Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Re: string spacing ..etc!

Expand Messages
  • sca_bard@yahoo.com
    Manuscript illuminations are tricky business, since you never know when the illuminator is drawing from life and when he s copying the guy who illuminated a
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 10, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      Manuscript illuminations are tricky business, since you never know when the illuminator is drawing from life and when he's copying the guy who illuminated a manuscript three generations ago, *but,* going by those, it looks like the bowed lyre (crowd or crwth) was coming up as the lyre was going away.  I can't say that I've seen every single Anglo-Saxon illumination showing instruments, but I've seen a lot, and I've never seen a psaltery in any of them.  I'm not sure I'd write the harp off as the 'more elevated' instrument just yet - the lyre itself was played in the lord's hall as well as in the soldier's camp, so it's possible the early harp may have been as well. 

      The reference you're thinking of it in the Venerable Bede's 'History of the English-Speaking Church and People.'  Caedmon, the monastery's cowherd, would gather with the other uneducated lay brothers/day laborers after supper, and they'd pass the 'cythara' around and sing/recite to amuse themselves.  Caedmon, having acute stage fright and no repertoire to speak of, always ran off to hide until the night an angel brought him a poem about Creation to sing/recite.  The monks had to write it down for him, because he was illiterate.

      At Bede's time, it's not certain either way what a 'cythara' might have referred to, and I've seen it assumed to be a harp as well as a lyre.  Both instruments were (we think) in use, and the same Latin word was applied to both.

      - Jamie




      From: "johnedallas@..." <johnedallas@...>
      To: Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, December 10, 2012 4:10 AM
      Subject: Re: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Re: string spacing ..etc!

       
      In a message dated 10.12.2012 02:47:34 Mitteleuropäische Zeit, dsunlin@... writes:
       
      Was the lyre-as-accompaniment supplanted by the folk guitar?

      -Douglas
      Douglas,
      On the historical time-line, definitely not!
      The folk guitar as we know it didn't reach popular music in the former Anglo-Saxon lands until first rock 'n' roll and then the Folk Scare reached us from America in the 20th century. In the later Middle Ages, it was probably the psaltery that took over from the lyre for popular music (the harp being a more elevated instrument), and in the Renaissance/Baroque era the cittern was the instrument of choice for accompanying popular songs, while the more sophisticated lute was used for academic music. The cittern evolved into the English guittar, which was popular with amateur musicians in polite social circles in the 18th century, and at in the 19th century the German and Anglo-German concertinas took the fancy of the musical lower classes in the UK.  
       
      Nonetheless, I think the folk guitar plays a similar role to the Saxon and Alemannic lyre. I read a quote somewhere that hinted that any Anglo-Saxon who was any way musical could handle the lyre, and that the instrument was passed round in convivial settings. Nowadays, anyone who's any way musical can bash out three chords on the guitar, and it's not unusual for someone to say, "Lend me your guitar" when he's asked to sing a song. 
       
      Cheers,
      John


    • Mark
      ... Mark: The lyre may have fallen into disuse in Northern Europe, but the tradition has carried on in Africa. Typically, African lyre players take advantage
      Message 2 of 10 , Dec 12, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        --- In Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com, "John" <johnedallas@...> wrote:
        >
        > I wonder what would have happened if the northern European lyre had not fallen into disuse about a millennium ago, but was still being played today as pat of a living tradition.

        Mark: The lyre may have fallen into disuse in Northern Europe, but the tradition has carried on in Africa. Typically, African lyre players take advantage on any technological innovations that are available, for example using machine heads, steel strings, electromagnetic pickups and something a bit like a capo dastro to change the key of the lyre without retuning the strings. Here is an example:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrddoPFIZJk
      • Mark
        ... Here s six string lyre block and strum modern day Ethiopian style. The instrument is essentially the same as the Anglo Saxon 6 string lyre, but having
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 2, 2013
        • 0 Attachment
          --- In Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com, "John" <johnedallas@...> wrote:
          >
          > I wonder what would have happened if the northern European lyre had not fallen into disuse about a millennium ago, but was still being played today as pat of a living tradition.

          Here's six string lyre block and strum modern day Ethiopian style. The instrument is essentially the same as the Anglo Saxon 6 string lyre, but having moved with the times in a living tradition:

          http://youtu.be/sTh2Ai0o3hM
        • irrotational@activ8.net.au
          Lovely! Craig.
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 2, 2013
          • 0 Attachment
            Lovely!


            Craig.

            Quoting Mark <markallanbarnes@...>:

            >
            >
            > --- In Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com, "John" <johnedallas@...> wrote:
            >>
            >> I wonder what would have happened if the northern European lyre had
            >> not fallen into disuse about a millennium ago, but was still being
            >> played today as pat of a living tradition.
            >
            > Here's six string lyre block and strum modern day Ethiopian style.
            > The instrument is essentially the same as the Anglo Saxon 6 string
            > lyre, but having moved with the times in a living tradition:
            >
            > http://youtu.be/sTh2Ai0o3hM
            >
            >
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.