Sunday, March 9, 2008
Cantus, songs and fancies, 1666
I took this from a songbook written by John Forbes. It seems to be a beginning manual for teaching children how to play and sing simple songs, but the first few pages are full of complicated diagrams and charts. This illustration is called a Guidonian Hand, and is supposed to teach you about tones and octaves and other useless crap. I searched some of the terms written on the parts of the hand, and they're Latin words for the types of tones (e.g., molle is soft, durum is hard).
That sort of stuff is definitely what you should start with when you teach kids about music. Children love to hear about hexachords. It introduces them to atonality early on, and you know how much kids love to challenge preconceived notions about melodic construction.
Update: I just remembered this viral video from a few months ago featuring a 21st-century version of the Guidonian hand.