use has declined?

FPT: Experiment with making different sounds using different materials. Clamp different lengths of metal, wood and plastic into a vice and vibrate them gently to see whether they produce sounds of different note and pitch.

Product analysis: Complete a product analysis of three different instruments that are available locally (e.g. string, wind and percussion instruments). Investigate each and make a verbal report to the rest of the group.

FPT: As a class, collect a range of waste materials (e.g. bottles, tins, rubber bands, flat stones, bamboo, milk-bottle tops). Divide into small groups and produce a 20-second composition using the scrap materials.

DMA: Design, make and play a musical instrument with a cultural tradition in mind. Two books you might find helpful are:
Musical Instruments by Meryl Doney, published by Watts Books (ISBN 0 7496 2057 9)
Making Wood Folk Instruments by Dennis Waring, published by Sterling Publishing Co

Other subjects

Discuss whether trying to keep a national, 'pure' type of music is a good think for Zimbabwe and for international music.

Further Information

Making a simple mbira



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