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If you have a world map or globe, help the students locate western Africa and specifically the countries Ghana and Nigeria. Tell the students: The peoples of western Africa, for example the Ashanti people of Ghana and the Yoruba people of Nigeria (both of which have talking drums) speak tonal languages. English is not a tonal language. The word "hat" means something you put on your head. If your voice rises while you say "hat", it might sound as if you are asking a question. If your voice falls, it might sound as if you are quite certain of the hat. If your voice rises and then falls, it might sound as if the hat surprises you. If your voice stays even, it might sound as if the hat bores you. But in every case you are talking about something that goes on your head.

If English were a tonal language, though, saying the syllable "hat" while your voice rises might mean something you put on your head; saying it while your voice falls might mean something you put on your feet. Saying it while your voice rises and then falls might mean "come here", and saying it evenly might mean an animal with long ears that hops. Some words in some African dialects are so precisely tonal that you could write out the notes for a particular word on a musical staff.

If you have invited a speaker of a tonal language for a demonstration, this is the best point in the discussion for it. You may also do the Tonal Languages activity at this point, or save it for immediately following the discussion.

Tell your students: So imagine the player of the talking drum. Using his left arm, he can control very precisely the tone of each syllable of his talking drum. What comes out of the drum is not the alphabet sounds of the words, but all the other things that go into a phrase - lengths, rhythms, pitches, rising and falling syllables. In a very tonal language, that is enough. The people who speak the same dialect as the drummer will be able to hear what his drum is saying. But, of course, if they are from a village that speaks with a different accent, they may not be able to understand his drum at all!

At this point you can do some of the activities below, or the "Make a Drum Code" activity from Message Drums , or share any books or sound recordings you have.

Activity: stretching raises the pitch

    Objectives and standards

  • Objectives - Using either rubber bands or available musical instruments, the students will demonstrate or attend a demonstration of the basic acoustics principle that the stretching and tightening caused by pulling on a vibrating object raises its pitch . (For a more complete demonstration project, see Sound and Music ).
  • Music Standards Addressed - National Standards for Music Education standard 8 (understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts).
  • Other Subjects Addressed - The activity also addresses National Science Education Standards in physical science, science and technology, and science in personal and social perspective.
  • Evaluation - Assess student learning by evaluating class participation or asking relevant questions in an oral review or on a written test: e.g. "How can you make a drum sound higher?"

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
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Source:  OpenStax, Noisy learning: loud but fun music education activities. OpenStax CNX. May 17, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10222/1.7
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