Musical Instruments Historic, Rare and Unique
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Historic, Rare and Unique
THE SELECTION, INTRODUCTION AND DESCRIPTIVE NOTES
A.J. HIPKINS, F.S.A. Lond.
AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLE "PIANOFORTE" IN THE ENCYCLOP∆DIA BRITANNICA
A SERIES OF FORTY-EIGHT PLATES IN COLOURS
DRAWN BY WILLIAM GIBB
A. AND C. BLACK, LTD.
4, 5 AND 6 SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W.1
First published in 1888.
Printed in Great Britain
|BURGMOTE HORNS||Plate I.|
|QUEEN MARY'S HARP||II.|
|THE LAMONT HARP||III.|
|CORNEMUSE. CALABRIAN BAGPIPE. MUSETTE||IV.|
|CLAVICYTHERIUM OR UPRIGHT SPINET||VI.|
|QUEEN ELIZABETH'S VIRGINAL||VIII.|
|QUEEN ELIZABETH'S LUTE||IX.|
|THE RIZZIO GUITAR||X.|
|PORTABLE ORGAN AND BIBLE REGAL||XIII.|
|VIOLA DA GAMBA||XIX.|
|DOUBLE SPINET OR VIRGINAL||XX.-vi-|
|QUINTERNA AND MANDOLINE||XXIII.|
|WELSH CRWTH. RUSSIAN BALALńIKA||XXIV.|
|VIOLIN—THE HELLIER STRADIVARIUS, and two old Bows noted for the Fluting||XXV.|
|VIOLINS—THE ALARD STRADIVARIUS, THE KING JOSEPH GUARNERIUS DEL GESŔ||XXVI.|
|CETERA, BY ANTONIUS STRADIVARIUS||XXVIII.|
|GUITAR, BY ANTONIUS STRADIVARIUS||XXIX.|
|BELL HARP AND HURDY-GURDY||XXX.|
|THE EMPRESS HARPSICHORD||XXXIII.|
|STATE TRUMPET AND KETTLEDRUM||XXXV.|
|CAVALRY BUGLE. CAVALRY TRUMPET. TRUMPETS||XXXVI.|
|LITUUS AND BUCCINA. CORNET. TRUMPETS||XXXVII.|
|TWO DOUBLE FLAGEOLETS, A GERMAN FLUTE, AND TWO FLŘTES DOUCES||XXXVIII.|
|DOLCIANO. OBOE. BASSOON. OBOE DA CACCIA. BASSET HORN||XXXIX.|
|SITŃRS AND VÕNA||XL.|
|SAW DUANG AND BOW. SAW TAI AND BOW. SAW OO AND BOW. KLUI. PEE||XLII.|
|RANAT EK. KHONG YAI. TA'KHAY||XLIII.|
|HU-CH'IN AND BOW. SH NG. SAN-HSIEN. P'I-P'A||XLIV.|
|CHINESE TI-TZU, SO-NA, YUEH-CH'IN. JAPANESE HIJI-RIKI. CHINESE LA-PA||XLV.|
|SIAMISEN, KOKIU, BIWA||XLVII.|
|MARIMBA OF SOUTH AFRICA||XLVIII.|
The Woodcuts at the head of this page (from the BritishMuseum) represent Sir Michael Mercator,
of Venloo, Musical Instrument Maker to King Henry VIII.
IT is claimed for this book, intended to illustrate rare historicaland beautiful Musical Instruments, that it is unique. Classical,Mediśval, Japanese, and other varieties of Decorative Art,Weapons, and Costumes, have found worthy illustration and adequatedescription, but hitherto no attempt has been made to representin a like manner the grace and external charm of fine lutes andharps, of viols, virginals, and other instruments. Engravings havebeen produced, in historical or technical works; but the greaternumber of these are mere repetitions continued from one to theother, and have no specially śsthetic interest. Beauty of form andfitness of decoration demand more than the commonplace homage paidto simple use, and while we should never lose sight of the purposeof a musical instrument, its capacity to produce agreeable andvarious sounds, we can take advantage of its form and material, and,making it lovely to look upon, give pleasure to the eye as well asthe ear. It is hardly necessary to say that the love of adornmentor ornament is an attribute of the human race. It is to be foundeverywhere and in every epoch when life is, for the time being,safe and the means of existence secure. Some favourite manner ofdecoration is the characteristic stamp of a people, a period, ora country. The earliest monuments we can point to that representmusical instruments, show a tendency to adorn them or to placethem with decorative surroundings. The Egyptians, the Assyrians,the ancient Greeks supply a record that has been continued by thePersians and Saracens, in the Gothic age and the Renaissance, alwaysrepeating, as it were, in an ineffaceable script, the precept thatthe hand should minister to the gratification of the eye, andsatisfy it by alternating excitement with repose. And so it was,until the marvellous mechanical advance in the present century hasnot only caused us to forget, by its overwhelming power, what ourpredecessors so steadfastly continued, but-viii- has induced us to regardthe ugly as sufficient if the mere practical end is served. By thuschilling the appreciation and pursuit of decorative invention, thatfaculty has been numbed for the time being, and there is danger ofits being lost altogether. It may be answered that real artisticwork is occasionally done, and there are examples of it to befound in musical instruments; a good organ case is sometimes made,sometimes a fine decoration for a piano case. If there is any hopeof an awakening of the love for musical instruments that findsexpression in their adornment, its promise lies in the beautifuldesigns that have been, of late years, so meritoriously carried outfor pianos—the invention of Mr. Alma Tadema, Mr. Burne Jones, Mr.Fox, and Miss Kate Faulkner. Good decoration need not be a privilegeof the rich; the old Antwerp clavecin-makers, who were all membersof the guild of St. Luke, the artists' guild, knew how to worthilydecorate their instruments at little cost, as may be seen in theRuckers Virginal, Plate XVIII. They painted their sound-boards withappropriate ornamentation, and used bright colour to heighten theeffect of their instruments when open. The Italians went even fartherin richer details, and beautified other stringed instruments besidesthose with key-boards. The persistence of noble traditions is shownin the exquisite ornament of the Siamese instruments (Plates XLII.and XLIII.) and of the Japanese Koto (Plate XLVI.). It would begrievous if this Eastern inheritance were lost through the engraftingof Western ideas and reception of our material civilisation. Theincentive to all such work is the pleasure found in it, and withoutpleasure in work the life of the worker is aimless and sad.
In describing musical instruments we can refer to no beginnings;those that may be discerned dimly in the glimmering of the historicdawn present a certain completeness that marks an intellectualadvance already accomplished. The well-known Egyptian Nefer, aspade-like guitar, or rather tamboura, invited by its long neckthe stopping of various notes upon its strings. As early as theThird Dynasty, it had already been so long in use as to have becomeincorporated in the pictorial language of the Hieroglyphics, in whichits representation presented the concept or symbol of the-ix- attributegood. This stringed instrument, thus complex in its playing, musthave been already grey with age when it was cut in stone in themonument of the beautiful Princess Nefer-t, now in the museum atBulaq. We cannot conjecture when it was discovered that more tonesthan one could be got from a single string by taking advantage ofthe expedient of a long neck or finger-board, or from a single pipeby boring lateral holes in it, and closing those holes to producedifferent notes with the fingers. Even these remote inventions,certainly prehistoric, seem to require that there should be yet olderinventions—those which placed pipes or strings of different lengths,or strings of the same length but of different thicknesses andtension, side by side, as in the syrinx or Pan's pipes, or the harpand lyre.
The late Carl Engel, Music of the Most Ancient Nations (London,1864), has formed a kind of Development theory for musicalinstruments, giving the earliest place to the drum, and the latestto the stringed instruments; those of the latter with key-boardshaving been invented almost in our own time. This theory has latelybeen reconstructed upon a more scientific basis by Mr. Rowbotham(History of Music, vol. i., London, 1885). The drum and tambourine,and other clashing and mere time-marking instruments, as sistrums,cymbals, castagnettes, and triangles, are on the limit of musicalsound and noise, inclining, for the most part, to the latter. Thedrum is widely used in religious services in different parts of theworld, and to play the sistrum was in ancient Egypt the prerogativeof a high order of priesthood. The various Buddhist gongs resemblethe kettledrums in this respect, that they have a more definablemusical element in them, and we find these sonorous metal instrumentswidely used in China and the Indo-Chinese countries, in Java, and theIndian Archipelago. The Indian drums (Plate XLI.), according to thetheory just mentioned, should be aboriginal, but the most ancient,the M'ridang, is attributed to the god S'iva, and is therefore Aryan.Her Majesty the Queen's State Kettledrum (Plate XXXV.) here adornedwith a richly embroidered silk banneret, serves to show the highestpoint the drum has yet attained in estimation and use. On a muchhigher-x- level is that arrangement of wooden or metal bars in thoseinstruments classed generally as Harmonicons, which are especially athome in Java, Siam, and Burma, and are known to be used from the Hillcountry of India in the one direction, to Africa in the other. Thebeautiful Siamese Ranat and Khong (Plate XLIII.) and the Zulu Marimba(Plate XLVIII.) are examples of this wide distribution, and in thelatter the gourd resonators attached to the bars show the simplestform of sound reinforcers, which, perfected in various Easterninstruments, such as the Indian VŪnas and SitŠrs (Plate XL.) has inEurope attained its crowning artistic development in the beautifulpear-shaped Resonance bodies of the Lute and Mandoline. We findalso varieties of this beautiful form in the Georgian and Turcomantambouras, the Colascione of Southern Italy and similar instruments,the migrations of which may here and there be traced along thelines of religious movements, as in Central Asia and Hindostan,in China, the Corea, and Japan. For instance, the shorter-neckedlutes and guitars, the rebec, rebab, and other precursors of theviols and violins, which, borrowed from the Arabic population ofthe Holy Land, actually came to Europe upon the reflex wave of theCrusades. The Saracenic occupation of Spain had, however, its sharein the transmission of these instruments, and of a taste for thepizzicato, and also of an elaboration of vocal and instrumentalornament, which has remained in the popular airs and dances ofthat country, and, an important characteristic of the music of theTroubadours and TrouvŤres, has left its mark upon our modern musiceverywhere. The Arab blood in Spain may have tended to preserve theuse of the guitar as a national instrument in that country. A Guitar(Plate XXIX.) and a Cetera (Plate XXVIII.) made by Stradivarius,as he usually signed his name, are of especial interest as showingthat he was not above making more simple instruments than violins.The beautiful tortoiseshell Guitar (Plate X.) has a tradition thatconnects it with Mary of Scots and the unfortunate Rizzio. In allthese guitar and lute instruments, the roses in the sound-boards showa wealth of invention in design that is truly astonishing. A work ofthis kind would not be without interest if it were devoted only tothese roses, and to those of spinets and-xi- harpsichords. Guitars haveflat backs, and lutes shell or pear-shaped resonance bodies, and theformer are again divided into the guitar proper with catgut strings,and cithers with wire strings necessitating the employment of aplectrum. The Cetera is the Italian name of the cither, and the onedrawn in Plate XIV. is of remarkable, although not unusual, beauty.The cither to which the name of Queen Elizabeth is traditionallyattached, belongs to the English family of the Pandore, Orpheoreon,and Penorcon; it is not exactly one of these instruments, but it mostnearly resembles the last named. As a fine specimen of English work,in no way ceding to the Italian, this beautiful instrument, commonlyknown as Queen Elizabeth's Lute (Plate IX.), cannot be too highlyextolled. The description accompanying this drawing, and in factthe descriptions of all the drawings, must be referred to for thosespecial particulars that are more conveniently given separately.The Lute (Plate XV.) is one of the finest existing examples of itskind. It bears the label of Vvendelio Venere, Padua, dated 1600,and marks the culmination of that once most