minstrel: Music Maker

Alte Musik Salzburg schallaboeck at magnet.at
Wed Nov 15 01:11:42 PST 2000


Listen to a medieval psalter:

http://www.altemusik.net/mp3underder.htm

But anyway I want to tell you about your Music Maker: Take it - Use it!

There is existing a lot of instruments which are not exactly period but
anyway wonderful to play.

For example the plucked dulcimer:
of course it is not period, medieval, but normally you play it with the same
musical technic as you did with the period "Scheitholz" which you will find
in Michael Praetorius "Syntagma Musicum". Both instruments use borduns and a
melody string. The sound is different, the "modern" dulcimer is a lot louder
and not that thin.

With psalters is similiar: What you call "Music Maker" I do not know. Anyway
your description sounds very good and it seems to be close to an original
medieval form. The basic idea is the same: There are strings on a wooden box
and you pluck them.

The bowed psaltery which I like a lot is 100% not period and the sound is
not period!!! Anyway it is nice for medieval music. But with your Music
Maker you are much closer to period!

Maybe you can think of the differnce between a cembalo, a hammerpiano and a
modern concert piano. Each one can be used for J.S.Bach! Important is to
know which one was really used in Bach's time and not to tell the audience
that Bach was using a modern grand piano.


All the best,

Thomas
http://www.altemusik.net/




----- Original Message -----
From: "Heather Rose Jones" <hrjones at socrates.Berkeley.EDU>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 3:37 AM
Subject: Re: minstrel: Music Maker


> >Good Gentles,
> >
> >I was wondering if anyone could give me an opinion on the follwoing item.
> >
> >I have noticed for the past few years in stores selling children's
> >educational toys an instrument called the "Music Maker".  It is
trapezoidal
> >in shape, metal strung and meant to be plucked.  I was wondering if this
> >instrument could be used to approximate a plucked psaltry.
> >
> >Its advantage is it is readily available in large centres, not too
> >expensive, (about $50 Canadian), can be used to accompany singing, and
can
> >even be put on one's wish list for mundane relatives.  Although I am
> >thinking of adult use, it can be a used by children looking for an
> >instrument besides recorder to play at events .  I believe it did get
very
> >good reviews from those who review children's "toys" when it first came
out.
> >
> >Opinions please?
>
>
> I've noticed it in the catalogs, too.  It is clear that the historic
> instrument that it most resembles is, in fact, a trapezoidal psaltery
> -- but that's approaching the question from the other side.  I
> haven't really looked at it in terms of "what -- on a quantitative
> and qualitative basis -- are the differences between a "Music Maker"
> and a period psaltery, and how well would it approximate one?"  The
> temptation is to judge it against the historicity of other popular
> folk instruments used at SCA events and give it positive marks on
> that basis.  For example, if you were trying to decide between buying
> one of these and buying a bowed psaltery for SCA performance, the
> "Music Maker" would win hands down in my opinion.  But simply saying
> "you could do a lot worse" doesn't come off sounding like a strong
> endorsement.
>
> I guess my feeling is that it would make a good addition to "cheap
> and accessible approximations of period musical instruments", but
> someone who moves on to the next level of interest needs to be aware
> of the differences between it and a medieval psaltery (which are
> likely to involved things like size, range, physical structure,
> string material, etc.).
>
> Tangwystyl
> --
> *****
> Heather Rose Jones
> hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu
> *****
>
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