WARNING: this post contains ridiculous amounts of animal pictures.
This week, our handy dandy adventures will take us to a field that is very well loved by the populace at large (myself included!)
Almost everywhere you go, you’ll hear it. Grocery stores, malls, restaurants, and public hubs all play it. It comes in all different forms and genres, and is potentially as old as humankind itself.
My post this week will regard the relationship between music and the hands!
The discussion of music is a very serious and in-depth undertaking that I obviously cannot fully cover in this one post. It has existed in many forms throughout the whole world since prehistoric times, and continues to serve as an integral part of culture and society the world over.
Though the term music can refer to all sorts of different mediums, I’m specifically referring to the tunes that come from hand-related instruments, such as guitars, violins, drums, etc. Other musical aspects, such as vocals and electronically synthesized music (though that one still requires hands-on work) will not be covered here.
There are many different types of musical instruments as we all know, most of which require some form of hands-on contact and tremendous skill and ability.
So let’s take it back to elementary school just a moment and review a few musical families and the special bonds that they share with the hands!
The brass family’s traits include a metal composition and a mouthpiece. Such instruments include the tuba, trumpet, French horn, etc. The musician uses a combination air blowing, lip buzzing, and hand movements to make music with them!
Depending upon the instrument, the hands have different jobs, from pushing down on certain valves, or maneuvering a slide. Unless a person wanted to play a natural brass instrument, such as a bugle, the hands are completely integral for their robust sound.
This family is similar to brass in that it requires air to be blown through it in order to produce sound, and includes instruments like the oboe, flue, piccolo, and clarinet. As air vibrates inside, the player deftly and gracefully moves their fingers, opening and closing pads to create a melody.
This is a particularly popular family – including guitars, violins, cellos, harps, and more – and is completely up to the hands to undertake. How would one grip the frets on the neck of a guitar, or press the strings of a viola without their fingers? Only with hands can the ease of a bow gliding across a violin’s bridge be accomplished, or the strings of a harp be plucked so angelically.
This family also shares a very special and close bond with our faithful little friends the hands, and includes instruments like the drums, maracas, tambourines, and many others. Percussion musicians use their hands to grip drum sticks with which to strike a drum or xylophone, or to hold and shake instruments like bells and maracas, to create a beat. Imagine trying to do this without hands and fingers!
Lastly, let’s talk about the piano. An instrument that is a favourite of many, it produces harmonious melodies through the pressing of a series of keys, which lift hammers within its casing and strike specifically tuned strings.
If humans didn’t have hands, would these instruments even exist? Would instrumental music be a living and breathing entity like it is, gracing our ears and hearts with its whimsical beauty?
Thanks to the existence of hands, I guess we’ll never have to know.
Send your hands some love, friends! Until next time.