Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №8/2000

What? Where? Why?

Tune the Music in!

There is a legend about it, but it is pure fancy. According to a Greek myth, Pan invented the first musical instrument – the shepherd’s pipe. One day he sighed through the reeds on a riverbank and heard his breath produce a mournful wail as it passed through them. He broke them off in unequal lengths, bound them together, and had the first musical instrument!

The fact is we can never trace the first musical instrument because all primitive people all over the world seem to have made music of some sort. It was usually music that had some religious significance and it was shared in by the spectators who would dance, drum, or clap hands and sing with the music. It was done more than for pleasure alone. This primitive music had a meaning as part of the lives of the people.

The legend of Pan and the reeds suggests, however, how man first had the idea for making various musical instruments. He may have imitated the sounds of nature, or used articles of nature all about him to create his music.

The first instruments were of the drum type. Later, man invented wind instruments made from the horns of animals. From these crude wind instruments developed modern brass instruments. As man trained his musical sense, he began to use reeds and thus produced more natural tones of greater delicacy.

Last of all, man discovered the use of strings and invented the simple lyre and harp from which developed the instruments played with a bow. In the Middle Ages, the Crusaders brought back many curious oriental instruments. These, combined with the folk instruments that already existed in Europe, developed into many of the instruments now in use.

sigh вздыхать, тосковать
reed тростник, камыш
mournful печальный, унылый
wail причитания
crude незрелый, зд. простейший
brass instruments духовые инструменты
lyre лира
harp арфа


Who wrote the first music?

All primitive people seem to have made music of some sort. But the sounds they made were very different from those of modern music. This music often consisted of long and loud exclamations, sighs, moans, and shouts. Dancing, clapping, and drumming went along with the singing.

Folk music has existed for centuries, passed from generation to generation by being heard, not by being written down.

Composed music is many centuries old. Ancient civilisations such as the Chinese, Hindu, Egyptian, Assyrian, and Hebrew all had music. Most of it was unlike ours. The Greeks made complicated music by putting tones together similar to present-day scales. For notation they used the letters of the alphabet written above the syllables of the words.

After the Greeks and Romans (who copied Greek music), the early Christian church was important in the growth of the art of music. Saint Ambrose and Saint Gregory began a style of music known as “plain song”.

This was a type of chant sung in unison. Tones followed one another in a way similar to the method developed by the Greeks. Churchmen also learned to write music down. The modern method of writing music developed from their system.

In 1600, the first opera, “Eurydice” was produced by Jacopo Peri. Later on, men like Monteverde wrote not only operas but also music for instruments, such as the violin. Music began to be written for court dances, pageants, and miracle plays. And in time much of the great music we enjoy today was composed by such men as Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

moan жалоба
chant монотонное песнопение
pageant пышное зрелище, маскарад



Popular music in the United States has been far from monolithic. Its many versions have included minstrel songs, operetta, Broadway ballads, ragtime, blues, jazz, folk, country and western, and most recently rock-and-roll. Born in the 1950s, rock was an unpromising infant, was many times pronounced dying, and is now a teenage giant whose influence is being felt not only in popular music but throughout all areas of music. It has entered the concert hall and the musical theatre and even the church.

If jazz began the removal of the barrier between popular and art music, rock has also taken up the work. But the interchange has been reciprocal. Not only has the musical world been affected by rock, but rock has become serious both in its lyrics and in some techniques, which it seems to have taken from art music.

reciprocal взаимный, обоюдный



Music the Life Saver

Mark Twain was sitting at a dinner party next to a well-known pianist. He said to him:

“It will interest you as a pianist that my life was once saved by a piano when I was a boy. We had a terrible flood in my hometown. The water even reached the upper storey where I was with my father. Without hesitation father sat on a big chest of drawers, and floating down the river reached safety on the bank.”

“Well, and you?”

“I accompanied him on the piano.”


Sound Sleep

A little boy greatly wished to have a drum. He had often asked his father to buy him one, but each time his father had refused. At last the little fellow tried once more. It was a few days before his birthday, and so he implored his father to give him a drum as a birthday present.

“No,” said the father, “I can’t do that; you’ll beat the drum all over the house and disturb me very much.”

“Oh no, father,” replied the sharp little fellow, “I solemnly promise you that I will not drum except when you are asleep.”

“Call that a Caruso record? The man is singing in German.”

“Yes, sir. The record has been translated.”

“It must be terrible for an opera singer to realise that he can never sing again.”

“Yes, but it’s much more terrible if he doesn’t realise it.”

Soprano: Did you notice how my voice filled the hall last night?

Contralto: Yes, dear; in fact, I noticed several people eaving to make room for it.

flood наводнение
a chest of drawers комод
implore упрашивать
sharp зд. хитрый
to make room зд. дать (освободить) место



Yoko resents the accusation that she broke up the Beatles, but her individuality and intense focus could never have worked in a community effort. She is a figure in one of the great stories of our time.

I did not know very much about the Beatles. Nobody believes that. People say, “How dare she say such a thing? Of course she must have known.” Well, I did know the Beatles, but as a social phenomenon, just like I know about Elvis…

Once we were together [with John Lennon], and the Beatles were breaking up, for Johnny it was like a divorce. He felt good about the group breaking up, like a big weight was off him, but at the same time he was very proud of the group. He knew there was nothing that compared with the Beatles. He also had an extremely high opinion about each one, which might seem surprising. He used to say, “They were very intelligent kids, and the fact that they came from Liverpool, you would think they would not understand these things, but they do.” He was always protective of them in that way.

I don’t think he ever voiced anything about how he missed being in the Beatles, but that was because I was the other party that he got the divorce for. And I suppose I fell into that trap right away, that he divorced them to marry me. But that doesn’t mean I broke up the Beatles. I didn’t break up the Beatles. The Beatles were getting very independent; each one of them and Johnny was not in fact the first one who wanted to leave the Beatles. Ringo and Maureen came to John one night and said, “Well, he wants to leave”.

George was the next, and then John. Paul was the only one trying to hold the Beatles together. But then, again other three felt that Paul was trying to hold the Beatles together as his band. They were getting to be like Paul’s band, which they did not like.

There was an incredible period of unpleasantness for John so in fact he was delighted he was out of it. In a funny sort of way I felt the weight of the breakup because he had been communicating and having an extremely intense and stimulating exchange with three very intelligent, very quick guys, and now he expected all that to be replaced by me.

resent негодовать, раздражаться
accusation обвинение, упрек
intense крепкий, устойчивый

Compiled by Nadezhda Plotnikova