Chapter 2 – The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music



Part I – Evelyn Glennie Listens to Sound without Hearing It

Page No. 20

Thinking about the Text
I. Answer these questions in a few words or a couple of sentences each.
1. How old was Evelyn when she went to the Royal Academy of Music?

Evelyn was seventeen when she went to the Royal Academy of Music.

2. When was her deafness first noticed? When was it confirmed?
Evelyn’s deafness was first noticed when she was eight years old. It was noticed by her mother when she was waiting for her turn to play the piano. Her name was called when her turn came. 
It was confirmed when she was eleven.

II. Answer each of these questions in a short paragraph (30–40 words).
1. Who helped her to continue with music? What did he do and say?

Percussionist Ron Forbes helped Evelyn to continue with music. He began by tuning two large drums to different notes. He asked her not to listen to them through her ears but to try and sense the sound in some other way. 

2. Name the various places and causes for which Evelyn performs.
Evelyn performs at music concerts. In a very hectic schedule, she manages to give solo performances. Apart from that, she performs free at prison and hospitals. Through music she wants to spread the message of love and peace to prisoners and sick people.

III. Answer the question in two or three paragraphs (100–150 words).
1. How does Evelyn hear music?

Evelyn is deaf. She doesn’t hear music. She feels music. She feels it through the different parts of her body. Through the instructions given by Ron Forbes, she could feel the lower one from the waist down. Forbes repeated the performance and soon Evelyn discovered that she could sense certain notes in different parts of body. 
When she played the Xylophone, she could sense the sound passing up the stick into her fingertips. By leaning against the drums, she could feel the resonances flowing into her body. On a wooden platform, she removed her shoes so that the vibrations could pass through her bare feet. She herself said that music poured in through every part of her body. It tingled in the skin, her cheekbones and even in her hair.

Part II – The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan

Page No: 25 

Thinking about the text

I. Tick the right answer.
1. The (shehnai, pungi) was a ‘reeded noisemaker.’2. (Bismillah Khan, A barber, Ali Bux) transformed the pungi into a shehnai.
3. Bismillah Khan’s paternal ancestors were (barbers, professional musicians).
4. Bismillah Khan learnt to play the shehnai from (Ali Bux, Paigambar Bux, Ustad Faiyaaz Khan).
5. Bismillah Khan’s first trip abroad was to (Afghanistan, U.S.A., Canada).

1. The pungi was a ‘reeded noisemaker.’
2. A barber transformed the pungi into a shehnai.
3. Bismillah Khan’s paternal ancestors were professional musicians.
4. Bismillah Khan learnt to play the shehnai from Ali Bux.
5. Bismillah Khan’s first trip abroad was to Afghanistan.

II. Find the words in the text which show Ustad Bismillah Khan’s feelings about the items listed below. Then mark a tick (?) in the correct column. Discuss your answers in class.

Bismillah Khan’s feelings aboutPositiveNegativeNeutral
1. teaching children music   
2. the film world   
3. migrating to the U.S.A.   
4. playing at temples   
5. getting the Bharat Ratna   
6. the banks of the Ganga   
7. leaving Benaras and Dumraon   


Bismillah Khan’s feelings aboutPositiveNegativeNeutral
1. teaching children music?  
2. the film world ? 
3. migrating to the U.S.A. ? 
4. playing at temples?  
5. getting the Bharat Ratna?  
6. the banks of the Ganga?  
7. leaving Benaras and Dumraon ? 

Page No: 26

III. Answer these questions in 30–40 words.
1. Why did Aurangzeb ban the playing of the pungi?

Aurangzeb banned the playing of the pungi because it had a shrill, unpleasant sound.

2. How is a shehnai different from a pungi?
Shehnai is an improved version of pungi as it has a better tonal quality than pungi. It is a natural hollow stem pipe  with seven holes on its body and is longer and broader than the pungi.

3. Where was the shehnai played traditionally? How did Bismillah Khan change this?
Traditionally, the shehnai was played in courts. It used to be a part of the naubat. Bismillah Khan gave the shehnai a spiritual status. He played it in temples and on auspicious occasions. 

4. When and how did Bismillah Khan get his big break?
In 1938, the All India Radio was opened in Lucknow. It came as a big break for Bismillah Khan. His shehnai was now often heard on radio. 

5. Where did Bismillah Khan play the shehnai on 15 August 1947? Why was the event historic?
On 15 August 1947, Bismillah Khan played the Raag Kaafi on his shehnai from the Red Fort. The event was historical because it was on the occasion of India’s Independence from British Rule.

6. Why did Bismillah Khan refuse to start a shehnai school in the U.S.A.?
Bismillah had lived all his life in Benaras and was deeply attached to the Ganga and Dumraon. He could never think of living away from these thus, he refused to start a shehnai school in the USA. 

7. Find at least two instances in the text which tell you that Bismillah Khan loves India and Benaras.
• Bismillah Khan refused one of his student’s offer to start a shehnai school in U.S.A. because of his excessive attachment with Benares, River Ganga and Dumraon.
• The second instance is when Khansaab was asked by Shekhar Gupta about moving to Pakistan during the partition, he said that he would never leave Benaras.

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