MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

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

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MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
55
psaltcrium was a kind of lyre of an oblong square shape. Like most of the Roman lyres, it was played with a rather large plectrum. The trigonum was the same as the Greek trigonon, and was probably originally derived from Egypt. It is recorded that a certain musician of the name of Alexander Alexandrinus was so admirable a performer upon it that when exhibiting his skill in Rome he created the greatest furore. Less common, and derived from Asia, were the sambuca and nablia, the exact con­struction of which is unknown.
The flute, tibia, was originally made of the shin bone, and had a mouth-hole and four finger-holes. Its shape was retained even when, at a later period, it was constructed of other sub­stances than bone. The tibia gingrina consisted of a long and thin tube of reed with a mouth-hole at the side of one end. The tibia obliqua and tibia vasca were provided with mouth-pieces affixed at a right angle to the tube ; a contrivance somewhat similar to that on our bassoon. The tibia longa was especially used in religious worship. The tibia curva was curved at its broadest end. The tibia iigula appears to have resembled our flageolet. The calamus was nothing more than a simple pipe cut off the kind of reed which the ancients used as a pen for writing.
The Romans had double flutes as well as single flutes. The double flute consisted of two tubes united, either so as to have a mouth-piece in common or to have each a separate mouth-piece. If the tubes were exactly alike the double flute was called Tibia fan's; if they were different from each other, Tibia: imparcs. Little plugs, or stoppers, were inserted into the finger-holes to regulate the order of intervals. The tibia was made in various shapes. The tibia dexira was usually constructed of the upper and thinner part of a reed ; and the tibia sinistra, of the lower and broader part. The performers used also the capistrum,— a bandage round the cheeks identical with the phorbeia of the Greeks.
The British museum contains a mosaic figure of a Roman girl
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