Week 6: We danced around the May pole and made pan flutes.
Some of the string, wind and percussion instruments of the middle ages, such as the dulcimer and fiddle are still played today, while others have changed form and been combined with various instruments into the instruments we know today. Common people of the middle ages often played the bagpipes as the materials (wood and sheep skin) were readily obtainable. Middle age instruments such as the zink and crumhorn have been modified into the recorder and clarinet of which we are familiar. The Zink, a wind instrument that looks like a curved recorder, was a very common instrument. The Crumhorn took a lot of wind to make sound, looked like an umbrella handle and sounded like a bagpipe.
Although flutes are often pictured in middle age images, they were difficult to play and weren't nearly as common as pan flutes. Constructed from bamboo, the hallow reeds were bound together with string like materials often made from animals.
Our pan flutes were constructed from plastic drinking straws and tape.
The first time we did this activity, following the book Pythagoras and the Ratios, we used slightly different pipe lengths which turned out to be a more advanced lesson in measuring and fractions.
After constructing pan flutes we learned a maypole dance. During the middle ages, and today, in certain locations in Germany, children dance around the maypole on May 1st. By dancing in patterns to the right and left, the ribbons are woven around the pole resulting in interesting designs.
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