Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

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due to him as a relator of facts, he is certainly as good authority as any for the signification of words."
The musical instruments principally in use among the Anglo-Saxons, were the Harp, the Psaltry, the Fidele, and a sort of Horn called in Saxon " Pip " or Pipe. The Harp, however, was the national instrument. In the Anglo-Saxon Poem of Beowulf it is repeatedly mentioned.
" There was the noise of the harp, the clear song of the poet." . . . . " There was song and sound altogether, before Healfdene's Chieftains; the wood of joy (harp) was touched, the song was often sung." .... " The beast of war (warrior) touched the joy of the harp, the wood of pleasure," &c.
The FrSele (from which our words fiddler and fiddle are derived) was a sort of viol, played on by a bow. The Psaltry, or Sawtrie, was strung with wire."
The Normans were a colony from Norway and Denmark, where the Scalds had arrived at high renown before Rollo's expedition into France. Many of those men no doubt accompanied him to the duchy of Normandy, and left behind them successors in their art; so that when his descendant William invaded this kingdom, a.d. 1066, he and his followers were sure to favor the establishment of the minstrel profession here, rather than suppress it; indeed, we read that at the battle of Hastings, there was in William's army a valiant warrior, named Taillefer, distinguished no less for the minstrel arts, than for his courage and intrepidity. This man, who performed the office of Herald-minstrel (Menestrier huchier), advanced at the head of the army, and with a loud voice animated his countrymen, singing a war-song of Roland, i. e., "Hrolfr or Rollo," says our Anglo-Saxon historian, Sharon Turner;—then rushing among the thickest of the English, and valiantly fighting, lost his life.
The success of his ancestor Rollo, was one of the topics of the speech in which William addressed his army before the battle, to excite in them the emulation of establishing themselves in England as he had done in Normandy. A " Chanson de Roland" continued in favor with the French soldiers as late as the battle of Poicticrs, in the time of their king John, for, upon his reproaching one of them with singing it at a time when there • were no Rolands left, he was answered that Rolands would still be found if they had a Charlemagne at their head. This was in 1356.
Dr. Burney conjectured that the song, " L'homme armee," which was so popular in the fifteenth century, was the Chanson de Roland; but M. Bottee de Toulmon has quoted the first four lines of " L'homme armee" from the Proportionales Musices of John Tinctor, and proved it to be only a love-song. He has also printed the tune, which he extracted from one of the many Masses in which it was used as a subject to make Descant on.b
• Representations of Anglo-Saxon harps and pipes win be found in Hail. MSS. 603, which also contains a psaltry, in shape like the lyre of Apollo, but with more strings, and having a concave back. It agrees with that which Augustine describes as carried in the hand of the player, which had a shell or concave piece of wood on it, that caused the strings to resound, and is much more
elegant in shape than those in Sir John Hawkins's His­tory, copied from Kircher's Musurgia. A representation of the Fithele will be found in the Cotton Collection, Tiberius, c. vi., and in Strutt's Sports and Pastimes. Both the manuscripts cited are of the tenth century.
b Annuaire Historique ponr l'annee, 1837. Publie par la Societe de l'Histoire de France.

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