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The Sound of Music Class 9 CBSE English Explanation, Summary, Difficult Words

By Ruchika Gupta

 

CBSE class 9 English Lesson- The Sound of Music (Part I)

CBSE class 9 English Lesson - The Sound of Music. Detailed explanation of the lesson along with meanings of difficult words . Also, the explanation is followed by a Summary of the lesson . All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson.

 

(Part I - Evelyn Glennie Listens to Sound without Hearing It)
By Deborah Cowley

 

evelyn

 

 

Introduction

 

Now let us discuss the title. The title itself is very interesting. Here the author says Evelyn Glennie listens to sound without hearing it. Now we all wonder, we are confused. How can you listen to sound when you can’t hear? So, this is something we will discover – that how Evelyn Glennie was able to listen to sound although she could not hear.

 

Now before we proceed with the chapter, lets discuss -

 

  • “God may have taken her hearing but he has given her back something extraordinary. What we hear, she feels — far more deeply than any of us. That is why she expresses music so beautifully.”

 

Someone has commented this about Evelyn. He says that although god took away her hearing power, she was impaired, but he gave her an extraordinary thing and that was the sense of feeling. She could feel very deeply.  Far more deeply than the normal people. And that is why she was able to express music so beautifully, so well. She is a well-known multi- percussionist. She plays different percussion instrument like xylophone, drums.

 

  • Read the following account of a person who fought against aphysical disability and made her life a success story.

 

From here we come to know the theme of the story and the message we get from the story. The story of Evelyn Glennie is a motivational story, it inspires all of us to overcome our physical disabilities and achieve our dreams and goals just like Evelyn did.

 

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Lesson and Explanation

RUSH hour crowds jostle for position on the underground train platform. A slight girl, looking younger than her seventeen years, was nervous yet excited as she felt the vibrations of the approaching train.

jostle: push roughly

slight: small and thin

 

The scene is of the train platform- it is underground and there is a huge rush at the platform, people are pushing each other to get way. There is a small thin girl, it is Evelyn. Evelyn is standing at the railway platform waiting for the train. And just as she feels the vibrations of the approaching train, she realizes that the train is about to come, she gets nervous and excited. This is the train that will take Evelyn to London. She is going to London to learn music as she has got admission in the Royal Academy of Music. Right now, Evelyn is in Scotland. (Evelyn belongs to Scotland. Scotland is a country in Europe. Life in Scotland is not as fast as in London. London has a very fast life. It is urban whereas Scotland has farms and countryside.)  So that is why Evelyn is nervous because she is leaving Scotland for London. And she is excited also because she is doing something that she always dreamt of. She is going to the Royal Academy of Music to learn music.

the sound of music

 

It was her first day at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London and daunting enough for any teenager fresh from a Scottish farm.

 

daunting: frightening, Scary

teenager: a person who is in his teens

 

Evelyn is seventeen years of age. She is a teenager and she is fresh from a Scottish farm. As Evelyn is from Scotland which has more of farms and country side, so, she has not seen fast life. That is why she is nervous and the writer says that she is fresh from a Scottish farm.

 

But this aspiring musician faced a bigger challenge than most: she was profoundly deaf.

 

aspiring musician: a person who wants to be a musician

Profoundly deaf:absolutely deaf.

 

Evelyn could not hear, and this was a bigger challenge for her. Moving from a rural area to a fast life was a smaller challenge. Evelyn faced a much bigger challenge that was her inability to hear.

 

Evelyn Glennie’s loss of hearing had been gradual.

 

gradual: in phases

 

Slowly slowly, she started losing the power of hearing and one day she was absolutely deaf.

 

Her mother remembers noticing something was wrong when the eight-year-old Evelyn was waiting to play the piano. “They called her name and she didn’t move. I suddenly realised she hadn’t heard,” says Isabel Glennie.

 

Isabel Glennie is the name of Evelyn’s mother. Evelyn’s mother Isabel recollects one incident when Evelyn was eight years old. She says that Evelyn was waiting for her turn to play the piano but when her name was called out, she did not respond. And her mother realized that Evelyn did not respond to her name that means she did not hear her name being called out.

 

For quite a while Evelyn managed to conceal her growing deafness from friends and teachers.

 

conceal: to hide

 

As Evelyn lost her sense of hearing in phases, It was a gradual process. In the beginning when she could hear partially, she manage to hide this disability from her friends and teachers.

 

But by the time she was eleven her marks had deterioratedand her headmistress urged her parents to take her to a specialist

 

Specialist: a doctor specializing in a particular part of the body.

Deteriorated: worsened, reduces

Urged:  requested

When Evelyn was eleven years old her marks has started deteriorating. The Headmistress requested her parents to take Evelyn to the doctor.

 

It was then discovered that her hearing was severely impaired as a result of gradual nerve damage.

 

impaired: weakened

 

When the doctor checked upon Evelyn, he found out that Evelyn had lost the sense of hearing.  

 

the sound of music

They were advised that she should be fitted with hearing aids and sent to a school for the deaf.

 

The doctor advised Evelyn’s parents that they should get hearing aids for her. (Hearing aids is an equipment that is fitted into your ear and it helps a person to hear to some extent.)He also suggested that Evelyn should be sent to school for the deaf Children.

 

“Everything suddenly looked black,” says Evelyn.

 

When Evelyn discovered that she could not hear and that she would be sent to a school for deaf children, that she was not as good as normal children, her world became colourless. It turned black.  Now what does this mean “everything suddenly looked black”. It means that all of a sudden you get such bad news; you get some news that you don’t except. And in return you see blackness all around you. That is how Evelyn responded to this news.

 

But Evelyn was not going to give up.

 

 

This shows Evelyn had determination. Although Evelyn got such a shocking news still she was determined and she did not want to give up.

 

She was determined to lead a normal life and pursue her interest in music.

 

pursue:  to follow

 

As Evelyn was passionate about music, this news also did not break her. She was determined to live life like normal people and follow her interest in music.

 

 

the sound of music


One day she noticed a girl playinga xylophone and decided that she wanted to play ittoo.

 

xylophone: a musical instrument with a row of wooden bars of different lengths

 

When Evelyn saw a girl playing the Xylophone, she wanted to play it too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the sound of music

 

Most of the teachers discouraged her but percussionist Ron Forbes spotted her potential.

 

percussionist: a person who plays the drum, the tabla, etc, a person who play different musical instruments

 

potential: quality or ability that can be developed

 

Now on one hand Evelyn’s teachers discouraged her because they knew that she could not hear and hearing was an important part of music. But Ron Forbes saw that Evelyn was very passionate about music and so he decided something.

 

the sound of music

Hebegan by tuning two large drums to different notes.

 

Ron Forbes thought that he would teach Evelyn to feel music. He took two large drums and he tuned them to different notes. Drums are musical instruments and he tuned them. He tuned each drum to different notes. So, the sound produce by the drums was different. So, it was distinct. Both the drums made different sounds. Then he told Evelyn -

 

“Don’t listen through your ears,” he would say, “tryto sense it some other way.

 

He said that don’t try to listen through your ears. He said that try to sense it. Try to feel the music some other way.

 

” Says Evelyn, “Suddenly I realised I could feel the higher drum from the waist up and the lower one from the waist down.”

 

(The middle of your body is called the waist.) Now as Ron had tuned both the drums to different notes, the upper part of Evelyn’s body, above the waist could feel the higher notes of the drum and the lower part of her body, the part down from the waist could feel the lower notes of drum.

 

Forbes repeated the exercise, and soon Evelyn discovered that she could sense certain notes in different parts of her body.

 

This is how Evelyn can listen to sound although she cannot hear. She can sense different notes in different parts of a body.

 

“I had learnt to open mymind and body to sounds and vibrations.” The rest was sheer determination and hard work.

 

Ron Forbes taught Evelyn to respond to different sounds- different parts of Evelyn’s body responded to different sounds and that is how she could identify the sounds, and the different vibrations. Now once she could identify the sounds and vibrations, the hurdle had been overcome and Evelyn’s career went upward.As she had determination to become famous, a good musician and she also did a lot of hard work.

 

She never looked back from that point onwards.

 

Once Evelyn overcame the hurdle, she started sensing the different sounds through the different parts of her body, she progressed in her career.

 

She toured the United Kingdom with a youth orchestra and by the time she was sixteen, she had decided to make music her life.

 

youth: Young people, people like who are in college or high school

orchestra: group of musicians

 

So, Evelyn toured the United Kingdom and performed with a youth orchestra. By the time Evelyn reached the age of sixteen years, she had decided to make music her life.

 

She auditioned for the Royal Academy of Music and scored one of the highest marks in the history of the academy.

 

auditioned: gave a short performance so that the director could decide whether she was good enough

 

Evelyn gave an audition for the admission to the Royal Academy of Music and her score was the highest in the history of the Academy. No other person hadscored such a high score as Evelyn did.

 

She gradually moved from orchestral work to solo performances.

 

orchestral work: group performance, performing in a group of musicians

Solo: to perform single, alone.

 

So initially Evelyn performed in a group and as she got well in her music, as she got confident, she started performing alone.

 

At the end of her three-year course,she had captured most of the top awards.

 

She had achieved all the top awards by the time she had completed her three-year course at the Royal academy of Music

 

And for all this, Evelyn won’t accept any hint of heroic achievement.

 

If anyone says that Evelyn has done something great, she does not acknowledge that, she is very humble and down to earth.

 

“If you work hard and know where you are going, you’ll get there.”

 

Evelyn says that two important things for success are- firstly,hard work and secondly,aim. She says that if you work hard and you have an aim, a target which you have to achieve,then you will definitely achieve it.

 

And she got right to the top, the world’s most sought-after multi percussionist with a mastery of some thousand instruments, and hectic international schedule.

most sought after: most popular, in demand

 

So, Evelyn also achieved her goal. She worked hard, and she had an aim to become the top most, the most famous, the most sought-after musician of the world and she did that. She gained mastery of almost one thousand musical instruments and she is the most popular multi percussionist of the world, she has a very busy Schedule. She has programmes and concerts all over the world.

 

It is intriguing to watch Evelyn function so effortlessly without hearing.

 

intriguing: fascinating and curious

 

When you watch Evelyn work or perform so effortlessly although she cannot hear, you get very curious because Evelyn can identify the slightest, the minutest sound made by the musical instruments.

 

In our two-hour discussion she never missed a word.

 

Now the writer Deborah Cowley took Evelyn’s interview which lasted for two hours and Deborah says that Evelyn never missed a single word that she spoke.

 

“Men with bushy beards give me trouble,” she laughed.

 

Evelyn says that those men who have long, huge, bushy beards give her trouble. Why do they give her trouble, because when they speak, she cannot see their lip movement as their lips are covered with the bushy beards.

 

“It is not just watching the lips, it’s the whole face,especially the eyes.”

 

Evelyn says that she does not only see the lip movement of the person’s face to make out what the person is speaking. She sees the whole face that means the entire expression of the face of the speaker makes Evelyn identify or know what the person is saying. She adds the expression of the eyes helps Evelyn make out what the person sitting in front of her is saying.

 

She speaks flawlessly with a Scottish lilt.

 

flawlessly: without a fault or mistake

lilt: a way of speaking like we say accent

 

The writer says that Evelyn’s speech is flawless, and she has a Scottish accent. (As she belongs to Scotland her voice has that accent.)

 

“My speech is clear because I couldhear till I was eleven,” she says.

 

Evelyn says that she can speak clearly because she had learned the language. She studied till the age of eleven, till the time she could hear.

 

But that doesn’t explain how she managed to learn French and master basic Japanese.

 

But after becoming deaf Evelyn also learned two new languages. She has learnt French and basic Japanese. So, one wonders that how could she learn these two new languages also despite her deafness.

 

the sound of music

As for music, she explains, “It pours in through every part of my body. It tingles in the skin, my cheekbones and even in my hair.”

 

tingles: causes a slight prickling or stinging sensation

So here Evelyn explain that how does she identify music. It creates sensation in her skin, in her cheekbones and even in her hair. So, every part of Evelyn’s body responds to music.  

 

When she plays the xylophone, she can sense the sound passing upthe stick into her fingertips.

 

When she plays the Xylophone, she uses sticks and she can sense the vibrations of the sound produced by the Xylophone pass through the sticks, up into her fingertips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the sound of music

By leaning against the drums, she can feel the resonances flowing into her body.

 

resonances: echoes of sounds


When Evelyn plays the drum, she leans towards the drum and she can feels the echo flowing into her body.

 

On a wooden platform she removes her shoes so that the vibrations pass through her bare feet and up her legs.

 

Whenever Evelyn performs, she performs on a wooden platform and she removes her shoes so that she can feel the vibrations of the musical instruments pass through the floor,into her feet and up her legs. That is how she can feel the sound of the musical instruments.



Not surprisingly, Evelyn delights her audiences.In 1991 she was presented with the Royal Philharmonic Society’s prestigious Soloist of the Year Award.

 

Now Evelyn is a delight to hear. She gives very good solo performances. In the year 1991 she was presented with this award - Royal Philharmonic Society’s prestigious Soloist of the Year Award for performing solo.

 

Says master percussionist James Blades,“God may have taken her hearing but he has given her back something extraordinary. What we hear, she feels — far more deeply than any of us. That is why she expresses music so beautifully.”

 

Now James Blades is a master percussionist and his words were the ones that we read before we started reading the chapter.According to James, God took away Evelyn’s hearing ability but in return, he gave her a strong power of sensing sounds which enabled her to become a great musician.

 

Evelyn confesses that she is something of a workaholic.

 

workaholic (informal): a person who finds it difficult to stop working

 

Evelyn is very hard working, she does not stop working.

 

“I’ve just got to work . . . often harder than classical musicians.

 

Now to be at par with those people who can hear, who are classical musicians, Evelyn works very hard.

 

But the rewards are enormous.”

 

enormous   - big

 

Evelyn says that the rewards she gets for her hard work are huge and big.

 

Apart from the regular concerts, Evelyn also gives free concerts in prisons and hospitals.

 

Evelyn does charity also. She gives free concerts in hospitals and prisons.

 

She also gives high priority to classes for young musicians.

 

She also takes classes for young musicians. For those children who want to learn music.  

 

Ann Richlin of the Beethoven Fund for Deaf Children says, “She is a shining inspiration for deaf children. They see that there is nowhere that they cannot go.”

 

Evelyn is an inspiration for all, she is an ideal. Ann Richlin who belongs to the Beethoven Fund for Deaf Children says that Evelyn is an inspiration for those children who cannot hear. And when they get to know Evelyn’s story, they feel that they can accomplish everything. They can fulfil all their dreams.

 

Evelyn Glennie has already accomplished morethan most people twice her age.

 

accomplished: achieved

 

Evelyn Glennie has achieved so much in life that those people who are double her age have also not achieved those many things, that much popularity and those many awards as Evelyn has done.

 

She has brought percussion to the front of the orchestra, and demonstrated that it can be very moving.

 

Orchestra is a group of people who are playing different musical instruments and generally, the percussion instruments like the drums and the Xylophone are placed at the backend of the orchestra or they are placed at the side but as Evelyn performs solo, she gives special performances with these percussion instruments, the percussion instruments have come in front of the orchestra.

 

She has given inspiration to those who are handicapped,people who look to her and say, ‘If she can do it, I can.’ And, not the least, she has given enormous pleasure to millions.



Evelyn’s story is an inspiration to those people who are physically disabled.They feel that if Evelyn can achieve her dreams even they can. And Evelyn has given a lot of pleasure to her audience by playing such good music.

 

 

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Summary

Evelyn Glennie is a multi – percussionist. She has attained mastery over almost a thousand musical instruments despite being hearing – impaired. She learnt to feel music through the body instead of hearing it through the ears.

When Evelyn was eleven years old, it was discovered that she had lost her hearing power due to nerve damage. The specialist advised that she wear hearing aids and be sent to a school for the deaf. On the contrary, Evelyn was determined to lead a normal life and follow her interest in music. Although she was discouraged by her teachers, her potential was noticed by master percussionist, Ron Forbes. He guided Evelyn to feel music some other way than to hear it through her ears. This worked well for Evelyn and she realized that she could sense different sounds through different parts of her body.

Once she had overcome this hurdle, Evelyn began her career in music. She got admission in the Royal Academy of Music, London and scored the highest marks in the history of the academy. Evelyn says that hard work and dedication towards her goal helped her achieve success. Evelyn gives solo performances and even gives free concerts for hospitals and schools. In the year 1991, she won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s prestigious ‘Soloist of the Year’ Award. Evelyn’s story is an inspiration for the differently abled who are motivated to fulfil their dreams like she did.

 

Question and Answers

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?

A. Evelyn was seventeen years old when she got admission in the Royal Academy of Music, London. She was nervous as she boarded the train from Scotland as she lived on farms in the countryside and was not exposed to the life in cities. Evelyn was excited as she was about to begin her career in music which was her aim in life.

 

2. When was her deafness first noticed? When was it confirmed?

A. When Evelyn was eight years old, her mother, Isabelle Glennie noticed that Evelyn did not respond to her name being called out at the piano class. Evelyn’s loss of hearing was gradual and for some time she was able to hide her disability from her teachers and friends. By the time she turned eleven, her marks deteriorated, and her parents took her to a doctor. Then, it was discovered that Evelyn was profoundly deaf.

 

 

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?

A. Evelyn was discouraged by her teachers but master – percussionist Ron Forbes spotted her talent and potential. He guided Evelyn to feel music some other way rather than hearing it. He got two large drums and tuned them to different notes. When he played the drums, Evelyn reacted to the distinct notes differently. She realized that she could feel the higher notes produced by one of the drums through the upper part of her body, above the waist and the lower notes of the other drum through the lower part of her body, below the waist. This worked well for Evelyn and gradually, she found that she could sense different sounds and vibrations through different parts of her body.

 

2. Name the various places and causes for which Evelyn performs.

A. Evelyn made her first tour at the age of sixteen, when she performed with a youth orchestra. She toured the United Kingdom and after that tour she decided that she would make a career in music. She has made her name in the field of music. Evelyn is a popular musician with a busy international schedule. Apart from the regular concerts, she also does charity and performs for hospitals and prisons. Evelyn also holds classes for young musicians.

 

Answer the question in two or three paragraphs (100–150 words).

 

1. How does Evelyn hear music?

A. Evelyn Glennie was passionate about music but unfortunately, she lost her sense of hearing by the age of eleven. She wanted to learn playing the xylophone but was discouraged by her teachers. They opined that as she could not hear, she could not learn music. Master percussionist Ron Forbes spotted Evelyn’s potential. He guided her to feel music some other way than to hear it through her ears. He trained her by tuning two large drums to different notes. Evelyn realized that she could sense different sounds and vibrations through different parts of her body. She could feel the higher notes produced by one of the drums through the upper part of her body, above the waist and the lower notes of the other drum through the lower part of her body, below the waist.This experiment worked well for Evelyn and she responded to the finer sounds of music too.

 

Evelyn can feel music penetrate her body though various parts – cheeks, hair, skin, etc. When she plays the xylophone, she feels the sound move from the sticks into her finger tips. When the drums are played, she can feel the echo of the drum beats through her body. Evelyn removes her footwear as she performs on a wooden floor so that she can feel the vibrations produced by different instruments pass through her feet up her legs. Thus, Evelyn has sensitized her body to music.