Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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THE INVENTION ATTRIBUTED TO AN ENGLISHMAN.                     763
appeals to the proofs collected by Roquefort to establish the fact that in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries vielle signified an instrument of the violin kind, and quotes a song by Colin Muset, a minstrel of the thirteenth century, who tells of his going to a lady in the meadow to sing to her with " vielle et I'archet." (Biographie Uni-verselle des llusiciens, vi. 526.) The ancient hurdy-gurdy (in Latin, organistrum) had a handle to turn a wheel, but no bow. M. Fetis also states that " the author of an anonymous treatise on musical instruments, to which it appears impossible to affix a later date than the thirteenth century," attributes the invention of the " viole a quatre cordes " to Albinus, and gives the tuning of the instrument, as well as a very imperfect drawing. ■ The tuning was by fourths, the lowest note being the A below tenor 0, then rising to D, G, and treble C. The title of this treatise is " De diversis monochordis, tetrachordis, pentachordis, exachordis, eptachordis, octochordis, tyc, ex quibus diversa formantur instrumenta musicee, cumfiguris instrumentorum." It is included in a manuscript collection of works on music, in the library of the University of Ghent, No. 171.
M. Fetis asks " who was this Albinus ?" There can be very little doubt that the Albinus, to whom the invention is attributed, was Alcuin, who died in 804.* Ha assumed the name of Flaccus Albinus in his writings, it being the fashion at the Court of Charlemagne for scholars to take literary names and surnames. Alcuin first met Charlemagne at Parma on his return from Rome in 781, and finally quitted England for the Court of Charlemagne in 792, taking with him a number of other English ecclesiastics. Among his works was a treatise on the liberal arts; but of this only Grammar, Rhetoric, and the opening of Logic, are extant. The portion containing Music, Arithmetic, Geometry, and Astronomy, is supposed to be lost. Albinus composed most of his writings at Tours, and, when he founded the monastic school there (which produced so many remarkable scholars in the following age), he sent a mission to England to procure books for its library. It was probably through his treatise, De Artibus liberalibus, that Albinns obtained the credit of the invention.
From viele, the transition was easy to vielle, viola, viole, and viol; but, hitherto, the use of these words has not been traced abroad before the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Violin is a diminutive of later date, probably not earlier than the sixteenth century. Galilei, who wrote on ancient and modern music in 1582, speaks of the oiola da braccio, of the viola da gamba, and of the violone (viol for the arm, viol for the legs, and the great baBs viol), but does not mention the violino. It could not, therefore, have taken its proper rank in Italy at that time. He says the viola da braccio was called, " not many years before," lira. We had violins (by name) on the English stage in 1561 (see the play of Gorboduc, or Ferrex and Porrex), and they were included in Queen Elizabeth's band in the same year. In 1561, the violin-players in the Royal band cost 230 6s. 8d. (MSS. Lansdowne, No. 5), and in 1571, they received 325 15s. (MSS. Cotton, Vesp., c. xiv.)
In Monteverde's opera, Furydice (1607), where each character is accompanied by different instruments, Hope sings to two violini piccoli alia Francese. This is the first use that has been traced to the Italian stage; nevertheless, the Italians soon became famous for making the best instruments, not only from their skill as workmen, but also from being favored by their climate in not requiring so much glue, and in the facility for obtaining the best and dryest wood.
There was another Albinus (Albin, Abbot of Canter- but although Bede styles him *'vir per omnia d'.ctlsii-l>ury), who died in 732. He was also an Englishman, and mus," we have no record of his having written upon tede's principal assistant in his Ecclesiastical History; music, nor was he, probably, much known out of England.







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