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 :)
- Pre-music* and the devil’s interval (ladonasmusicstudio.com)