Musical Assertions (fwd)

Heather Rose Jones hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Fri Dec 8 17:01:32 PST 1995


On Fri, 8 Dec 1995, White Tree Productions wrote:

> >      "Appropriately like the dinosaurs -- that is, quite without explaination
> > -- no medieval instruments whatsoever have survived, so that we are thrown
> > back completely on the often ambiguous iconography of the period (stained
> > glass, paintings, etc. ) for our knowledge of these, plus a few scattered
> > references in contemporary treatises to the tuning of instruments which in
> > most cases we cannot even identify positively with those illustrated." 
> 
> For many of them, yes. Hell, we don't even agree on -names- much of the time!
> 
> However....we -do- have quite a few examples of medieval instruments, notably
> the Celtic harps that have survived. See Armstrong's "The Irish and Highland 
> Harps" for examples.

Be careful of how "medieval" is being defined. In the SCA, many people 
use it as a synonym for "period", but someone commenting on medieval 
music most probably has a narrower definition. If I recall correctly, the 
extant Scottish and Irish harps are definitely post-medieval. And you 
cannot tell, even from an extant harp body, how the strings were tuned. 
If you're defining "medieval" as "pre-Renaissance", then I'm not sure I 
can call to mind any counter-examples to the above claim.

Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn



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