Timbre of String Instruments

Sharon Hotchkiss
Shashi2@Verizon.net
Bensalem Schools

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments
Sequencing

Level:

Middle School

Class:

General Music

Equipment:

Computer Lab with keyboard enabled with midi input, Software sequencer program such as Digital Performer (mac) or Cakewalk (win), violin, viola, cello, string bass

Duration:

80 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Experience setting up tracks in a sequencing program

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 4: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.
MENC 6: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
MENC 7: Evaluating music and music performances.

Materials:

Violin, viola, cello, string bass

Objectives:

To determine that the size of a string instrument effects it’s timbre.

Procedures:

1. Review the names of the instruments of the string family.
2. Have any students who play a string instrument demonstrate for the class.
3. Teacher or guest may also demonstrate instruments to the class.
4. Discuss which instrument sounds the highest, lowest, etc.
5. Discuss what happens to the tone quality of string instruments as pitch gets lower.
6. Have students set up 4 tracks on a sequencer program, one track for each instrument of the string family.
7. Have students play a melody into each track using the appropriate instrument sound. Tell students to try to play their melody in the area of the keyboard (range) that makes the instrument sound authentic.
8. Have volunteers play their melodies one instrument at a time starting with violin. Class evaluates if the violin examples really sound like a violin. Do the same for all four instruments.

Evaluation:

Teacher plays an example on the keyboard. Class determines if the instrument is a violin, viola, cello, or string bass.

Follow Up:

Do similar lessons with the woodwind and brass families.

Items to Purchase:

sequencer program, computer, keyboard, midi interface

When budget should be submitted:

1 year in advance

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