Does wood always sound the same?
The forest is full of sounds. Loud and soft, high and low. The tones of the forest xylophone depend on the type of wood, the diameter and the length of the pieces of wood. Branches also ring, stones clack and leaves rustle. Together we can invent melodies and hold a forest concert.
In the past mainly instrument makers used the different sound characteristics of the different wood species. Really skilled tree connoisseurs are able to recognize from the sound, if a tree is healthy or not.
Decisive to the tone is the structure of the wood, which is different in every tree species.
The poplar tree has a light wood, while the wood of oak is heavy. Oak wood is hard and has a high density. The more dense a wood is, the higher will be the tone.
It also makes a difference for the sound, if the wood was taken from the outer part of the tree stem – the so called sapwood – or from the inner part – the heart wood. Humidity changes the sound as well. The more wet the piece of wood is, the deeper is its sound.
The word „xylophone“ comes from the Greek words „Xylon“ – ξύλον – and „Phoné“ – φωνή. Certainly you have seen a real xylophone before. It consist of a series of hardwood bars graduated in length to produce the musical scale. Most xylophones are made from rosewood (palisander). A short bar produces a high sound. A long bar produces a deep sound.
We mostly orient ourselves in the world with our eyes. If we close our eyes, we hear much more intensive.
- Close your eyes and listen
- Count ten different sounds
- Let the xylophone sound
- Can you play a melody?
Group activity – percussion band find more things which you can use for producing sounds (rocks? Leafs from the ground? …) and play together. Can you harmonize it with the sounds of the birds?