Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fjordman: The Invention of the Violin and the Spanish Guitar

Fjordman’s latest essay has been posted at Vlad Tepes. Some excerpts are below:

In addition to the organ, which has ancient roots, other musical instruments with a keyboard became popular during the Renaissance, prior to the invention of the piano. The clavichord is a stringed keyboard instrument, normally rectangular in shape with a decorated case. It was developed from the medieval monochord and was popular from late medieval times through the Baroque Age, and still has its share of enthusiasts today. However, it is a very soft and quiet musical instrument by modern standards. The harpsichord, another widely used keyboard instrument, probably first appeared during the 1400s, possibly in the Low Countries. The virginal was another, smaller member of the harpsichord family. In the Renaissance these keyboard instruments did not have legs or a stand, but were simply set upon a table.

The pear-shaped plucked string instrument known as the lute was also very popular. It probably has an Eastern or Asian origin, historically. Most early string instruments were plucked. Bowed string instruments apparently didn’t become common until the Middle Ages. Their origin is uncertain, although quite a few historians suspect it to be found among the horse-riding nomads of Central Asia, from where it may have spread to China and to Europe via the Middle East. The Byzantine lyra probably influenced instruments in medieval Europe. It is the rough equivalent of bowed string instruments such as the rab?b in the Islamic world.
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In Spain, two new fretted string instruments related to the lute emerged in late medieval times and spread around the Western world. These were the vihuela (Spanish guitar) and the viol. Our modern, classical guitar is a direct descendant of the vihuela. Because it was plucked it was often called vihuela de mano (hand guitar). Related to it was a Spanish instrument called the vihuela de arco (bowed guitar), better known as the viol. The viol was developed in Spain in the late 1400s. It had six strings and was fretted and tuned like the lute and vihuela, but it was bowed, not plucked. It came in different sizes and was played with the instrument resting on the lap and legs. It is often called by its Italian name viola da gamba (leg viol). Having entered Italy from Spain, it quickly spread from there throughout Western Europe.

Read the rest at Vlad Tepes.

8 comments:

Natalie said...

Fjordman, you make my life. This is quite interesting stuff--I play violin, so it's right up my alley.

Fjordman said...

I'm glad you like it. I will write more about polyphony and Western musical scales later.

Robin Shadowes said...

Will you continue up to the modern non-acoustic instruments? They are all western inventions except for the Theremin which is an russian invention.

Gary Rumain said...

Robin, you don't consider Russia to be part of the West?

Robin Shadowes said...

Nope, Russia has been the enemy of Sweden and Finland for centuries. Just because USSR collapsed doesn't mean we can sit back and relax. Putin is a dangerous and vicious man. Not to mention ruthless. Having to choose between being assimilated either by russians or the muz is like to choose between two types of cancer. Both the muz and the ruz are guilty of having commited genocide.

Natalie said...

Oh my, the infamous Russia argument has surfaced yet again. The Baron probably would not want me to fuel it, but I really cannot resist.

Russia is not an enemy anymore. It is a completely different country from the Soviet Union. Putin and Medvedev are both extremely intelligent leaders who consistently act in their own country's best interests, which is the first and foremost duty of a leader.

Being assimilated by Russians would not be nearly as bad as being assimilated by Muslims. After all, the Russians have produced some of the finest culture in the world--one needs only to look at their literature, their art, and their music to see this.

I really wish people would stop seeing Russia as the enemy--they're not. They actually have a lot in common with us, more than most people would care to admit.

Robin Shadowes said...

Still I don't want to be assimilated neither by ruz, muz or Borgs for that matter. I don't think the balts where too happy being soviets for many decades either. The russians in the baltic states, now a minority in the free states does not seem too willing to become assimilated or even learn their languages. I'm sure the russian occupants wouldn't mind leaving our rune stones and such alone or rather that who is not too large they would ship back to the motherland as warbooty. The mahoundians would of course not give a damn about our pre-muslim culture and gladly blow it all up shouting allahu akhbar. Aside from all that I'm very concerned about Putin and his pipeline project. I believe the risk for him taking our largest island Gotland can not be exaggerated. I have a feeling it will not be swedish property for much longer. And why stop with that? Why not take it all? There's not much we can do to stop him. Or the muz for that matter if they want to take power. We can only defend an airport and the government for a limite time. The rest of my country is ripe for the taking.

rebelliousvanilla said...

Natalie, the Russians aren't really harmless. The only reason why they don't have expansionist desires is their inability to pursue them - it's not like they stopped trying to influence the former USSR bloc countries, including my own or Moldova's(since I know of these two countries best).

The way I see it, until they return every single piece of the treasury they stole from my country in WW1, they are my enemy. We even have jokes about that that I won't enumerate here. Obviously, I will take the Russians over the Muslims though.