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Medieval Music

  • Date Submitted: 05/05/2011 12:48 AM
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Medieval Music
  1) In medieval times there were two main types of musical instruments, Indoor instruments which were quiet and Outdoor instruments which were loud. Indoor instruments like the recorder and psaltery were used to entertain small groups of people indoors e.g. while they were eating. Outdoor instruments like the bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy were used for playing outdoors to larger groups because they were to loud to be played indoors.
Indoor Instruments  
Recorder- This was a very popular instrument in Medieval Times. All members of the recorder group were used: bass, tenor, treble, descant and soprano. Sometimes they played solos (by themselves) and sometimes they played consort (as a group).

Psaltery- This was a box-like instrument with strings stretched across it. It was
plucked with a plectrum. It was used to accompany solo songs.

Harp- This is a string instrument which can be played while on your lap or on the ground. It was very popular during medieval times.

Lute- This was a stringed instrument that was sort of like an early small guitar. It is played the same way and has the same basic structure.

Vielle- This is a European bowed stringed instrument used in the medieval period, similar to a modern violin but with a longer and deeper body, five (rather than four) strings, and a leaf-shaped peg box with frontal tuning pegs.

Gemshorn- This is an instrument that is made out of an ox or chamois horn and is played like a flute.

Outdoors instruments
Bagpipes- These are loud and so were played outdoors. Air is blown into a bag that is usually made out of animal skin. The bag was squeezed when the air was needed in the pipes, allowing the piper to breathe when he wanted. The pipe that he breathed into was called a mouthpiece and the one he fingered was called the chanter.

Hurdy-Gurdy- This mechanical instrument looked similar to a violin but was placed on the knee. A wheel was turned and its rim touched the strings....


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