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Anglo Saxon musical instruments

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Jayson:
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.

Bowerthane:
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.

Graegwulf:
We did a "Cutha's Chronicles" in Withowinde on making a bone flute - one of the last ones Karl ever wrote actually.

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 ---


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

Linden:

--- 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 ---

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? 

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