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unusual string instruments


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Author Topic: unusual string instruments  (Read 859 times)
t-p
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« on: December 08, 2011, 08:51:05 am »

I found this instrument by chance looking for something else. Maybe people will find some other instruments and share it.






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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 10:41:05 am »

The lady in the second clip appears to be wearing a blanket - I wonder if it was cold in the concert hall? Smiley
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t-p
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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 09:16:23 pm »

This is how violin sounded if anyone wants to hear .

I never heard anything like that. I think it is a string instrument that sounds like wind instrument to me.




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t-p
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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2011, 09:17:38 pm »

It is easy to imagine how string instruments evolved.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=erIySs_6ZF8
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2011, 07:18:40 am »

I have one of these:



It's a vielle - often referred to as a waisted vielle, a fidel, or various other terms.  It was the primary instrument used for "artistic" music from the C13th to the C16th.  Technological improvements (a lighter and more resonant body, thinner strings, and perhaps a higher bridge?) were made to the instrument during the C16th, as it mutated gradually into the lira da braccio.  Although the basic idea then developed onwards (in Cremona) into what we'd recognise as a modern violin, many more things changed -including more robust strings, a lighter body made of carved component parts (my vielle has a body carved from one piece of wood), and a much "bigger" sound.

We mainly use my vielle for medieval music - Machaut, Landini, Dufay, Binchois.  I say "we" advisedly (before Mr H comes in like a ton of bricks offtopic as usual) since I loan my instrument out to a better player than I (a professional violist) for these performances,  while I migrate onto a recorder or cornamuse, by way of providing some element of variety of timbre for the audience.  Most of this repertoire is 3-part, and we perform it one-to-a-part - vielle, cornamuse/recorder, and voice.   Of course, audiences sated with the luxury of a modern large symphonty orchestra may find this all very small-scale and lacking in "brilliance" for their tastes...  but we've performed a few concerts of Dufay and Landini quite successfully.

Mine isn't the model illustrated - nor did I pay that rather naughty price for it Smiley)  In fact mine is a prototype made by a modern instrument-builder, which he was willing to sell rather cheaply, before he began making them on a commercial basis.  Nor does mine have the bourdon string - but it's not present in all medieval illustrations, and appears to have been a matter of choice.  I find it rather a nuisance in polyphonic music (I've got a crwth which has one, and it becomes annoying very quickly - to the extent that I almost never use the instrument) and I'm quite happy not to have it there Smiley  We have used the vielle and crwth together to play the lower lines of Machaut ballades (I took the drone string off) - but they sound rather similar, and I personally prefer to have a mixture of timbres...  although there is really no evidence for this either way.  Composers of this period didn't specify the instruments used... and in fact the choice was left up to the players themselves, with a number of different options being both possible and acceptable.  Landini himself played the portative organ - an instrument which was played with the right hand only, while the left hand pumped the bellows, and was thus effectively a monophonic instrument.
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t-p
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2011, 08:41:20 am »

It would be very interesting to listen to your ensemble. We may move into small ensemble playing again becasue orchestras are too expensive (taking economic situation into consideration).
Maybe it would be possible to put your performance on youtube.

I found this interesting instrument. I only read about baryton.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2011, 06:50:30 pm »

I'm afraid we've never made any recordings of our performances Sad   Perhaps we will do so in future? Smiley
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