Slit Drums History Essay

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Primitive and prehistoric Two Aztec slit drums, called teponaztli. The characteristic "H" slits can be seen on the top of the drum in the foreground Until the 19th century AD, European written music histories began with mythological accounts of how musical instruments were invented. Such accounts included Jubal, descendant of Cain and "father of all such as handle the harp and the organ", Pan, inventor of the pan pipes, and Mercury, who is said to have made a dried tortoise shell into the first lyre. Modern histories have replaced such mythology with anthropological speculation, occasionally informed by archeological evidence. Scholars agree that there was no definitive "invention" of the musical instrument since the definition of the term…show more content…
Until this time in the evolutions of musical instruments, melody was common only in singing. Similar to the process of reduplication in language, instrument players first developed repetition and then arrangement. An early form of melody was produced by pounding two stamping tubes of slightly different sizes—one tube would produce a "clear" sound and the other would answer with a "darker" sound. Such instrument pairs also included bullroarers, slit drums, shell trumpets, and skin drums. Cultures who used these instrument pairs associated genders with them; the "father" was the bigger or more energetic instrument, while the "mother" was the smaller or duller instrument. Musical instruments existed in this form for thousands of years before patterns of three or more tones would evolve in the form of the earliest xylophone.[24] Xylophones originated in the mainland and archipelago of Southeast Asia, eventually spreading to Africa, the Americas, and Europe.[25] Along with xylophones, which ranged from simple sets of three "leg bars" to carefully tuned sets of parallel bars, various cultures developed instruments such as the ground harp, ground zither, musical bow, and jaw

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