Gegaderung

Gegaderung => Anglo-Saxon Discussion => Topic started by: Jayson on August 04, 2011, 06:29:17 PM

Title: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: 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.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Bowerthane on August 04, 2011, 07:26:07 PM
Well obviously there was the harp/ lyre/ the gleewood, pipes, drums and probably rattles.  Fittings from the former were found in the Sutton Hoo burial.  Signalling horns may have been used to musical effect, but I'm not musically literate enough to say how.

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.  Hitherto, because the tuning was too closely bound up with how this or that particular harp or pipe was carven, it was too difficult to get any two to play in harmony with each other. 

Also, if surviving pre-Renaissance pipes are anything to go by, medieval folk were quite happy to play on the gaps between the notes.  The big deal about the Renaissance is that musical instrument making became sufficiently precise for true harmonies to be played, which is how Vivaldi made a much bigger hit in his own day than we easily realise.  The access of creativity this gave promoted the development of the baroque orchestra, the forerunner of the classical orchestra of today. 

Pipes, if memory serves, could be carven from bone as well as wood, and I think elder sticks are more easily cored than most for this purpose.


Hope this helps.

Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Graegwulf on August 04, 2011, 08:08:25 PM
We did a "Cutha's Chronicles" in Withowinde on making a bone flute - one of the last ones Karl ever wrote actually.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on August 05, 2011, 11:04:57 AM
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.


An article on the AS Harp can be seen under 'Articles' on the main Website (Click on the crown top of this page).
There is an article in past WW by Frank Stanford gesith on AS musical instruments in general. List of all past articles in WW can be seen on main website.
Cutha's Chronicles can be seen under board entitled "Links" (I must admit I cant find the bone flute episode mentioned by Paul)
Peter
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Linden on August 05, 2011, 11:05:58 AM
..............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  ..............

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.

Plus -  what does this more extensive gloss mean if not referring to what we would understand by 'harmony'?

'Efenhleoþrung vel dream' in its gloss of  'concentus, i. adunationes multarem vocum' - I thought that the Latin meant (more or less) 'harmony or the fusing together of many voices'.

Similarly, why have words like 'un-gedrime' &  'un-geþwære' meaning 'inharmonious' if harmony was not something achievable? 
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on August 05, 2011, 11:14:56 AM
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.


There is nothing surprising about musicians knowing nothing about AS music. This is just part of the general ignorance of the AS period.
Peter
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Bowerthane on August 05, 2011, 12:33:44 PM
____________________________________________________________
[ T]here are several OE words that gloss to either '(h)armonia' or 'concentus';
____________________________________________________________


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.


Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Jayson on August 05, 2011, 03:27:59 PM
---many thanks for all  your replies.

Sonya
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Horsa on August 05, 2011, 08:36:07 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  ..............

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

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?

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?
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Linden on August 05, 2011, 10:01:04 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?
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.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on August 06, 2011, 07:22:31 AM
Im not sure whether the proposition is "The AS did not have harmony in their music" Or whether it is "There was no harmony in music in the world until the hurdy-gurdy appeared"
The latter is certainly false since the early Greeks discovered the laws of harmony.
The former would also seem to be false, for a number of reasons. I believe the AS late in the period had an early form of organ which presumably would have 2 or more notes played in harmony.
In addition the AS harp, tuned to a pentatonic scale would surely have involved some chord playing of 2 and 3 notes and with this early scale all chords are in harmony.
Peter
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Horsa on August 07, 2011, 05:35:23 AM
Just because it's an oft-repeated idea, that ancient people didn't do much harmony, it doesn't make it true. I also find it hard to believe that they didn't have harmonies. Linden, as you say, through the winter months where there isn't much work to be done, and there's no x-box, internet, or telly, one could easily imagine people playing and experimenting with voice and harmonies. However, by the same regard, just because it's difficult to imagine that they didn't have harmonies, doesn't mean that they necessarily did have harmonies.

When I said 'in-tune' I meant that harmony could have meant people singing exactly the same note not singing off key. I'm not much of a musician, but I believe that a chord is, technically, harmony, but someone bashing out chords on guitar sounds very different from a barbershop quartet, and it's the latter that we mean when we talk about harmony - the melodic line is followed by a different line generally at an interval of a 3rd. And it's this latter trick and counterpoint that I always believed was an innovation of the renaissance age.

I had a quick shufty at some gregorian chant (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HEKhr002Ts) - no harmonies.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Graegwulf on August 11, 2011, 09:04:21 PM
Was the bagpipe known to the AS? It was obviously well known in later mediaeval times, and is very ancient in Eurasia and Egypt.  If they did have one, and it had a drone plus a melody pipe, I would suggest that counts as "harmony".

Paul
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Linden on August 12, 2011, 10:36:57 AM
Was the bagpipe known to the AS? .........................................................

Almost all experts on the riddles of the Exeter Book agree that riddle 31 (no. 29 in Craig Williamson's edition) is a bagpipe and that the text includes description of the bag and drones.  As the riddle describes the creature singing in the hall (ræced - house, hall, palace), it is likely that bagpipes were known and used at least in kingly/princely contexts.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on August 14, 2011, 09:32:06 AM
I should think that the earliest musical instrument that combined notes, and therefore produced harmonies, would be the pipe organ. This was invented by the Greeks & used by the Romans and found its way eventually into the Church.
In Frank Stanford's article, in an early WW, on musical instruments of the AS, he mentions an organ used at the end of the AS period. But I have been unable to find any independent mention of this so far.
Peter
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Wulfric on August 16, 2011, 11:22:56 AM
This thread had me realising I didn't know enough about specifics of music theory or the history of music to really comment especially with the different possibilities of the definition of harmony.

So I watched all for episodes of How Music Works with Howard Goodall on Youtube, one of which is dedicated to harmony and the "official" story of it's evolution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_UuATEqL7g (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_UuATEqL7g)

I can't personally challenge or defend any of this but thought it put context to the story of evolution of western harmony for future discussion.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on August 16, 2011, 09:28:50 PM
This thread had me realising I didn't know enough about specifics of music theory or the history of music to really comment especially with the different possibilities of the definition of harmony.

So I watched all for episodes of How Music Works with Howard Goodall on Youtube, one of which is dedicated to harmony and the "official" story of it's evolution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_UuATEqL7g (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_UuATEqL7g)

I can't personally challenge or defend any of this but thought it put context to the story of evolution of western harmony for future discussion.

But those items seem to deal with techniques developed over the last 300 years, whereas the origins of harmony, which is the bone of contention, goes back to the Greeks .
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Wulfric on August 17, 2011, 01:59:42 AM
Right I've done a little more research and re-watched the beginning of the harmony episode I previously mentioned. Sorry I'm about to go on a bit but I hope it gives some answers to the question of harmony.

Ancient Greeks... Indeed it seems that Pythagoras of Somos (~570 to ~495BC) did demonstrate a mathematical understanding of the laws of music and scale structures.

By ~424 to 347 BC Plato is complaining about people naturally talented musicians ignoring the established laws of music in favour of what sounds good. This has been taken by some to indicate that people were not limiting themselves to the classical modes (scales) in their mathematical structures or ignoring the attributed moods or "ethos" associated with the modes. Other of Plato's works describe the lyre accompanying a singing poet in the "correct" way and yet it is still understood by others that while more than one note would sound at the same time in a complimentary way this is not western harmony.

So I am lead to believe that the Classical Greeks understood scales and were happy for two notes to form a harmony.

Now back to the video, please excuse the direct quoting...

"At its most basic harmony is the intentional coming together of two or more sounds for pleasant effect. All the world's musical cultures share this idea..."

This conforms with what I managed to find in my reading about the Classical Greeks.

"...but harmony in western music is doing something else all together, turning the the collision of notes into a deliberate and complex structure of its own... ...Western harmony began separating off from all other world musics in around the 12th Century."

Howard Goodall then continues to demonstrate how the traditional English round "Summer is icumen in" first put to paper in 1225 is the earliest example of "Western Harmony", as it is understood today, as the combination of cyclic round and moving drone with an overlaid melody result in the formation of a THREE note chord. The rest of the program discusses how the rules of scales enable a pleasing chord progression and how this developed.

Also key was that this style of harmony had apparently not evolved elsewhere but had been blended with nearly all musical cultures once introduced.

So if we can trust the accepted wisdom at all then the Anglo Saxons would have been happy playing their harps in accompaniment to sung lyrics forming basic TWO note harmonies as the Ancient Greeks apparently did and with as much musical proficiency as apparently all the other world cultures.

Daring a little creative thinking, one could suggest that in fact the defining 3 note chord that occurs in Summer is icumen in, was common place throughout folk music of far earlier medieval periods, including the AS period, but that not being church music, had not been recorded until 1225. This doesn't explain though why from this point onwards, and not before, development of western harmony really takes off.

Thanks to anyone who read all that, I hope you found it interesting.

P.s. I'm sorry to do this but I don't particularly like my threads being dismissed out of hand,

But those items seem to deal with techniques developed over the last 300 years, whereas the origins of harmony, which is the bone of contention, goes back to the Greeks .

In what way is 1225 within the last 300 years? My calculations put it closer to 800
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on August 17, 2011, 08:24:12 AM
I was referring to the video to which you directed us and not dismissing anything but merely making an observation about that video. your further comments about harmony being over a longer period came after my comment and therefore how could I be dismissing it? I broadly agree with your final conclusions, which if correct would mean that harmony was used some time prior to the introduction of the hurdy-gurdy.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Wulfric on August 17, 2011, 05:59:38 PM
My apologies to everyone and especially Peter. Perhaps I was a little quick to take offence.

I must have misunderstood your meaning. I see what you mean about much of the programme dealing with developments in the last 300 hundred years. If this is when harmony, as modern musicians understand it, developed this is what we would expect from the programme and therefore it helps to answer the questions about what "harmony" is and whether AS musicians used it.

I suppose I felt as though some people would have been put off watching the video by your comment, which would have been a shame, especially as my comments about harmony developing over a longer time all came from the video, with the exception of the brief notes on classical Greece.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on August 18, 2011, 12:49:15 PM
My apologies to everyone and especially Peter. Perhaps I was a little quick to take offence.

I must have misunderstood your meaning. I see what you mean about much of the programme dealing with developments in the last 300 hundred years. If this is when harmony, as modern musicians understand it, developed this is what we would expect from the programme and therefore it helps to answer the questions about what "harmony" is and whether AS musicians used it.

I suppose I felt as though some people would have been put off watching the video by your comment, which would have been a shame, especially as my comments about harmony developing over a longer time all came from the video, with the exception of the brief notes on classical Greece.

That's ok.
I think my comment wasn't precise enough. Of course, all views are welcome, and I for one have learnt a great deal from them over the years.
Peter
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Horsa on August 19, 2011, 09:14:44 PM
This thread is excellent!

Thanks so much Wulfric for posting the video. I intended only to watch the first one to see what you were talking about but got sucked in. I had no idea that music was so complicated. The bit about suspension when Howard changed the chords to the Mariah Carey song to tonic chords was very illuminating. Also, thanks so much for the extra research. I have learnt a lot from these past few posts.

I've been playing guitar for 20 years, I think it might be time to learn about some theory.


If we accept a definition of harmony as this:
"turning the the collision of notes into a deliberate and complex structure of its own... ...Western harmony began separating off from all other world musics in around the 12th Century."


Which is how I've always instinctively defined it, then I would say that I would align myself somewhat with the establishment view. The Anglo-saxons, along with all musical cultures around the world would have had music where 2 or more notes played together at the same time - pluck a figure on the harp then sing. They almost definitely had music with a drone - the bagpipe (incidentally, that's all the hurdy gurdy offers harmony - a drone). And I would be surprised if they didn't sing rounds. With regards to the above definition of harmony, I would call this proto harmony.

Its very hard for me to imagine 400,000 years of human existence without all this harmony, but then again I've been brought up with it, surrounded by it. Yet, despite having heard it all my life, it is extremely difficult to sing harmonies. I was in a choir for a short time and all of us not singing the main melody but harmonies had to focus all our energies into not getting sucked up into the main melody. We failed often. The brain instinctively wants to sing the melody.

It's a lot easier to play harmonies on a guitar, but then you're relying on the design of the instrument to help you and the fact that you've heard harmonies all your life. Rounds are a lot easier to sing, but are still tricky in their own way. I remember singing them in primary school and the atmosphere was less like a sing-a-long and had more of a game aspect to it "let's see if you can do this?" And, once again, this is happening in a culture where complex use of harmony has been going on for hundreds of years. Imagine being the first person to suggest doing a round.

Peter points out that the ancient Greeks came up with mathematical rules for harmony long before the conscious use of harmony was supposed to have started. However, just because the ancient greeks described the mathematical relationships between notes and the corresponding feelings that they evoked, and called it harmony, that doesn't mean that they were necessarily playing melodies with harmonies. If I understand it correctly, melodies work the same way as chords. The Greeks may have noticed that a melody wants to return back to a certain note - the tonic: the key of the melody - and a melody favoured certain notes - the dominant and the subdominant.

Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: leofwin on August 19, 2011, 10:37:13 PM
with a six-stringed Anglo-Saxon lyre, the smallest amount of experimentation - blocking two or three of the strings and strumming the rest - produces really pleasant harmonies, which can be further varied by strumming in the opposite direction. I'm pretty sure that if it COULD be done, it WAS done.

I've managed to work all this stuff out on my lyre with no knowledge or training whatsoever in musical theory. You just play about until a pleasant sound happens!
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Graegwulf on August 21, 2011, 08:19:13 PM
That's the difficult thing about reconstruction of past knowledge; it is virtually impossible to unknow stuff you are familiar with.  You can't imagine not knowing it, which is one thing, but then it's easy to assume that everyone must have seen it.

I regularly try to draw animal ornament in Germanic styles.  I can copy existing works, no problem, but inventing new designs in their style, that's a whole different story.  I know about geometric and harmonic rules that weren't dreamed of 1500 or so years ago, and I can't stop knowing them.  The results might be quite pleasing, but they clearly aren't "authentic".  I'm not alone in this, you see the same thing daily in the proliferation of "Celtic" and Maori designs and tattoos.

Paul
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Horsa on August 23, 2011, 12:05:50 AM
- blocking two or three of the strings and strumming the rest - produces really pleasant harmonies, which can be further varied by strumming in the opposite direction.

You've got 6 strings there - six notes. The guitar has six strings too. And 22 frets, allowing you to play notes within 4 octaves - 48 notes. You're going to be playing just the one chord. The film that Wulfric posted says: "At its most basic, harmony is the intentional coming together of two or more sounds for pleasant effect. All the world's musical cultures share this idea." whereas western harmony turns "the collision of notes into a deliberate and complex structure of its own."

Later on in the film, it says that chord progressions are the lifeblood of western harmony. This makes more sense to me. When I hear bagpipe music, I don't consider that harmonies even though every note in the melody is played at the same time as the drone.

The film is well worth watching. There is an example of choral music with a moveable drone, where the harmonising notes are maintain the same distance from the melody notes. This sounds very different and far less complex musically and emotionally to the other examples of choral music with harmonies, especially the first song 'Rivers of Babylon", but also the tudor music and the baroque music.

I will reiterate my opinion:
The AS almost definitely had music with a drone, very probably sang in the round and absolutely without a shadow of a doubt had music where more than one note was played at the same time.

They did not have music where knowledge of harmony was used to create effects.

...

Though I could very well be wrong.

Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Jayson on August 25, 2011, 03:19:10 PM
----Wow!   I certainly started things off, something I certainly didn't expect!!! :)
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: leofwin on August 25, 2011, 08:28:30 PM
you clearly struck a chord with lots of people!
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on August 26, 2011, 01:57:29 PM
The AS hearpe tuned to the minor pentatonic scale gives 15  two-note chords
ie: 1 perfect octave
    3 major 2nd
    2 minor 3rd
    1 maj 3rd
    3 perfect 4th
    3 perf 5th
    1 maj 2nd
    1 min 7th

there are thus 15  two note chords - some more pleasing to the modern ear than others.

then there are the 3 note chords   I use three of these, and find only one 4 note chord useful
Peter
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: PeterOSullivan on August 27, 2011, 09:54:30 AM
I wonder if I could take theiberty to extend and hopefully enrich Jason's quest
I am seeking a recording of sacred music that would have been used in a church in Anglo Saxon times.
Is anybody able to help me with my quest?
Thanks & Regards
Peter O’Sullivan
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: leofwin on August 27, 2011, 10:40:29 AM
I wish I could help with that one, Peter - but if there is such a recording, i'd like to have a copy myself!
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Horsa on September 07, 2011, 04:13:07 PM
The AS hearpe tuned to the minor pentatonic scale gives 15  two-note chords


Yes, you are right. I had a play on the guitar with the pentatonic scale. I could do a wonky 8 bar blues chord progression.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: lawrence on September 08, 2011, 09:14:00 PM
I suppose it depends on what you understand by "harmony".  Certainly in the late 12th century Leonin was composing two part organa and Perotin was composing organa in four parts.  (I wouldn't normally think of the 12th century as "late" mediaeval.)

Cheers,

Lawrence
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Horsa on September 12, 2011, 06:27:43 PM
Brilliant! Thanks Lawrence. I'd never heard of Perotin and Leonin.
I've been listening to them on Youtube. I like the way some of the songs occasionally switch to plainsong. This stuff couldn't have jumped fully formed from Perotin's or Leonin's quills, so they must have been experimenting for years before these guys.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on December 22, 2013, 12:56:52 PM
I should think that the earliest musical instrument that combined notes, and therefore produced harmonies, would be the pipe organ. This was invented by the Greeks & used by the Romans and found its way eventually into the Church.
In Frank Stanford's article, in an early WW, on musical instruments of the AS, he mentions an organ used at the end of the AS period. But I have been unable to find any independent mention of this so far.
Peter


I dont know how I missed "the Pipe Organ & Player Piano"  by Oliver C Faust 1905
on line, fascinating amount of detail, but it did not play harmonies.
"The art of organ building was known in England early 8th cent. Aldhelm died 709,
tells how they decorated the pipes with gilding
In 9th c English builders construced organ with copper pipes"
Monster organ built 10th c at Winchester cathedral.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter on January 23, 2014, 03:08:33 PM
Not quite on the same note, but the Winchester Cantatorium from the 11th Cent. now in the Bodleian Library (was MS Bodley 775?). might be of interest to A/S music fans? I think it was originally from the Old Minster, Winchester; a sort of Church sheet-music for Easter plays (I think).
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: lawrence on January 24, 2014, 11:07:33 AM
Horsa - the Magnus Liber which is the main source of music of the Notre Dame school (Leonin  Perotin) is now available in facsimile here:

http://imslp.org/wiki/Magnus_Liber_Organi_%28Various%29

Cheers,

Lawrence
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Æðelstān on March 09, 2015, 09:22:26 PM
Hello,
I found this on YouTube - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b3hzR939uB8 , it is an Old Frisian song about Thunor (or Thor), this is probably similiar to AS music. I saw on this thread (from a few years ago) about harmonies being seen as bad (or something like that) and I know up until the 15th Century (?) a chord was banned by the church as they thought it would conjure up a demon of hell
Anyway that is my insight
Æðelstān
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Blackdragon on March 10, 2015, 11:29:29 AM
I was just wondering about Anglo Saxon handbells: I thought I had seen an illustration of two men playing them once, and on checking I find that they were on the Bayeux Tapestry in the scene of Edward Confessors funeral. Would they have made a harmony if played together? They would not need two pairs if they were only being used to signal it was time for lunch oir prayers.

There was a reconstruction of 1000 year old monks handbells a while ago. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-24019210
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on March 10, 2015, 12:25:35 PM
The AS hearpe tuned to the minor pentatonic scale gives 15  two-note chords
ie: 1 perfect octave
    3 major 2nd
    2 minor 3rd
    1 maj 3rd
    3 perfect 4th
    3 perf 5th
    1 maj 2nd
    1 min 7th

there are thus 15  two note chords - some more pleasing to the modern ear than others.

then there are the 3 note chords   I use three of these, and find only one 4 note chord useful
Peter


since posting this I now appear on YouTube playing the hearpe
the best way to see this is to google 'peter horn harp'
Peter
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: RussJenkins on February 02, 2020, 04:39:22 PM
I can't find the article mentioned above about AS harps. Can someone point me at it ?
I made myself a 7 string harp a couple of years ago, from scrap wood, ukulele strings and zither tuning pins. It's playable and I really enjoy it but it doesn't look authentic in any way.
It's time now to make another 6 strings and nicer wood and correcting some of the mistakes I made in the first one.
I'm most worried about making the tuning pegs as I don't think I should use zither pins again. Do I have to make my own wooden pegs in conical bores ? Sounds difficult.
I'm not a luthier, I'm a putter-up of wonky shelves. This will be challenging for me.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: Eanflaed on February 02, 2020, 10:21:51 PM
The next two issues of Withowinde will be right up your street Russ, methinks!  ;)  Don’t want to give too much away....!
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on February 06, 2020, 10:01:21 PM
I can't find the article mentioned above about AS harps. Can someone point me at it ?
I made myself a 7 string harp a couple of years ago, from scrap wood, ukulele strings and zither tuning pins. It's playable and I really enjoy it but it doesn't look authentic in any way.
It's time now to make another 6 strings and nicer wood and correcting some of the mistakes I made in the first one.
I'm most worried about making the tuning pegs as I don't think I should use zither pins again. Do I have to make my own wooden pegs in conical bores ? Sounds difficult.
I'm not a luthier, I'm a putter-up of wonky shelves. This will be challenging for me.
Hi
The sound of the Sutton Hoo Harp -article
For main website click on crown at top of this page
then click on search button
regards
Peter H
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: RussJenkins on February 07, 2020, 07:33:01 PM
Thanks Peter, I found it.

Really interesting, my lyre isn't tuned pentatonic, it's tuned  F G A B C D E , but then it is 7 strings which I believe is not
very authentic.
Title: Re: Anglo Saxon musical instruments
Post by: peter horn on February 08, 2020, 12:52:16 PM
Thanks Peter, I found it.

Really interesting, my lyre isn't tuned pentatonic, it's tuned  F G A B C D E , but then it is 7 strings which I believe is not
very authentic.


iy seems very likely, though of course it cannot be proved, that the AS Lyre was tuned to
a pentatonic scale. early english folk songs are based on a pentatonic scale and these take us back
to the late AS period.
Peter H