Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

Ancient Songs, Ballads, & Dance Tunes, Sheet Music & Lyrics - online book

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Easter Hymns



Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
762
APPENDIX.
have been played with a bow, are the crowd and fiddle. Having made but slight search, I have not found any drawing of the crowd or cruth of so early a date as the .above fiddle, yet the crowd was in all probability the precursor of the fiddle. The former is mentioned as an English instrument by Venantius, an Italian poet, who wrote in the year 5G6, and about 570. In his elegiac poem to Loup, Due de Cham­pagne, he thus addresses him:—
" Romamisque lyra plaudat tibi, Barbaras harpa, Grsecus achilliaca, chrotta Britanna canat."
Venantii Fortunati Poemata, edit. 1617, 4to., p. 169.
" Let the Roman applaud thee with the lyre, the Barbarian with the harp, the Greek with the cithara (?), let tlie British crowd sing." The last phrase is particularly expressive, as the crowd is the only instrument of those above named, that could sus­tain its tone. There are some differences of opinion as to the origin of the word. Crowd, according to Spelman, is " crotta, fidicula Britannica." Although Skinner derives it from the Anglo-Saxon word, cruth, which signifies a crowd in the sense of a multitude, Nares says, " certainly from the Welsh crwth." That instrument remained in use in Wales within the last century. An engraving of the modern crwth will be seen in Jones's Welsh Bards, i. 89 ; the ancient one was smaller, and had but three instead of six strings. There were apertures in both to admit the left hand of the player through the back, so as to enable him to press the strings down upon the finger-board (for the distinguishing feature of the crwth was that it had no neck); yet the ancient differed from the modern in shape. The former, from and after the eleventh century, was not unlike the body (only) of a very long and narrow-formed Spanish guitar.
The fiddle retained its Anglo-Saxon name of Jithele, in England, for at least a hundred and fifty years after the Norman conquest (see, for instance, Layamon's romance of Brut) ; but the Normans, not approving the pronunciation of the " th " (which-is represented by a single letter, B, in Anglo-Saxon), omitted it, and softened the remaining letters, fiele, into viele. The viele is included in the following descrip­tion of minstrelsy from the Roman de Brut, a metrical chronicle of English history, by Wace, a poet who was in great favour with our Henry II. Wace was born in Jersey, but educated in Normandy. Tne passage is here given in two different dialects, the one being sometimes a guide to the meaning of the other:—
" Mult ot a la cort jugleors,                        " Mult i aveit a la curt jugleurs,
Chante'ors, estrumente'ors;                          Chanteurs, estrumenturs ;
Mult poi'ssi6s oir chan9<>ns,                         Mult puissez oir chancons,
Rotruanges et noviax sons.                         Rotuenges e novels sons.
Vieleures, lais et notes,                               Lais de vieles, lais de rotes,
Lais de vieles, lais de rotes ;                         Vielers lais de notes ;
Lais de harpe et de fretiax ;                        Lais de harpe, lais de frestelles ;
Lyre, tympres et chalemiax,                       Lyres, cympes, chalemeles,
Symphonies, psaltfirions,                             Symphonies, psalterions,
Monacordes, cymbes, chorons.                    Monacordes, cymbes, corons.
Asez i ot tresgit£ors,                                  Assez i out tregeteurs,
Joeresses et joSors ;                                    Joeresses et jugleurs;
Li un dient contes et fables,                        Li un dient contes e fables," &c.
Aliquant demandent dez et tables."                        (MSS. Cotton Vitellius, A. x.)
The instrument which Savoyard boys play about the streets of London (and here called hurdy-gurdy), is now known in France by the name of vielle. However, M. F6tis







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