minstrel: [Minstrel] Introducing myself and re instrument differences

Corwen Ap Broch wildmanofthewoods at yahoo.ca
Wed Nov 15 21:54:54 PST 2000

Hello there! My name is Corwen, I've just joined the list.
I am a whistle
dulcimer/bowed psaltery tinkerer and prof. busker/stiltwalker.
I'm interested in medieval music though not from a particularly purist
angle, my favourite band is Paescod for this stuff and thats the mood
of Merry England I like to try to create.


With regards to your discussion below I think the mandolin is a great
instument, but as you say not really suited for duplicating lute parts!

One thing you might try is tuning it open, ADAD is a common Bouzouki
tuning and you can find chord charts for that on the web, or GDGD is
the most common open mandolin tuning.

Then you can play the melody with a drone accompaniment that sounds
very early medieval. You can get this to some extent if you play in
Gmajor or minor with the normal GDAE tuning., the resting note is then
the G on the D string with the open G below it, work the tune out from

Have fun! 

(web site URL's below if you want to know more about me!)

--- Fred Ross <fred at horace.ls.net> wrote:
> Interspersed below.
> Fred Ross
> s.k.a. Philippe de Minerve
> a.k.a. Sgath
> http://www.ls.net/~fred/
> On Wed, 15 Nov 2000, Taliesin of Earthstar wrote:
> > In the area of period music and period music instruments, my
> knowledge is
> > lacking. I couldn't tell a violin from a bowed psaltery from a
> rebec, and
> > from what I understand the rebec is the only one within SCA-period.
> I've
> > seen a modern-made Welsh-style crwth that was strung/fretted/tuned
> like a
> > banjo, and I've seen those "lute-shaped guitars" that some people
> object
> > to so much. Indeed, I couldn't tell you if the mandolin I'm getting
> for
> > Christmas is anywhere near a period style.
> The violin was indeed period (this I know well, it's my primary
> instrument, and I've picked up something of its history over the last
> twelve years).  I've seen the round backed guitars, and I'm not sure
> where
> the mandolin falls (though I believe the Cremonese luthiers were
> making
> round backed mandolins alongside violins at the end of period).  If
> the
> mandolin you're getting for Christmas has a back and belly connected
> by
> sides perpendicular to them, then it's a style barely a hundred years
> old,
> but which has, due to marketing, nearly taken over in the US.  In
> Europe
> you don't see them much, just the round backs.
> As for guitars, I don't know how far back the Baroque guitar goes,
> but it
> may reach just into period as well.  This was a much smaller
> instrument,
> with a body narrower in proportion, and (of course) a shorter neck. 
> The
> one I saw had moveable gut frets, but used six strings for the sake
> of its
> mucisian - it was also the only low instrument in the ensemble (a
> violin,
> a mandolin, and some recorders played by the same people) so the
> extra
> bass string was important for balance.
> > Yet I also have seen people in the SCA get bored and walk away from
> songs
> > like "Twa Corbies" and "Agincourt Carole," yet sit entranced by
> such
> > perennial favorites as "Bored on the List-field" and "Beer, Cold
> Beer."
> > Yes, there is, and will always be, an audience for strictly period
> music
> > with strictly period instrumentation, but I guess I wonder how
> large the
> > gap is between "popular" and "period" music.
> Believe it or not, the repertoire of Elizabethan song is as lively as
> any
> of the filk I've encountered, and usually a lot prettier.  Vocalists
> still
> perform early music a lot, so good manuscripts and editions are
> (fairly)
> readily available.  Dowland's First, Second, and Third books of Ayres
> and
> Songs are a good place to start.  For examples of songs that would go
> over
> very well with almost any audience, listen to Emma Kirkby and Anthony
> Rooney's album 'Time Stands Still', which I recommend on purely
> musical
> merits as well.
> There is no reason why you couldn't use the lute or viol parts for
> these 
> songs on the mandolin.  It would just require a little transcription.
> Just
> look at the parts first.  There was a lot of chording, but there was
> a lot
> of voicing and counterpoint as well.  On the mandolin the goal in 
> accompaniment is continual motion.  On instruments like the lute you
> can
> get away with a more laid back accompaniment, but the mandolin's
> harsh
> attack and short sustain require a different style.  You might listen
> to
> any of Planxty's CDs for an example of really wonderful mandolin and
> bazouki accompaniment.  I want to work on this kind of thing with the
> violin, but I need to find time first.
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Corwen ap Broch
Check out my website:
or my other one!
Blessed be!

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