MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

The History And Development Of Musical Instruments From The Earliest Times.

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54
MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
properly to be regarded as a pneumatic organ, for the sound was produced by the current of air through the pipes; the water applied serving merely to give the necessary pressure to the bellows and to regulate their action. The pipes were probably caused to sound by means of stops, perhaps resembling those on our organ, which were drawn out or pushed in. The con­struction was evidently but a primitive contrivance, contained in a case which could be carried by one or two persons and which was placed on a table. The highest degree of perfection which the hydraulic organ obtained with the ancients is perhaps
shown in a representation on a coin of the emperor Nero, in the British museum. Only ten pipes are given to it and there is no indication of any key board, which would probably have been shown had it existed. The man standing at the side and hold­ing a laurel leaf in his hand is surmised to represent a victor in the exhibitions of the circus or the amphi­theatre. The hydraulic organ pro­bably was played on such occasions; and the medal containing an impression of it may have been bestowed upon the victor.
During the time of the republic, and especially subsequently under the reign of the emperors, the Romans adopted many new instruments from Greece, Egypt, and even from western Asia; without essentially improving any of their importations.
Their most favourite stringed instrument was the lyre, of which they had various kinds, called, according to their form and arrangement of strings, lyra, ciihara, ehelys, tcstudo, fidis {ox fides), and cormi. The name comu was given to the lyre when the sides of the frame terminated at the top in the shape of two horns. The barbitos was a kind of lyre with a large body, which gave the instrument somewhat the shape of the Welsh crwth. The
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