Fast facts about Medieval Instruments Music and Hymn
by Difei Li
Music is the language of the soul. Music has been part of our lives, as well as we have been part of music. Even through the Stone Age when the earliest people did not have the sophisticated instruments with them, they were still able to develop the music that bonded them as one. As centuries go by, music has been utilized for various purposes. There have been music for conflict, music for conquest, and music for downfall, among others. Among these periodical music, Medieval music is a point of interest, where Medieval instruments music and hymn are the major topic.
The period between 5th to 15th centuries in Europe brought about medieval music. Going back to the history, Medieval Era commences after the Fall of the Roman Empire and ends in the early 15th century, approximately. Gregorian Chant is considered as the most prevalent type of earlier medieval period music. It is of a liturgical genre. Most people believe that medieval songs are generally spiritual, such as the melodious Gregorian chant. But there were also songs and hymns composed out of the church’s influence. One of the greatest contributions of the medieval ages maybe that we could count second to the songs are the instruments.
Considered to be the one of the most honored Medieval instruments through the Medieval Era, lute is contained in all the possible materials, accents, and accessories, such as tapestries, and wall hangings. According to records, the first lutes were made of wood, bone, ivory, and exotic woods. As a stringed instrument that is similar to guitar, lute is plucked using what they call a “plectrum” or using fingers.
Another medieval music instrument is the Viol, an instrument that is played using a bow. The Viol is commonly held on the lap, or placed between the legs. This musical instrument is said to be similar to a modern day cello.
Another bowed instrument that is like a small violin is the Rebec. It is said that possibly, this instrument is created to ape the voice. Historians say that it was played by the commoners coming from the modern day Western Asia.
We also should not forget to include the Northern Europeans’ hand drum, which was played by Irish and the Scots. The Irish and Scots also have bagpipes, used mainly for battles, but are used also in their quotidian living. Modern bagpipes present today, nonetheless, have more pieces to it. The pieces that will be included in the bagpipes vary depending on which country it originated from. Another widespread instrument of the 13th thru 16th century is the organetto, which is said to be similar to a modern-day organ when it comes to sound. It is also said that probably, it is the inspiration for the accordion.
There are still more instruments in the medieval ages. The above mentioned are just few of them. These instruments have different roles and functions in the period that they are prevalent. Modern versions of these Medieval instruments music are available and are ready to use. It is also better if we, the modern day people, study the history of our instruments, and compare how they function now and in the past.