Film: 3094

Music | 1950 | Sound | B/W


Part One: Hearing the orchestra.
Set of tests conducted with the orchestra and an array of machines to determine the sounds and noises made by musical instruments. Tuning fork is used to demonstrate vibration of sound waves. Children stand in front or take up position near musical instruments, violin, harp, timpani. Small strips of paper cut in a V shape which have been attached to thin wires are held by the children close to the instruments. Each instrument demonstrates the vibrations particular to that instrument. Cymbal, timpani, drums. Children congregate around conductor. Close ups of each individual instrument and the kettle drum. Visual representation of how the vibration from the kettle drum goes through the skin of the drum. Close up of cello, and demonstration of how vibrations work. Demonstration of how air is used to create musical notes with close up of clarinet. Gong is used to demonstrate how sound waves travel. Gong is enclosed in large plastic dome which is suspended in a vacuum. Without air no sound is transmitted. Shots of orchestra and children dressed in clothing of the 1950's. Power point and plug from the 1950's. Air pressure is returned to normal and vibrations and sound return. Air particles represented with close up of gong and enlarged model of air particles showing how energy is passed from one air particle to the next. Sound waves travel through these air particles at well over 700 M.P.H. Lighting is used to demonstrate this principal. Shot out of window from a bedroom in a normal house during a storm. Camera explores young boys ear using diagrams to show how sound waves make the ear vibrate. Diagram of the middle ear and the ear drum moving the bones which carry the sound vibrations to the right wall of the middle ear, and so to the inner ear behind it making the membrane move. Inner ear is coiled like a shell and is full of liquid. Vibrations hit tiny nerves and set up currents which go to the brain. Unusual use of a mannequin which we see is semi - darkness. We see a set of lights which slow the electrical currents arriving in the head. Summary: moving air particles vibrate in the ear and set off nerve currents which go to the brain enabling us to hear.
Part Two: Exploring The Instruments.
Follows on from ideas explained in Part One. How are individual instruments made to vibrate?. Banging makes to and fro vibrations in all the percussion instruments. Shot of percussion players on timpani and xylophone. Bows made of strands of horse hair which grip and release the strings on string instruments continuously making the stings vibrate. Double bass used to demonstrate this principal. Wind swirling over a chimney top is used to show the way air pushes and pulls a block of air inside the chimney, making it vibrate shorter and longer which in turn creates the sounds we hear. Unusual shot of clarinetist playing instrument in overcoat wearing a scarf and trilby hat. Blowing can set a clock of air vibrating. Without a block of air this is not possible. In the remainder of the woodwind instruments there are reeds to set the blocks of air into vibrations. As with the flute, no block of air, no music. Good shot of woodwind instruments being played, e.g. the flute, the clarinet, the bassoon. Brass instruments. Bugle played by young man. All instruments played together briefly. Xylophone. Harp being played. Demonstration of how the length and amount of strings can affect the variety and quality of noises which musical instruments can emit. The flute is played by a young boy to show this. Trombone close up. Also further close ups of other brass instruments. Bugle played by small boy. Full orchestra has a range of pitch of about seven octaves. This is shown on a visual scale on a transparent screen in front of the conductor or presenter. Most instruments play only about three octaves. The harp covers the whole lot, except the very lowest which the double bassoon is required to do, and the very highest which only a piccolo can play. Each individual instrument is played with a series of lights in the background which light up showing the notes this particular instrument can reach. Starting with the clarinet, the flute, the bassoon and piccolo, the trumpet, the wind instruments including trombone. String instruments including the violin, the viola, the double bass. See this section for a wide variety of instruments.
End of Second part.

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