Information: MUSIC

Music Information Troop Meetings Main Event

Related Advancement
Bugling, Music, and Theater merit badges

Musical Instruments
Musical instruments are frequently classified by the way they generate sound.

  • Woodwinds generate sound when a column of air is made to vibrate as it passes over a reed or opening. Woodwinds include clarinets, saxophones, oboes, and flutes.
  • BugleBrasswind instruments generate sound by air passing through the player’s lips, which “buzz” in the instrument’s mouthpiece. Slides or valves are used to change the length of the tubing, thus changing the pitch. There are two different kinds of brass: The tuba, baritone, and trombone are examples of low brass; the trumpet and French horn are examples of high brass.
  • Percussion instruments generate sound, with or without a definite pitch, when hit with an implement, shaken, rubbed, scraped, or struck by any other action that sets the object into vibration. Examples include chimes, glockenspiel, handbells, marimba, drums, cymbals, and xylophone.
  • String instruments generate sound when a string is plucked, strummed, slapped, or otherwise manipulated. The guitar, violin, mandolin, ukulele, harp, autoharp, harpsichord, and piano are examples of string instruments.
  • Electronic instruments generate sound by creating an electrical audio signal that ultimately drives a loudspeaker. The digital piano, electronic keyboard, organ, analog synthesizer, digital synthesizer, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) instruments, wind synthesizer, digital drums, and virtual musical instruments are examples of electronic instruments.

Music Composition
ComposerComposing music is much like writing poetry, a short story, or a novel. The first step in composing music is to determine the sounds you want. Will it be sung by an individual, small group, or choir? How about an instrumental piece? Will you compose for one instrument, a small group of the same instrument, or a full band or orchestra?

Once you have chosen the type of instrumentation or voice for which you are composing, you need to know the ranges of the voice and instruments so that you do not write above or below the capability of the individual singing or the instruments being played. Invite a music teacher in your community to share these ranges with you, or do your own research.

Make a Traditional Musical Instrument
High-quality musical instruments can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Some, like the famous violins made around 1700 by Antonio Stradivari, have sold for millions of dollars.

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You don’t have to spend a lot of money, however. You can make musical instruments out of materials you find around your house or that you purchase for just a few dollars. Find the plans to build a simple musical instrument online, then ask a craftsperson to help you build it. When you are done, learn how to play it, and perform at a unit talent show or recital. If everyone in the unit makes the same instrument or instruments that can be played together, you could have an ensemble perform.

Attend a Live Concert
The possibilities to hear live music are numerous. You could attend a school music program; a local middle or high school’s band, choir, or orchestra concert, or a concert by a college or university ensemble. You may even have access to a professional orchestra or vocal
ensemble. Find out about performances in your area and plan to attend one. Try to learn about the music to be performed before you go. While listening, make notes about your feelings on how the music affects you.


Hold a Unit Cultural Night
Your unit can hold a cultural night where members display handmade musical instruments, share copies and recordings of musical compositions, or exhibit presentations on music history. Have a recital in conjunction with the displays during which members of the unit play their instruments, perform their compositions, or play music they have been working on in lessons.


Resources and References

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Music Information Troop Meetings Main Event