Articles

Hurdy Gurdy History: History Of The Hurdy Gurdy

Posted by Eric Azumi on

by Astra Thor  WHAT IS A HURDY GURDY? The hurdy gurdy, known in France as the vielle a roue or vielle for short, is an ancient instrument which is undergoing a modern renaissance in Europe and America. First, to dispel a popular misconception: the hurdy gurdy was not played by the organ grinder or his monkey. They used a large music box operated by a crank. Today's hurdy gurdy is roughly the same as those built in the middle ages. It has three to six strings which are caused to vibrate by a resined wheel turned by a crank. Melody...

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Transverse Flutes: An Overview

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Transverse Flutes: An Overview by David Brown   One of the most ancient and widespread of musical instruments is the flute. Almost every culture on Earth has some sort of flute; some like the end-blown reed flute ney or nai of the Middle East date back to the Ancient World, thousands of years BC. Some, like the instrument most people think of when the word flute is mentioned, the modern metal flute with many keys, can be traced to a specific place and in this case even to one man, Theobald Boehm, who developed it in the late 1840's. As...

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Chinese Flutes

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Chinese Flutes by David Brown   The Chinese have an ancient tradition of making and playing bamboo flutes. Although ocarina like vessel flutes, panpipes, and endblown flutes have been used extensively in China, the most common type of flute found in the Middle Kingdom is the transverse flute with what is known in the West as "simple system" fingering, with six fingerholes. Chinese flutes have also been made of other materials than bamboo, including jade, ivory, metal, and bone, but bamboo is by far the most typical. Many of the flutes called Dizi (Ti in the older transliteration), like the...

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Celtic Harp History: The Story Of The Celtic Harp

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Celtic Harps by Astra Thor   It is said the music heard in heaven is the golden sound of harps. Today the harp has an aura of mystery because the average person has never seen a real pedal harp except at the symphony and has never heard of an Irish harp. When I came to work for Lark In The Morning, my knowledge of music was superficial but included one semester of pedal harp. My first sight of the Irish harp occurred at Lark In The Morning. Fascinated with all the varieties of small harp, I learned to play a...

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The Mandocello

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The Mandocello by David Brown   Around the turn of the century the mandolin orchestra was one of the most popular musical ensembles particularly among amateur performers in urban areas. Although mandolins were already a popular instrument in America the late 1800's saw a meteoric rise in public appeal of this bowl-back Italian import. Colleges formed mandolin societies, clubs devoted to the instrument sprang up in residential neighborhoods, and until WW1 the mandolin was quite in fashion. These were based on the earlier banjo clubs, and indeed the mandolin had long eclipsed the banjo in popularity. In fact, the instrument...

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