MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS - online book

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB



Previous Contents Next
MUSICAL INSTRUMENT^.                     117
the art ? " are questions which naturally occur to the musical in­quirer having such instruments brought before him. A few words bearing on these questions may therefore not be out of place here.
It is generally and justly admitted that in no other branch of the art of music has greater progress been made since the last century than in the construction of musical instruments. Never­theless, there are people who think that we have also lost something here which might with advantage be restored. Our various instru­ments by being more and more perfected are becoming too much alike in quality of sound, or in that character of tone which the French call timbre, and the Germans Klangfarbe, and which pro­fessor Tyndall in his lectures on sound has translated clang-tint. Every musical composer knows how much more suitable one clang-tint is for the expression of a certain emotion than another. Our old instruments, imperfect though they were in many respects, possessed this variety of clang-tint to a high degree. Neither were they on this account less capable of expression than the modern ones. That no improvement has been made during the last two centuries in instruments of the violin class is a well-known fact. As to lutes and cithers the collection at Kensington contains speci­mens so rich and mellow in tone as to cause musicians to regret that these instruments have entirely fallen into oblivion.
As regards beauty of appearance our earlier instruments were certainly superior to the modern. Indeed, we have now scarcely a musical instrument which can be called beautiful. The old lutes, spinets, viols, dulcimers, &c, are not only elegant in shape but are also often tastefully ornamented with carvings, designs in marquetry, and painting.
The player on the viola dagatnba, shown in the next engraving, is a reduced copy of an illustration in " The Division Violist," London, 1659. It shows exactly how the frets were regulated, and how the bow was held. The most popular instruments played with a bow, at that time, were the treble-viol^ the tenor-viol, and the bass-viol. It was usual for viol players to have " a chest of viols," a case
Previous Contents Next
>






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III