MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

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

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MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS.
111
A grand assemblage of musical performers is represented on the Portico della gloria of the famous pilgrimage church of San­tiago da Compostella, in Spain. This triple portal, which is stated by an inscription on the lintel to have been executed in the year 1188, consists of a large semicircular arch with a smaller arch on either side. The central arch is filled by a tympanum, round which are twenty-four life-sized seated figures, in high relief, representing the twenty-four elders seen by St. John in the Apo­calypse, each with an instrument of music. These instruments are carefully represented and are of great interest as showing those in use in Spain at about the twelfth century. A cast of this sculpture is in the Kensington museum.
In examining the group of musicians on this sculpture the reader will probably recognise several instruments in their hands, which are identical with those already described in the preceding pages. The organisirum, played by two persons, is placed in the centre of the group, perhaps owing to its being the largest of the instruments rather than that it was distinguished by any supe­riority in sound or musical effect. Besides the small harp seen in the hands of the eighth and nineteenth musicians (in form nearly identical with the Anglo-saxon harp) we find a small tri­angular harp, without a front-pillar, held on the lap by the fifth and eighteenth musicians. The saiterio on the lap of the tenth and seventeenth musicians resembles the dulcimer, but seems to be played with the fingers instead of with hammers. The most interesting instrument in this orchestra is the vihuela, or Spanish viol, of the twelfth century. The first, second, third, sixth, seventh, ninth, twentieth, twenty-second, twenty-third, and twenty-fourth musicians are depicted with a vihucia which bears a close resemblance to the rebec. The instrument is represented with three strings, although in one or two instances five tuning-pegs are indicated. A large species of rihueia is given to the eleventh, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth musicians. This instrument differs from the rebec in as far as its body is broader
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