Period instrument petting zoo takes students back in time

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On Friday, McCain 135 was the place to be for music enthusiasts. Replicas of historical instruments filled the classroom, and students wandered in and out, learning about their origins and how to play them.

David Wood, music instructor and director of Kansas State’s historical performance ensemble, hosted the Period Instrument Petting Zoo to show off the historical instrument collection K-State has to offer.

“I like people to see that and for students to see what’s possible,” Wood said.

Vivian Weaver, junior in computer science, plays the bassoon but took interest in one of its predecessors.

“The Renaissance version of the bassoon is the dulcian, so I wanted to check that out,” Weaver said.

Gabe Bazil, sophomore in music education, was also interested in getting acquainted with an older version of his modern trombone: the sackbut.

“I’ve been interested in the sackbut because I play the trombone in the marching band,” Bazil said. “I wanted to see what that was like. All the other stuff is cool to learn about that as well.”

Wood gave a little background on the instrument.

“The word ‘sackbut’ has a couple of different entomologies,” Wood said. “The most widely repeated one is that it comes from an older form of the words ‘to push and pull.’ The word trombone is older. The sackbut was known historically for its ability to emulate the human voice.”

Because of this, the sackbut has been used in a lot of different ways.

“It was played with loud instruments, quiet instruments,” Wood said. “There is a base sackbut and to play the base, it has a long stick that’s attached to the handle so you can push the slide out because you can’t physically reach it with your hands. It’s an amazing instrument.”

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