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Re: Fretting a string with fingers

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  • michaeljking2007
    This is a fascinating subject area, last summer I spent time learning about the various members of this family of instruments which seem to be descended from
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 3, 2013
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      This is a fascinating subject area, last summer I spent time learning about the various members of this family of instruments which seem to be descended from the Byzantine lyra probable ancestor of rebecs and the starting point of bowed instrument experimentation in the west.

      Definitely the way to go to understand early bowing techniques

      Here is a Classical Kemenche video that has some nice close ups of playing:
      http://youtu.be/7XGevDvEDvk

      I had a good playlist on Youtube for Lyra in general which has some nice carving/making shots, alas some videos have been deleted now:
      http://tinyurl.com/majvjjo

      love the simplicity of the construction,playing the string from the peg like bowed lyres and bowed fiddles. I did try to play Erhu years ago for a similar reason, (now I focus on making!)

      Look forward to reading what you learn

      Best wishes

      Michael



      --- In Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com, simon@... wrote:
      >
      > Hi everyone, I have been reading and thinking about the icelandic
      > fiðla, and wondering what it was like and where it came from. One of
      > the distinctive things about it seems to be the back-handed fretting
      > of the melody string and this got me thinking about fretting in general.
      >
      > I was thinking of the jouhikko which for me is the "normal" way to
      > fret a string, it is quite different from violin, guitar etc.
      >
      > I was thinking about how nyckelharpa, hurdy-gurdy and clavichord are
      > all mechanised versions of this back-handed in-the-air fingering
      > method. (and all seem to appear in about the 13th century, except for
      > the hurdy gurdy which has 11th century origins)
      >
      > Then I was looking at bowing (fascinating hwo hurdy gurdy is about as
      > old as bowing!).
      >
      > Does nayone have any info on the fingering technique of cretan lyra,
      > and other related instruments? Wikipedia has a nice page on each of
      > the various types, gadulka, gusle, etc. and there are some youtubes
      > but I can't work out exactly how they are fingered. Seems that they
      > are jouhikko-style not violin-style but where do you put your
      > fingers, which direction do you move them in, and how many strings do
      > you fret? Anyone have any info?
      >
      > Also anyone got any leads on this back-handed fingering used on a non-
      > bowed instrument? The only one I can think of is clavichord, and that
      > is the mechanised version not the manual version.
      >
      > This all is part of thinking what is the relationship between the
      > bowed lyres etc. and the classic Anglo-Saxon round lyres.
      >
      > Simon
      >
      > PS I'm using the jouhikko in my medieval music lunchtime concert in
      > St Andrews at the cathedral ruins on Thursday - if you're in Scotland
      > come and say hello!
      >
    • sca_bard@yahoo.com
      ... For what it s worth, the Stuttgart Psalter (c. 820-830 CE) shows a lot of solid-body strummed instruments with apparent fingerboard fretting going on:
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 3, 2013
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        Seeing as how backhand / in the air fretting looks so
        much older than violin/guitar style fingerboard fretting, we would
        assume that fretting was invented as a consequence of bowing?
        For what it's worth, the Stuttgart Psalter (c. 820-830 CE) shows a lot of solid-body strummed instruments with apparent fingerboard fretting going on:

        http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Guitar-like_plucked_instrument,_Carolingian_Psalter,_9th_century_manuscript,_108r_part,_Stuttgart_Psalter.jpg

        I don't think I've ever seen that instrument outside that psalter, though, so I don't know if there's any scholarship on it, and whether it's considered a real thing or the artist's imagining.  (Although it does show up *a lot.*  I have a link at home to a digitized copy of the Stuttgart online, if anyone wants to leaf through it looking for instruments.)

        (Random lyre image I hadn't seen before, from the Gertrude or Egbert Psalter, c, 980:
        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/33/Egbert-Psalter%2C_fol._20v.jpg

        Dead ringer for the Cologne lyre, innit?  Not sure *what* the right hand is doing, or what the weighted cord? chain? falling from the right side of the lyre is.  Strings don't go where they ought to, although that could also be a consequence of the gold leafwork.  10th century is late for Germanic lyre, isn't it?  The illumination might have been done by copying another older exemplar, too.)

        Jamie
      • frode_kettilsson
        Hello all, I was following the video trail and came across this . At about two minutes in there is a pretty good
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 3, 2013
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          Hello all,
          I was following the video trail and came across this.  At about two minutes in there is a pretty good close up of the back of the fingernail fretting on a lyra, as clear as anything I've come across, anyway.  A little before that there was a brief but close look at the bow itself.
          Hopefully useful?
          Frode

          --- In Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com, simon@... wrote:
          >
          > Hi everyone, I have been reading and thinking about the icelandic 
          > fiðla...

          > Then I was looking at bowing...
          >
          > Does nayone have any info on the fingering technique of cretan lyra, 
          > and other related instruments?

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