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Thread: What is this instrument?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jobis's Avatar
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    Default What is this instrument?

    I can't work out what instrument is being used here, am I mad?

    It sounds like a hurdy gurdy or something of that sort; it has a very high, thin, bowed sound to it, and it plays chords. Best example is from this:

    http://tv.nrk.no/serie/poppeas-kroning#t=7m42s

    7:42 if the link doesn't work properly.

    I'm pretty sure i've heard it a lot in renaissance music but it's identity just escapes me.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Senior Member dgee's Avatar
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    No idea sorry - but loving the link and fully intend to watch in due course!!!

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    Senior Member Jobis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgee View Post
    No idea sorry - but loving the link and fully intend to watch in due course!!!
    Yeah its a favourite of mine, doesn't top the Harnoncourt version imo, but it has many other things going for it!
    Last edited by Jobis; Sep-25-2014 at 22:21.

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    Doesn't sound to me like a hurdy-gurdy, and in any case that would be unlikely instrumentation for Monteverdi's operas. I can't pick out the sound of the instrument from the sound of the voices too well, but I believe that to be some kind of viol, also known as viola da gamba (I refuse to follow the fashion for calling them "gambas") which is a bowed, fretted, stringed instrument of varying size (from treble to contrabass), capable of playing chords, which is superficially similar to the violin family but in fact more closely related organologically to the guitar and lute family. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Rg_Tt6CIz4

    Given the repertoire and the period the particular instrument used here could also be one of the Italian liras, such as a lirone (lira da gamba), a chordal instrument somewhat similar to the viol, much used in Italy at that time, especially for accompanying vocal music; or its smaller cousin, the lira da braccio. These are even rarer than the viol today (which is why I would be inclined to assume it to be a viol before anything else), but a lira might well have been used if the producers wished for historical "authenticity", as it was probably the instrument that Monteverdi himself would have expected in this role. It actually sounds even more like a lira than a viol to me, by the way, so I wouldn't be surprised if that's what it turned out to be. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KUXTxg7sbc

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jobis View Post
    Yeah its a favourite of mine, doesn't top the Harnoncourt version imo, but it has many other things going for it!

    Hey, done at all well in any number of ways it can be rendered, it is a tremendous piece / opera. The chorus, Non morir, Seneca is still one of the most riveting and breathtaking bits of writing one could hope to hear, and it wows me upon each subsequent hearing almost as much as it did the first time I heard it. The lullaby sung to Poppea by her nurse, Arnalta, is also deeply moving.
    (Well, I am a pretty zealous Monteverdi fan.)

    Too, liking very much hearing this. Thank you so much.
    Last edited by PetrB; Sep-28-2014 at 03:30.

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    Senior Member Jobis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orpheus View Post
    Doesn't sound to me like a hurdy-gurdy, and in any case that would be unlikely instrumentation for Monteverdi's operas. I can't pick out the sound of the instrument from the sound of the voices too well, but I believe that to be some kind of viol, also known as viola da gamba (I refuse to follow the fashion for calling them "gambas") which is a bowed, fretted, stringed instrument of varying size (from treble to contrabass), capable of playing chords, which is superficially similar to the violin family but in fact more closely related organologically to the guitar and lute family. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Rg_Tt6CIz4

    Given the repertoire and the period the particular instrument used here could also be one of the Italian liras, such as a lirone (lira da gamba), a chordal instrument somewhat similar to the viol, much used in Italy at that time, especially for accompanying vocal music; or its smaller cousin, the lira da braccio. These are even rarer than the viol today (which is why I would be inclined to assume it to be a viol before anything else), but a lira might well have been used if the producers wished for historical "authenticity", as it was probably the instrument that Monteverdi himself would have expected in this role. It actually sounds even more like a lira than a viol to me, by the way, so I wouldn't be surprised if that's what it turned out to be. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KUXTxg7sbc
    Thank you very, very much! I considered it being the viola da gamba but the tone sounded too thin for that (to me at least), the lira sounds like a very good bet. This has been really helpful info, so once again cheers


    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    Hey, done at all well in any number of ways it can be rendered, it is a tremendous piece / opera. The chorus, Non morir, Seneca is still one of the most riveting and breathtaking bits of writing one could hope to hear, and it wows me upon each subsequent hearing almost as much as it did the first time I heard it. The lullaby sung to Poppea by her nurse, Arnalta, is also deeply moving.
    (Well, I am a pretty zealous Monteverdi fan.)

    Too, liking very much hearing this. Thank you so much.
    Those are some really spellbinding moments in all of opera, which puts it in my top five easily. I think my favourite scenes are the drunken carousing between Lucan and Nerone, and probably the duet in the link, between Damigella and Valletto, despite being so inconsequential (in terms of plot) it always struck me as really tender and made a big impact since I first heard it.

    Come to think of it, one of the many amazing things about it is the fact that I can't name one inferior scene in the whole opera; its quality from start to finish.

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    Which instrument are you talking about? There is a whole string section (or viols). There is a harpsichord like instrument which could be a virginal, spinet etc.. There could be some kind of lute-like instrument.
    I'm hearing an early orchestra. Including early brass and woodwind (maybe sackbutt and crumhorns).
    "Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony"

    Adieu
    Flute Sonatine
    La Mort des Artistes

  12. #8
    Senior Member Jobis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Moore View Post
    Which instrument are you talking about? There is a whole string section (or viols). There is a harpsichord like instrument which could be a virginal, spinet etc.. There could be some kind of lute-like instrument.
    I'm hearing an early orchestra. Including early brass and woodwind (maybe sackbutt and crumhorns).
    The very sustained, thin, string/bowed sound that is very prominent at the given time code. I think its likely to be a lira as Orpheus said, but it sounds almost like an accordion the way it is sustained.

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    Sorry, I missed the time code. I get it now. I'll give it another listen.
    "Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony"

    Adieu
    Flute Sonatine
    La Mort des Artistes

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    Most probably an Archlute:
    Sometime after the invention of the chitarrone ("large kithara") in Florence about 1585, various local forms of long-necked lutes were developed. One variant appearing in Rome at the end of the sixteenth century, dubbed the Roman archlute, accommodated unfretted diatonic bass strings, was tuned at a lower pitch, and was used in many churches. Only a small number of this type of archlute is known to be extant today.
    ...Its deeply arched back comprises fourteen thin ebony staves separated by ivory double striping. The neck is veneered front and back with tortoiseshell over a thin layer of gold leaf. Six pairs of strings extend above the gut-fretted fingerboard, while eight single bass strings are fastened into a second extended pegbox. The fragile soundboard—currently in remarkably fine condition—is ornamented with an intricately carved rosette in the soundhole, mother-of-pearl inlays, and outlined with a bone and tortoiseshell lace. A clip on the back of the neck and a button at the tail secured a strap that supported the nearly six-foot-long instrument.
    h2_1988.87.jpg
    "Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony"

    Adieu
    Flute Sonatine
    La Mort des Artistes

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    Senior Member senza sordino's Avatar
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    Maybe you'll find it's a theorbo.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theorbo

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  17. #12
    Senior Member Rhythm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senza sordino ^ View Post
    Maybe you'll find it's a theorbo.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theorbo
    Yeah, maybe like this one?

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