I have used this lesson between the Orchestra Instruments unit (5th / 6th graders) and the Invented Instruments unit.
- Ethnomusicology = the study of world music
- Explain that they just finished reviewing 4 families of the orchestra, and that ethnomusicologists have categorized the world’s instruments into 4 families, which are similar, but not the same.
- Display pictures of instruments from around the world. As they think through what some of the instruments have in common, guide them to put them into 4 categories based on what vibrates on each instrument.
- Introduce the 4 ethnomusicology terms:
- aerophones = air vibrates
- chordophones = strings vibrate
- membranophones = stretched skin vibrates
- idiophones = solid material vibrates
- When the students build their own instruments, tell them to inform you what category/ies their instruments fit into. (I don’t require them to memorize these terms.)