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History of the Glockenspiel

A BRIEF HISTORY OF AN INTERESTING BARRED INSTRUMENT!

GLOCKENSPIEL!!!!

That word! What does it actually mean?

Well, your children are playing them in music class, so I looked up the history of the sweet sounding instrument. Here’s what I found. Hope you enjoy!

History of the Glockenspiel

(from the Wikipedia link: Glockenspiel Wikipedia)

It is a musical instrument in the percussion family and it sounds like “Christmas”. The name itself “glockenspiel” comes from German and it means “bell play”, referring to the sound made of small bells.

We all know how a Church bell rings. Well, the Glockenspiel – or “Glock” for short – is a “choir” of smaller bells with an enchanting sound, like listening to a small bells ensemble. It is a musical instrument in the percussion family and it sounds like…’Christmas!’

All photos are from Dollar Photo Club unless otherwise stated.
Orff-Schulwerk type Glockenspiel with removable bars

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.

You can listen and watch the sweet glockenspiel in this video:
 

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.

Many Montessori Preschool / Primary Classrooms use the Orff-Schulwerk type of Glockenspiel (pictured above) in their music curriculum. Here is a link to learn more about the Orff-Schulwerk music method for children at the video section of my website: Orff-Schulwerk Video from AOSA.  These Glockenspiels are perfectly pitched (as are the Montessori Bells) and so they have a true sound for the young child’s  “sensitive period” for sound. The bars of this Glockenspiel are removable so that it can be set up for a child to play a simple “bordun” during a little ensemble with the other children singing. (learn more at this link, Bordun: Kodaly & Orff Music Blog) To do this, all the bars are removed except the G bar and the C bar and in this way the child will only be playing two notes that go harmoniously with the song that is being sung. This way of setting up the Glockenspiel offers a classic Montessori “control of error” since the child will only be playing the 2 bars with a mallet in each hand.
HOW ABOUT DRUMS, TOO!

Here’s A Singing & Drum Activity that I like to do with little children.

Children love playing all kinds of instruments, especially the drum. Try singing a familiar song together (like “Twinkle, Twinkle”) and substituting a boom,boom, boom on the drum…for  the words, “lit-tle star.”
Continue singing the song and then substitute another boom, boom, boom on the drum for the words, “what you are.” 
You can continue the song and substituting a boom, boom, boom for the last three words: “world so high” and then “in the sky”…continuing this pattern until you come to the end of the song
Music Class with Carolyn in Willits, CA 
(Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius Photography from Carolyn’s archives)
 
Next, you can sing the song together and this time substitute a tap, tap, tap for the last three words of each line. (tap is done with one finger!)
Drums can be home-made, too! An empty margarine tub, or coffee can, even a cake baking pan. Or you can simply drum with the palms of your hand or tap your fingers on the floor. (Much quieter!)

About Carolyn

Carolyn of Magical Movement Company on MontessoriBloggersNetwork.com

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.

Marie - Child Led Life
Marie is a work at home Mom with a background in education (and astronautics). She writes about her child led life on her blog (and once called herself a Black Hawk helicopter pilot). Marie enjoys networking with other bloggers and finds peace in her day with a hike in the woods and cooking with her kids in the kitchen.
Marie - Child Led Life

@childledlife

Work at home #Momblogger while #homeschooling two littles, #naturallife enthusiast, and helpful #virturalassistant - email me at childledlife@gmail.com
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Marie - Child Led Life
Marie - Child Led Life

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About Marie - Child Led Life

Marie is a work at home Mom with a background in education (and astronautics). She writes about her child led life on her blog (and once called herself a Black Hawk helicopter pilot). Marie enjoys networking with other bloggers and finds peace in her day with a hike in the woods and cooking with her kids in the kitchen.

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