Sacbuts and serpents and zinks – oh my!

If you have to teach early music history, Musica Antiqua of Iowa State University has a great website with photos, descriptions and sound bytes of the medieval instruments. This has been online since 1996 – an eternity in the internet age. Some of these instruments you have to love just for the names: crumhorn, lizard, rackett (in addition to the names in the title). Even if you never teach it or even understand it, some of it is good for a laugh (like the bladder pipe at left – named literally).

Knowing and understanding the history is important in understanding where we are at now – but that doesn’t mean we have to heartily embrace it all. There is some gorgeous Renaissance choral music that had to be divinely inspired, but most of the instrumental stuff – let’s just say it would never find its way onto my short list for the desert island conundrum.

As for the period costumes – well, I guess some people are into that. Medieval and Renaissance banquets and fairs seem to be happening in some circles – but I would have a hard time not play-acting a character from Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings at such a function :)

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About LaDona's Music Studio

Musician, pianist, teacher, blogger.
This entry was posted in Music History, Performance and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sacbuts and serpents and zinks – oh my!

  1. Thanks for the link to the University of Iowa site. It’s interesting and has links to lots of other good stuff. (didn’t need a password after all.) When I was doing my degree I found the early music the most interesting of the history courses. There were very few recordings at the time so the prof formed a group of student singers and instrumentalists to perform so we could really get into the style of the music. I only sang but other students learned to play some renaissance instruments for authenticity. The most music fun I ever had was as a member of the Queen’s Collegium Musicum. Many lovely madrigals and a Mystery Play I remember. I loved it!

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