Music

Where can I find information about music?

Entry last updated: 2/12/21

Introduction

Music is the pattern of sounds produced by people singing or playing instruments. It is also the art of creating or performing music. Written music uses symbols that represent the pitch and rhythm of those sounds, and directions as to how the composer wants them to be played.

Musical instruments

People use their voice to make music. This is called singing. To make other sounds they use different musical instruments. These instruments belong to four different groups or families which are stringed instruments, percussion instruments, wind instruments and keyboard instruments.

Britannica School

This is one of the EPIC resources. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

  • Select your learning level - Primary, Middle, or Secondary (you can always change this later).
  • Enter 'musical instruments' into the search area, and select the magnifying glass.
  • The article called musical instruments has information about the different types of instruments, what they are used for, and their history. It also has pictures of the instruments grouped in their families.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

DSO Kids

This is a music page for primary school students from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. It has links to information about the different instruments and the sounds they make.

  • Select Learn and Listen from the tab at the top of the page.
  • Choose Instruments from the drop down menu.
  • Select the instrument you want to learn more about eg violin.

Tips: The site is focused on local visitors, so often mentions DSO Kids Club and local DSO performances.

He Ara Pūoro

This site, which is hosted by Radio New Zealand, introduces the sound and history of traditional Māori instruments.

  • Scroll down the page to Collections.
  • Select an instrument you want to learn about Pūtātara.
  • Choose listen to hear an audio about the instrument and the sound it makes.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Music theory

Music uses different symbols to indicate the notes to be played or sung. Other symbols and numbers show how fast to play each note. These are known as musical notation or music theory. Most musicians learn how to read musical notation as part of their training. Different elements work together to produce sound. They are sound and pitch, rhythm, melody, and harmony.

DSO Kids

This site also has a link to short articles about musical notation. You can also listen to examples.

  • Select Learn and Listen from the tab at the top of the page.
  • This time choose Building Blocks of Music from the drop down menu.

Britannica School

Britannica School also has an article about the elements of music.

  • Select your learning level - Primary, Middle, or Secondary (you can always change this later)
  • Enter 'music' into the search area, and select the magnifying glass
  • Select the Music link and read the section called The Elements of Music.

Khan Academy

This page is part of the Humanities section of Khan Academy and has videos you can watch about music notation and rhythm.

  • Select 'Music Basics'.
  • Choose either 'notes and rhythm' or 'reading music'.

Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.

Genres of music

Genre is another word for 'type'. There are many different types or genres of music that people can enjoy. These include religious, folk, classical, and popular. This section includes website that have information about the different genres of music.

Britannica School

Britannica School has articles about different musical genres too.

  • Select your learning level - Primary, Middle, or Secondary (you can always change this later).
  • Type 'music genres' into the search area, and select the magnifying glass.
  • Choose the musical genre you want to learn more about eg folk music.

DKFindOut

This website is a great place to start looking for information on many topics including Music. It has lots of facts and pictures and is interactive!

  • Scroll down the page and select Music, Art and, Literature.
  • Go to Types of music.

Books

Your local public library or school will have many books about music.

Here are some suggested titles:

The ultimate guide to music by Joe Fullman.

Children's book of music by Deborah Lock.

Help your kids with music : a unique step-by-step visual guide by Carol Vorderman.

SCIS no: 1903583

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