Maranella Medieval Minstrels - Instruments

Instruments We Already Have

Recorders

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Recorder
Lute

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lute
Bagpipes

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Bagpipes
Harp

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Harp

Shawm


Shawm

Renaissance Shawm by Eric Moulder

The shawm was brought back from the middle east by the returning crusaders in the 12th century. Because it has a conical bore that widens considerably the shawm is very loud and is usually thought of as an outdoor instrument.

Towards the end of the 1600s the shawm developed into what was to become our modern oboe and, gradually, the older instrument fell out of favour.

This is the sopranino (i.e. small) shawm but don't be fooled - it is seriously loud and can easily cut through all the other instruments even when we're all going full belt

Our shawm was made by internationally renowned renaissance woodwind maker Eric Moulder at his workshop in Leek, Staffordshire

Rebec

Rebec

Alto rebec from The Early Music Shop - info from their website:

"The EMS alto rebec is an excellent 3 string instrument based on several historic patterns. The body is carved from a single block of wood, there is no soundpost and it has a thin, nasal, penetrating tone"

Percussion

Nakers

Nakers, frame drums, snare drums, tambour/tabor, timbrels, bells - medieval music just wouldn't work without lots of percussion!

Nakers (pronounced to rhyme with hackers not bakers - I kid you not!!) usually come in pairs and are usually strapped around the player's waist. They are small, metal domes covered in skin - usually goatskin - and they are played with the hands or using beaters. Nakers are Arabic in origin and are the ancesters of our modern orchestral timpani or kettledrums.  Ours are made from brass and calf skin with rosewood beaters

Gemshorn

Gemshorn

The gemshorn was in use in the 15th Century.  Examples have been found in Italy, Germany and Hungary including one intact instrument that dates to no later than 1450, as it was found buried beneath the foundations of a house built at that time.

The early history of the instrument is not well known, but the oldest know illustration of one in a reference work is in Musica Getutscht (1511) by Sebastian Verdung.  A skeletal figure is seen holding one in a Danse Macabre illustration dated to 1485

Vielle

Vielle

Lucille says "Recently I went to Krakov in Poland to collect my beautiful handmade 5 String Medieval Violin or Vielle which has been made for me by the very talented Matthew Farley of Early Music Instruments.  ...  The woods are Fiddleback sycamore, Poplar and Spruce with a light Amber stain, Gut Strings and a Walnut Wedge.  The sound is deep and sonorous and conjures up the sounds that  accompanied Medieval Feasting in the  Great Halls of the gentry hundreds of years ago when these instruments were in their heyday. The bow is horsehair tensioned by a leather strap and wooden bead, held in place by a little Rosin on the stick

What a beautiful work of art, and it makes music too!"

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Copyright © 2016 Maranella      Last Updated on: 15 March 2016