The Sound of Music Class 9 Summary, Notes, Question and Answers, Pdf


The article focus on chapter 2 of class 9 English textbook. The Sound of Music is a two-story musical about the fascinating lives of two separate musical greats: Bismillah Khan, a renowned Indian shehnai musician, and Evelyn Glennie, a great Scottish multi-percussionist. This chapter from the class 9 English book teaches students about the results of hard work and determination in reaching one’s interests and performing well in long run. This summary will help students understand the chapter better and in-depth and in a shorter span of time when in hurry for revision for exams.

The Sound of Music Class 9 Summary

The sound of music class 9 is a chapter about two very famous people from the music industry. It is divided into two parts. The first part talks about Evelyn Glennie who used to listen to sounds without actually hearing them, and the second is about Bismillah Khan who is India’s most known Shehnai player. 

The Sound of Music Class 9 Summary: Part 1: Evelyn Glennie

In this part of the chapter, Deborah Cowley gives an account of Evelyn Glennie who listens to sound without actually hearing it. Evelyn Glennie is a Scottish musician who was unable to hear from the time she was 12 years old. This was a result of gradual nerve damage. She was told by a lot of people that she cannot understand music or cannot figure things out because she is unable to listen. But she was determined and she pursued her dreams and made her way to the Royal Academy of Music in London.

She did so because she was determined to live a normal life. She was helped in learning music by a famous percussionist Ron Forbes. He encouraged her to learn things. He told her that she might listen to music through her ears but she should sense the vibrations and that is what she did. This was proven to be the turning point in her life. 

After this, she never looked back. She only grew further.  She mastered the art of interpreting different vibrations of sound through her body. At the age of sixteen, she finally started performing solo and in fact secured one of the highest marks in the Royal Academy of Music in London. She was playing the xylophone then. Going ahead she was accorded multiple awards.

She learned to speak French and Japanese and started playing multiple musical instruments. Music used to run through her skin and she also used to remove her shoes in order to feel the vibration of the sound waves coming. 

She says that if one is determined to get to one’s goal, one will eventually get there. She is now the world’s most wanted multi-percussionist and has mastered over 1,000 instruments. In 1991, she was awarded the Soloist of the Year Award which is the most famous Royal Philharmonic Society Award.

She is an inspiration in a way that she did not stop with the awards. She is a workaholic and teaches concepts in schools and hospitals for free. She gives specific attention to young musicians. She has proven to be an inspiration to the handicapped and has given hope to millions.

Also read: The Little Girl Class 9 Summary, Notes, Question and Answers, Pdf

The Sound of Music Class 9 Summary: Part 2: The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan

Part 2 of The Sound of Music chapter talks about Ustad Bismillah Khan and the instrument ‘Shehnai’ and the process of its introduction to the world. First performed in the Mughal Emperor’s chamber by a barber from a musically-talented family. He picked a pipe that had holes in it, and he made melodic noises with the pipe by shutting and opening some of these holes.

Ustad Bismillah Khan, a renowned shehnai musician from India, was the maestro who popularised and provided this musical instrument a platform on a global scale. He came from a well-known musical family and invented previously unheard melodies and ragas. 

Pungi was played in earlier times and was considered to be rather a noise maker than a musical instrument and for such reasons, it was banned by Emperor Aurangzeb. It was then modified by a barber who actually belonged to a family of musicians and was perfected by him. He then went ahead and played in the chamber of the Emperor and he liked it a lot. Now since it was played by a Nai and was played in Shah’s chamber it came to be known as Shehnai.

It was then played in the temple on auspicious occasions but was never played alone as it was perceived as not cable of creating music decent enough for listening to as an independent musical object. This myth was broken by Bismillah Khan. 

Ustad Bismillah Khan was born in Dumraon in Bihar in the year 1916. He was born in Benares Gharana. From five years of age, he used to visit the Bihariji Temple and sing Bhojpuri ‘Chaitya’ there. For his melodious singing, as a child, he used to earn a big Laddu from the local Bhojpuri King. At the age of six, he moved to Banaras. Then at the age of six, he moved to Banaras where he met Ali Bux who was his maternal uncle, and started initially playing shehnai and learning small things about it.

There he used to spend a considerable amount of time on the bank of the river Ganga, learning, playing, and practicing shehnai. He used to love the sound of water flowing in the river Ganga and that is from where he took inspiration for his music. The theme of his music was deeply affected by it. 

In 1938, the All India Radio was inaugurated in Lucknow and that is where Bismillah Khan got his big break. He was the first Indian to greet Independent India with his shehnai on 15th August 1947 from the Red Fort. Later he became the first Indian to be invited to play Shehnai at the Lincoln Centre Hall in the USA after the British rule ended. He amazed everyone with his performance. 

Over the years he has managed to achieve great success and generated a non-ending love for music in the hearts of people both on national and International levels. He was presented with the best-known awards in the country like Padma Vibhusan, Padma Shri, and Padma Bhusan. He was in fact the recipient of Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honor in India. 

He has also given memorable performances all over the globe. He has performed internationally but he loves his roots the most. He also loved to teach music to children. Bismillah Khan is a perfect example of people who have tasted the water of all the countries but they love the rich culture of India the most and represent the music throughout the world.

The Sound of Music Class 9 Word Meaning

Jostle: push roughly

Slight: small and thin

Daunting: frightening, Scary

Teenager: a person who is in his teens

Aspiring musician: a person who wants to be a musician

Profoundly: Absolutely 

Gradual: in the process of something

Conceal: to not show or hide 

Specialist: to have specific or special knowledge of something

Deteriorated: to become of a lower quality or quantity or be reduced 

Pursue: wanting to achieve or to follow

impaired: weakened

percussionist: a person who plays different musical instruments

potential: having the ability to develop certain qualities or abilities

Urged: to request

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

Accomplished: to have achieved something 

Melodious: Pleasant sounding 

Ancestors: a person, typically one more remote than a grandparent, from whom one is descended.

Generic name: a name given to a class or group as a whole

Reeded: wind instruments that have reeds like the flute, the clarinet, etc.

Indispensable: without which a piece of work cannot be done

Ensembles: things (here, instruments) considered as a group

Souvenirs: things given in memory of a place, person, or event.

Celluloid: an old-fashioned way of referring to films.

The Sound of Music Class 9 Question and Answers

Part I

Q 1. How old was Evelyn when she went to the Royal Academy of Music?

Ans: Evelyn was seventeen years of age when she went to the Royal Academy of Music. She was very excited as she was starting a new phase of her life. 

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

Ans: When she was eight years old she used to go to piano classes. Back then her mother noticed that she is not responding to people calling her name in class. It was finally confirmed that she is deaf when she was eleven and her condition continuously deteriorated. She was taken to a doctor and then the doctor confirmed that she was profoundly deaf. 

 Q3. Who helped her to continue with music? What did he do and say?

Ans: Ron Forbes, a drummer, and her teacher saw her aptitude and promise. He advised Evelyn to experience music in a different way than just hearing it. He obtained two substantial drums and tuned them to various sounds. Evelyn responded differently to the various notes he played on the drums. This was successful for Evelyn, and over time she discovered that various vibrations and noises could be felt in various places of her body.

Q4. Name the various places and causes for which Evelyn performs.

Ans: When Evelyn was sixteen years old, she took part in her first tour as a member of a youth orchestra. Following her tour of the United Kingdom, she made the decision to pursue a career in music. She is well-known in the music industry. Evelyn is a well-known artist with a full schedule abroad. She plays for hospitals and jails in addition to her regular concerts and for charitable causes. Young musicians can take courses with Evelyn as well.

Q5. How does Evelyn hear music?

A. We should rather ask which part of her body does Evelyn not use to hear music. Ron Forbes saw Evelyn’s promise. He advised her to experience music in a different way than via her ears. He taught her by playing two massive drums tuned to various sounds. Evelyn discovered that various regions of her body could detect certain noises and sensations. She could feel the higher notes generated by one drum through her upper body, above the waist, and the lower sounds produced by the second drum through her lower body, below the waist.

Evelyn can feel the music vibrating through her skin, cheeks, hair, and other body parts. She can feel the music traveling from the sticks into her fingertips as she plays the xylophone. She can physically feel the reverberation of the drumbeats when they are played. When Evelyn plays on a wooden floor, she takes her shoes off so she can feel the vibrations from the many instruments going up her legs and through her feet. Evelyn’s body thus became more sensitive to music.

Part II

Q. Tick the right answer. 

1. The (shehnai, pungi) was a ‘reeded noisemaker.’

2. (Bismillah Khan, A barber, Ali Bux) transformed the pungi into a shehnai.

3. Bismillah Khan’s paternal ancestors were (barbers, and professional musicians).

4. Bismillah Khan learned to play the shehnai from (Ali Bux, Paigambar Bux, and Ustad Faiyaaz Khan).

5. Bismillah Khan’s first trip abroad was to (Afghanistan, U.S.A.).


  1. Pungi
  2. A barber
  3. professional musicians
  4. Ali Bux
  5. The U.S.A.

II. Answer

  1. Positive
  2. Negative
  3. Negative
  4. Neutral
  5. Positive
  6. Positive
  7. Negative

III. Answer these questions in 30–40 words. 

Q 1. Why did Aurangzeb ban the playing of the pungi?

Ans: Aurangzeb ban the playing of the pungi because it made a sound that was rather irritating and shrill and didn’t really sound like music.

Q 2. How is a shehnai different from a pungi?

Ans: A pipe with a natural hollow that is longer and wider than a pungi is called a shehnai. The pipe’s body has seven holes in it.

Q 3. Where was the shehnai played traditionally? How did Bismillah Khan change this?

Ans: Customarily, the Shehnai was performed at weddings and at temples. The Shehnai playing was seen as fortunate. It was given a fresh makeover by Bismillah Khan. I performed as Shehnai in movies, at other cultural events, and abroad as well.

Q4. When and how did Bismillah Khan get his big break?

Ans: Bismillah Khan get his big break with the opening of Radio Mirchi in Lucknow. It was 1938 when this event happened. 

Q5. Where did Bismillah Khan play the shehnai on 15 August 1947? Why was the event historic?

Ans: Bismillah Khan played the shehnai from The Red Fort on 15th August 1947. The event was historic because this was the day India got independence from British Rule.

Q6. Why did Bismillah Khan refuse to start a shehnai school in the U.S.A.?

Ans: The main reason behind Bismillah Khan refusing to start a shehnai school in the U.S.A. was that he would not live away from his country which is Hindustan and also from the place he lived his childhood which is on the ghats of the river Ganga in Banaras. 

Q7. Find at least two instances in the text which tell you that Bismillah Khan loves India and Benaras.

Ans: The first instance can be when he refused his student when he requested him to open a school in the U.S.A because he would not leave his country and city to go and stay there. 

Second, when Shekhar Gupta questioned him about relocating to Pakistan during the partition, he said that he would never leave Banaras.