Music is perhaps the most natural and rudimentary form of art ingrained in rustle of leaves, in the rhythm of raindrops, in the swiftness of waterfalls and in almost every manifestation of nature. Early humans used leaves, stones, bones and other artefacts to capture this melody and replay it, and while over the years musical instruments have become more complex, the desire to capture this melody and recreate it through notes and rhythms have stayed permanent.
Instrumental music ranges from capturing sounds in nature to complex arrangements and is known to promote relaxation and relieve anxiety and stress. Now clinical research is claiming that instrumental music is greatly beneficial in treating patients with depression, Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Learning to play an instrument allows you to develop a greater coordination of fingers, hands, arms, facial muscles and other muscle groups and promotes memory growth. So if you want to experience a cosmic connection with nature and improve your mental balance – pick up an instrument and play on!
Quote: “The character of instrumental music… lets the emotions radiate and shine in their own character without presuming to display them as real or imaginary representations.”
-Franz Liszt, the virtuoso pianist and composer, was the most famous concert superstar of the 19th century.
Guitar: Perhaps one of the most famous stringed instruments – Guitar is used by both classical and contemporary musicians. Playing a guitar is all about developing a good technique through consistent practice. Initially one may learn quickly, however guitar can become more challenging and exciting as one picks up new techniques.
The guitar’s country of origin cannot be identified definitively, according to archaeologists, it may have evolved from the Greek cithara, or from Spain around 15th Century. However, identical instruments can be found in the tomb of Egyptian Pharaohs dating back to 9500 BC. Well known Guitarists are many like Joe Satriani, Jimmi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton.
Drums: One of the most important elements in music – the rhythm of drums can make or break any musical piece. Most drumming is fun straight out of the box and hence immensely popular as a choice of instrument for those starting to experiment with musical instruments, however as speed, accuracy and complexity of rhythm increases – drumming gets more challenging. However with practice a lot of the intricate techniques become easier and the rhythm flows naturally as one moves from one song after the other.
Drums first appeared as far back as 6000 BC, however the standard drum set we know exists since 1935 and was ‘invented’ in the USA, in New Orleans. Joey Jordision, Mike Portnoy, Gavin Harrison are all a part of extremely well known rock bands and are known outside of these bands as well.
Flute: Flute is an extremely dynamic musical instrument often used in classical, modern, rock, jazz, pop, and makes for very easy listening. Extremely handy and easy to transport – Flutes are often played in solo compositions, duets and assemblages, and sounds good with almost all other instruments. While the first few attempts are usually the most difficult, with a good instrument and basic guidance one can master playing the Flute quite easily.
Flute like instruments were carved out of bones more than 30,000 years ago and evidences of instruments like this was found in many civilizations over the world. Today flutes are made up of a wide range of material – from steel to sliver to wood and metal, Flutes are found almost everywhere in the world. Well known Flautists in the west include Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser and Lori Bell whereas in India Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is a well-known classical flautist.
Keyboard: Today digital pianos or keyboards are uniquely crafted, technologically advanced musical instruments that provide both melody and harmony, and can be played solo without any accompaniment. Keyboard is extremely popular with amateur musicians because it is possible to make intelligible sounds without any exposure to music because it has ready-made pitches unlike other instruments. Playing the piano is also an excellent way to strengthen eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills, and the sheer joy of making music is perhaps most ebullient in playing the piano.
The piano evolved around 1700, and was attributed to Italian inventor Bartolomeo Cristofor, later William Fleming received a patent for a player piano using electricity. The digital pianos that are gaining popularity now sound like the piano but lack its size and weight. Some of the well-known names of Pianists in the world today are Marc-Andre Hamelin, Leif OveAndsnes and Stephen Hough.
Tabla: Tabla is a drumming instrument, associated with Hindustani classical music largely from North India. Tabla comprises a pair of drums made of small right hand drum called dayan for higher pitches and a larger metal one called bayan for bass. Anyone with an affinity for percussion instruments can play the Tabla – much like drums the rhythmic patterns of Tabla make it an ideal accompaniment in many musical recitals.
The birth of the Tabla is also obscure and many ascribe the birth of the Tabla to the famous Amir Khusroo – the fifteenth century musician and poet from India. He was known to have broken the Mridyangam into two to give birth to the Tabla as we see it today. However historians have claimed to have seen a Tabla like instruments in ancient temple inscriptions and cave paintings. Among others Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain, Talvin Singh are all accomplished artists who have become legendary artists from India today.