Gegaderung > Anglo-Saxon Discussion

Anglo Saxon musical instruments

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peter horn:

--- Quote from: Jayson on August 04, 2011, 06:29:17 PM ---Hello Everyone!   I've been out of action for a couple of months, but now I'm able to get back on the forum, thank goodness.   Recently I went to a conference in Glastonbury where one of the speakers was an accomplished musician who had a range of old musical instruments which he could play, ranging from a bull roarer dating from some 20,000 years ago through Egyptian instruments up to much more recent Swiss horns.

I was therefore rather surprised when I asked him if he knew of and could play any Anglo-Saxon instruments to find that he knew of nothinng particular from that era.

So  --  could you let me have details of what was being played in A-S England?   I know there were articles about it in Withowinde some time ago bu I can't track them down.

--- End quote ---


There is nothing surprising about musicians knowing nothing about AS music. This is just part of the general ignorance of the AS period.
Peter

Bowerthane:
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[ T]here are several OE words that gloss to either '(h)armonia' or 'concentus';
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Yes as you say, these refer to vocal harmonies of the sort Benedictine monks and nuns might sing.  My information ( a Radio 4 documentary I'm inclined to trust, and some idea about Classical music) concerned only intrumental music.

As for two or more notes played together by an occasional pre-Renaissance instrument, I wouldn't call that much of a harmony and I doubt if Vivaldi would, either.  Which instruments, and how well could they sustain the note? 

Trumpets sounding a fanfare might, but that wasn't done for pleasure.


Jayson:
---many thanks for all  your replies.

Sonya

Horsa:

--- Quote from: Bowerthane on August 04, 2011, 07:26:07 PM --- ..............One thing I do recall is that nobody heard true harmonies in music until, at least, the first hurdy-gurdies came along in Late Medieval times.  Some churchmen called the hurdy-gurdy "the voice of the Devil" because it was the first time anyone heard a harmony  ..............
--- End quote ---

I have heard this too, from a few sources, including my grandmother who was a jazz musician.


--- Quote from: Linden on August 05, 2011, 11:05:58 AM ---Is that definitely so?
I ask because there are several OE words that gloss to either '(h)armonia' or 'concentus'; also one or two musical instruments that, on their own, might produce more than one note simultaneously.

...

Similarly, why have words like 'un-gedrime' &  'un-geþwære' meaning 'inharmonious' if harmony was not something achievable?

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If it is true that harmony wasn't as developed a technique/concept as it was in the renaissance then I'm wondering if early mediaeval words that translate as harmony might just mean being 'in-tune'. Is there a separate word or phrase for in-tune?

Linden:

--- Quote from: Horsa on August 05, 2011, 08:36:07 PM ---..........If it is true that harmony wasn't as developed a technique/concept as it was in the renaissance then I'm wondering if early mediaeval words that translate as harmony might just mean being 'in-tune'. Is there a separate word or phrase for in-tune?

--- End quote ---
What is meant by 'in tune'?  It can just mean 'in harmony'.  Otherwise, presumably, it means 'playing the same note(s)'?  If it does mean 'playing the same note' then that is no less difficult to achieve than achieving a harmony with the original note.
As for 'tuning' techniques - leaving aside the 'hearpe' which is completely tunable by means of the tension in its strings, there are various very easy ways of modifying the notes of wind instruments with wax, pebbles, glue etc. etc. 
Personally I find it difficult to believe that folk with time on their hands in dark evenings and various musical instruments to hand did not experiment with all types of harmonies.

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