Together We Make One Voice

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1 Together We Make One Voice DURATION OF ACTIVITY: 1 class period BACKGROUND: Aymara and Quechua people from Bolivia have musical traditions that are handed down from generation to generation. They reach back thousands of years. Musicians learn to play traditional wind, percussion, and stringed instruments from their elders. The music expresses an ancient philosophy that is based on a spiritual relationship with nature and an ideal that emphasizes a strong sense of community. Music is central to the social and ceremonial life of Aymara people and the cooperative playing technique of their music reflects the cooperative lifestyle in their communities. Aymara speaking people of the Andes call the panpipes they play siku, which are made from thin cane that grows in the lowland valleys of the Andes Mountains. Siku are related to nature and the music expresses thankfulness for all the elements of the natural world. The playing technique for the siku depends on a unique collaborative interplay that requires two musicians to play a melody. Playing siku requires collaboration. Making siku also requires the use of mathematical principles and measuring techniques. In order to make the musical notes sound correct, the pipes must be exactly measured and spaced. Siku are made in two parts: the arka and the ira. To make a note, the musician blows into the pipe. The notes of a musical scale alternate between the arka and the ira. A scale alternates between the arka and the ira, beginning with the longest pipe on the arka, followed by the longest on the ira. It takes two people to play a scale (or a melody). Play together to make one voice! MATERIALS: 1. Ruler 2. pencil 3. masking tape 4. scissors 5. plastic straws (6 or 7 per student) 6. white glue 7. tissue paper PROCEDURES: 1. Teacher will need to prepare straws one day in advance of the actual project. To do this, take a piece of tissue paper (about the size of a nickel) and place a small pea-sized drop of glue on it. Ball up the tissue with the glue and press it into one end of the straw to seal the opening. Coat the end of the straw again with a dab of glue to re-enforce the seal. Let the glue dry with the straw upright. 2. Make copies of the ira and arka handouts. (Do not shrink the size of the copy.) Evenly distribute them, making sure that each student has both sides of one or the other. Half of the class will make the ira and the other half will make the arka. In the end, they ll play the scales together. 3. Explain to students that they are going to work together to make siku. Share the background information with them. Make sure students Arka Ira

2 understand that they are going to create musical instruments that they will actually be able to play. But, in order to make them work, the students must focus and be very careful with their measurements. 4. Have each student place a 12 inch piece of masking tape on their desks, with the sticky side up. This will be used to hold their straws together. 5. Students will measure the first straw using the drawing at the bottom of their handouts. Make sure the closed end of the straw is even with the right side of the drawing. 6. Using a pencil, have students mark a line on the straw exactly where the arrow labeled #1 is. Then, cut the straw on this line, making sure that the cut is very straight angles will affect the sound quality of the finished flute. Keep the part that has a closed end and discard the piece with both ends open. 7. Have students place the cut straw on the left side of the strip of masking tape on their desk with the open end at the top. 8. Measure the second straw and cut it at the second line. Place the second straw on the masking tape. Make sure the tops are even and leave a half inch between straws. 9. Repeat this process with the remaining straws. Students making the ira will only need 6 straws each, while those making the arka will need 7 each. Once they ve cut all of the straws and placed them on the tape, it should look similar to the picture on their handouts. 10. After all the straws are evenly placed on the masking tape, wrap the remaining tape around the flute to hold the straws in place. (See the photographs of the finished straw arka and ira.) 11. To make a note, blow into a straw. It takes practice! To play the scale students must play with someone who has the opposite flute (arka and ira). The notes of the scale alternate between the arka and the ira. 12. To play the A B C song, students should follow the alphabet on the reverse side of the instruction sheet. Hold the siku with the longest tube on the right, just like the drawing. Follow the alphabet. Play one note for each letter. The students with iras begin by blowing twice into the #2 tube (once for A, once for B). Then the students with the iras play two notes on the # 4 tube (C & D). Then the arka students answer by playing two notes on tube #5 (for E & F) and so on. The students should play slowly and together.

3 closed ends at bottom closed end Do not enlarge or reduce the size of these pages. The flute must be made to these sizes.

4

5 closed ends at bottom closed end Do not enlarge or reduce the size of these pages. The flute must be made to these sizes.

6 W W W

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