578Re: tiompan again
- Jan 26, 2007Dear Keith
Not Galpin, at least the 4th edition which is the one I have to hand,
he mentions the 'Black Forest' instrument which he says is preserved
in the Ethnographical Museum at Berlin, but goes on to say
that 'owing to its great age, strings, pegs and bridge had all
perished', although he does give an illustration of an exact
facsimile with strings, pegs and bridge added'.
It is also mentioned by Curt Sachs in his History of Musical
Instruments but nothing about metal strings, although he does have a
confusing comment a few pages before about 'the older harp had wire
strings' which read carefully relates to the paragraph before
re 'Irish minstrels swarming over Europe' (swarming, sounds rather
like bees, but I thought they were the Welsh instrument).
Although I raised the question regarding the tiompan and the
Anglo/Norman/Welsh harps in Ireland I was not sure that this site was
the one to discuss them, but if we are heading down that route, then
the Bowed instrument from probably a circa 12th cent carving at
Church Island, Lough Currane( illustrated in the Journal of the Royal
Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 5th series vol XVIII, 1908) would
also come into the frame.
Strangely, one instrument which tends not to be mentioned or pictured
but which judging from the quantities being found everywhere in the
UK must have been one of the most popular was the jews or jaws harp.
It is one of the dificulties of getting a balanced picture, or
assessing the accuracy of the contemporary descriptions. Names easily
turned into popular 'generic' forms. the best series of examples that
comes to mind is a Scottish book printed in 1631 ( the only copy of
which is now in the Huntington Library, California) which has a
picture of a harp with the legend Orpheus Fiddle. And that from an
Aberdeen printer who had already printed several editions of the
psalms of David the harper.
Jump forward to 1905 when FJ Biggar was trying to find details of the
harper Hempson, and traced someone who had known the 'grandchild of
the blind fidiler', where it was explaned that the term 'fidiler' in
that part of the West of Ireland meant anyone who earned their living
by playing a musical instrument.
And the final jump to a contemporary harper who having lugged her
instrument onto an Edinburgh bus a few years back was then exorted by
one of the other passengers to 'gie us a tune on yer fiddle'.
As a result I now tend to approach all the source material with
considerable caution being convinced that there is still more to find
and it may still be too early to come to conclusions. After all, the
question of how many angels fit on the end of a pin at times seems
easier to solve than some of these discussions. ( and the answer,
like the answer to the question in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
is 42, it would have been 43 but the devil had already fallen)
--- In clairseach@..., "ckeithcollins"
> Thanks Alasdair and Keith S for your input. Keith, I have in fact
> read the Buckley paper. A good article, although I rather wish
> she'd included the images she mentions. They're to be found
> elsewhere, but not easily. The "stone images" pages on Simon's
> site, and clarsach.net, are very convenient.
> I recently stumbled on a web page for an instrument who builds
> rotes. One of the rotes he builds is based on an original from a
> 7th century warrior's grave in the Black Forest. The page states
> that this "Germanic" rote was strung with wire, and he specifically
> mentions bronze (his Sutton Hoo and Prittlewell rotes are strung
> with gut). He cites "an old English book describing the history of
> stringed instruments"; maybe he means the Galpin book "Old English
> Instruments of Music"?
> Does this ring any bells out there? Lyres/rotes on the continent
> strung with metal? I'm working from the possibility that early
> references to tiompan indicate a plucked metal-strung lyre (and
> later a bowed lyre). If lyres were (occasionally?) wire-strung on
> the continent, then does that mean that a wire-strung lyre-like
> tiompan in the Isles wasn't such an anomaly? I was under the
> impression that when the medieval writers mention metal strings it
> is because they are unusual. Or perhaps this "warrior" was from
> across the Channel... makes one wonder what else was in that
> burial. I'll have to do some digging!
> Keith Collins
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