MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

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

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MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
tamboura, for instance, are regulated with a view to this object. "
The Arabs had to some extent become acquainted with many of the Persian instruments before the time of their conquest of Persia. An Arab musician of the name of Nadr Ben el-Hares Ben Kelde is recorded as having been sent to the Persian king Khosroo Purviz, in the sixth century, for the purpose of learning Persian singing and performing on the lute. Through him, it is said, the lute was brought to Mekka. Saib Chatir, the son of a Persian, is spoken of as the first performer on the lute in Medina, a.d. 682; and of an Arab lutist, Ebn Soreidsch from Mekka, a.d. 683, it is especially mentioned that he played in the. Persian style; evidently the superior one. The lute, el-ond, had before the tenth century only four strings, or four pairs producing lour tones, each tone having two strings tuned in unison. About the tenth century a string for a fifth tone was added. The strings were made of silk neatly twisted. The neck of the instrument was provided with frets of string, which were carefully regulated according to the system of seventeen intervals in the compass of an octave before mentioned. Other favourite stringed instruments were the tamboura, a kind of lute with a long neck, and the kanoon, a kind of dulcimer "strung with lamb's gut strings (gene­rally three m unison for each tone) and played upon with two little plectra which the performer had fastened to his fingers. The kanoon is likewise still in use in countries inhabited by Maho-medans. The engraving, taken from a Persian painting at Teheran, represents an old Persian santir, the prototype of our dulcimer, mounted with wire strings and played upon with two slightly curved sticks.
Al-Farabi, one of the earliest Arabian musical theorists known, who lived in the beginning of the tenth century, does not allude to the fiddle-bow. This is noteworthy inasmuch as it seems in some measure to support the opinion maintained by some his­torians that the bow originated in England or Wales. Unfortu-
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