Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Keedyn. Keedyn Wonders, “Who invented the kazoo?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Keedyn!

Do you love music? Some people like to sing. Others play musical instruments. They strum a banjo or blow into a trumpet. Some people can play one instrument really well. Others can form their own one-man band! Can you play any instruments?

There’s one instrument that many kids can play. You may have received one as a toy at a birthday party in the past. What is it? The kazoo!

Kazoos are small, tube-shaped instruments. One end has a small circular opening. The other end is flattened. Kazoos also have a third opening, usually on top. This opening is covered by a thin membrane that vibrates when you play the kazoo.

Kazoos are a type of mirliton. That means they change the sound of a person’s voice using a vibrating membrane. If you’ve ever played a kazoo, you know it adds a nasalbuzzing” sound to your voice.

Kazoos are considered wind instruments. However, they’re not really played by blowing into them. Simply blowing into a kazoo will make no sound. Instead, kazoo players actually hum into the kazoo to make music.

When you play a kazoo, you can make different sounds by humming different syllables. You can also make louder sounds by increasing airflow as you hum.

Kazoo-like instruments have been around for hundreds of years. Some ancient people used kazoo-like instruments to mimic animals or change their voices for special ceremonies.

The first modern kazoo was invented in the 1840s by a man named Alabama Vest from Macon, Georgia. A German clockmaker named Thaddeus Von Clegg made the instrument based upon Vest’s instructions.

Many versions of the instrument were then made and patented. Warren Herbert Frost is given credit for coming up with the name “kazoo” in an 1883 patent application. The familiar submarine-shaped kazoo was later patented by George D. Smith in 1902.

Do you play the kazoo? Would you like to try? They’re very popular among kids and adults alike. Just cover one end of the instrument with your mouth and hum any tune you’d like. Maybe you could even make up your very own song!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2

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