A Conversation for Unusual Musical Instruments

Unusual instruments

Post 1

You can call me TC

Hi Gnomon - I was reading your entry as it is featured on the front page this week, and I was reminded of a re-discovered instrument that I heard about on Radio 4 recently: The Lirone. It has been revived by a woman (can't find her name for the moment) who has also found lots of music for this instrument.

It is like a cello or a viol da gamba and played on open strings only as a sort of basso continuo.

If you look for the Woman's Hour programme of 3 March on the bbc website, you might be able to hear her play it.


Unusual instruments

Post 2

You can call me TC

Also popular round here is an ancient instrument called the Schalmei - according to wiki the English name is Shawm. Also, according to wiki, it is related to the chalumeau.

A local village near us has its own Schalmeienband and they do a mean "Tiger Rag". Each instrument apparently also has a small range, because the band consists of many different-sized instruments. They make a really tinny sound, but played with gusto they can be really entertaining.

The Schalmeienband in this case is an offshoot of the Fanfarenzug - a sort of bugle-marching-traditional band which every village has. They dress in medieval costumes and play these fanfares, with various drummers and possibly xylophones marching along with them. It's not a re-enactment thing, they have just been doing it for several hundred years that way. A google search for "Fanfarenzug" should give you an idea of what the players (and the instruments) look like. They are particularly active in the Carnival season but take part in any kind of parade which the town or village may organise for various reasons.


Unusual instruments

Post 3

Gnomon - time to move on

Sounds great.

There's no tradition of marching bands in Ireland. Irish traditional music was usually dance music in which the players sat down to play, or songs. We've got a few marching bands now, but they are very much based on the American tradition.


Unusual instruments

Post 4

Gnomon - time to move on

Haven't heard of the Lirone, but -one in Italian means "big", so it was probably a "big lyre", a name that could be applied to any large stringed instrument.

The cello is officially the violoncello, which means "little violone", which in turn means "little big viol".smiley - biggrin


Unusual instruments

Post 5

You can call me TC

Like the Chitarrone, a big guitar. There's a woman in our village who can play one. She gave a concert a couple of years back. I've forgotten which instrument she was accompanying - some other obscure historical wind instrument. I'll see if I can remember it or find out tonight by digging up the programme.

And then there was something like a clavichord which I have heard of, which had foot pedals like a church organ. What is that called?


Unusual instruments

Post 6

You can call me TC

I've just found a picture of our local chitaronneuse:

http://www.musichevarie.de/

(she's Dutch - don't know why she lives here)


Unusual instruments

Post 7

You can call me TC

Haven't found that programme yet.


Unusual instruments

Post 8

Gnomon - time to move on

That chittarone looks like a theorbo or archlute. Recumbentman knows much more about Renaissance stringed instruments than I do.


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Unusual instruments

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