A BRIEF HISTORY OF AN INTERESTING BARRED INSTRUMENT!
Back in the medieval ages when it was invented, the glockenspiel was a small set of actual bells (different ranges) which were struck by hand. Later on, in the 16th century it was given a piano-like keyboard so playing the “bells” was done easier.Rectangular steel bars started to replace the bells at the end of the 17th Century. These metal bars were also easier to tune and back then they were played using a mechanical set of hammers which were activated by the performer via a piano-like keyboard. These early versions of the instrument used bars or bells which were a little bigger and lower pitched than the modern glockenspiel.In the beginning, this arrangement of metal bars was just a substitute for real bells but it soon developed into a musical instrument on its own and held on to the name “glockenspiel”.The bars of the modern glockenspiel are made of high-carbon steel and they are struck with small-headed mallets. The sound pitch is very high, so the songs/melodies are written two octaves below the actual sounding pitch.The glockenspiel is the “bird” of the orchestra. You can find the glockenspiel in orchestras nowadays and its central role is to enhance the sound of some other instruments by doubling their melody line adding brightness and vivacity to it.
HERE’S A WEBSITE LINK TO READ MORE: History of the Glockenspiel (Buzzle)
Therefore, we can hear our “bird” sing most often in combination with the flute, piccolo, celesta and harp, and less frequently with the violin, oboe and clarinet.
The modern instruments related to the glockenspiel are the tubophone and the vibraphone.The tubophone has a keyboard with tubes as a substitute for bars, and the vibraphone has resonating tubes underneath its bars; electricity “brings the tubes to life” and they vibrate producing the specific vibraphone sound.
Here’s A Singing & Drum Activity that I like to do with little children.
Carolyn created Magical Movement Company as a way to enrich the learning experiences of people through Music, Dance, Drama, The Arts and Nature. Carolyn homeschooled her children through their elementary years. She is AMS accredited and has her credentials from St Nicholas Montessori College of London. Carolyn has over 40 years of experience, including being an ECE Instructor at the American College of CA, as well as Site Director at the Fountainhead Montessori School in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the early 1990’s, Carolyn completed the Preschool and Level One training in Orff-Schulwerk Music Education for Children and worked as a music specialist in San Francisco. Currently, Carolyn teaches music in 30 Montessori Preschool Classrooms in the SF Bay Area. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.