Ragnar Gets Lost

An unlikely confluence of events?

A band of hunter-gatherers moving camp to find new food sources, trudging through forests to the rhythmic sounds played on a stick trumpet; a group of Hebrews, wandering through the desert in search of a home, urged onward by the sounds of the shofar (ram's horn); a space-time continuum glitch, activated by sympathetic vibration and a rhythmic concurrence?*

It must have been the act of sounding the trumpets, coupled with the strength of purpose that the sound represented for the travelors, ignited by a precisely-timed blast, that transported Ragnar from the Upper Paleolithic to the Neolithic Period. Regardless of how it happened, the story reveals some important realities about the lives of our ancient ancestors, and helps to illuminate the utility, meaning, and power that lip-blown instruments have held throughout human history. After reading and/or listening to Ragnar's adventures in the classroom, and discussing topics such as these, students' minds are filled with ideas and inspired to create musical sounds.

Throughout human history people have used music to help them coordinate efforts, whether in daily physical labor, or while walking/moving together in common purpose. From the military, to marching bands, to the parading samba schools of Brazil, this tradition runs deep in cultures globally, and addressing these topics in the classroom helps students to connect the experience of making sound to the world around them. This is the beauty of interdisciplinary education.

*popular belief has it that both instruments were playing a G4 (G above middle C) at A=430 in a "triplety" feel (dismissed out of hand by most reputable historians).

Into the Classroom: Hear Ragnar’s Amazing Sounds

Dramatizations of Ragnar’s story by British Actor Karl Davies: click icons to listen

Special Projects: Language Arts

Around the World in Twenty-One Trumpets contains several opportunities for students to write their own chapter of Ragnar’s story. In particular, for the transitions between Units, and for Chapter 6: Ragnar’s Trumpet Treasure Hunt. Click the button below to enjoy an entertaining alternative to "Winter is Coming" by BfB editor in chief, John Humphries.