Ancient Trumpet Music

Posted on Posted in Brass for BeginnersĀ®, Curriculum, In the Classroom

Student-centered learning plays a large role in the Brass for Beginners® cuniformcurriculum. Lesson Six discusses the Egyptian Snb and the Nordic Bronze Lur, and examines what is considered to be one of the earliest examples of written music (written in cuneiform.) Students choose one of the instruments, learn about its construction, capabilities, and historical use, and then compose music related to a specific function that the students have chosen; in this case, a call to retreat for the Egyptian soldiers. Students discuss some of the musical ideas presented, whether or not they would be effective, and how they could be improved. After deciding egyptian trumpet_2_2on a final version of the call, students rehearse it numerous times, singing in solfege and playing. Finally, students discuss the various elements of music that need to be represented in order to write it, and then are asked to devise a system of notation to represent their battle call on paper. The following week, students look at their music notation to see if it helps them to remember it. They discuss the fact that there are no clear examples of trumpet music written in musical notation until the late 15th- early 16th centuries, and talk about how trumpeters from the ancient period might have learned their music, how it was passed down through the generations, etc.  Enjoy a video of students from Lincoln Elementary School performing the Egyptian Snb battle call, and click on samples of students’ music notation to see them enlarged below. [wpvideo eZ8q40cb]

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