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Company Fiddler
01-21-2009, 02:49 PM
Not to long ago we had a discussion about using modern instruments at reenactments. My stated position was that I'd rather see modern instruments, playing period tune, then have no period music at all. Having said that, I use a German fiddle, circa 1870's, set up with gut strings and a modern copy of a minstral banjo with Nylgut strings & parlor guitar with LaBella synthetic strings.

German Fiddle circa 1870's
http://www.hangoutstorage.com/fiddlehangout.com/storage/photos/medium/1294-173052292008.jpg

Minstral Banjo & parlor guitar:
http://www.hangoutstorage.com/fiddlehangout.com/storage/photos/medium/1294-14561310122007.jpg

So, what instruments are you musicians using at reenactments? Modern or period and how are they set up?

Danny
01-21-2009, 10:08 PM
...So, what instruments are you musicians using at reenactments? Modern or period and how are they set up?

Tim -

I have a homemade fretless banjo which is not authentic in detail, but in size, layout and sound ok for now. Many banjos before and during the war were made by carpenters or in home shops and varied widely from factory banjos. It is strung with Aquila Nylgut "Minstrel" set (heavier than their classical banjo set). I had played it with real gut and the sound was good, but as night fell it was just a problem to maintain tune with concertina etc. which maintain their key regardless of temperature and humidity. I will get a reproduction banjo like yours when it works out for me. Note: If you stain the treble Nylguts they look even more like real gut. (You self-styled campaigners leave me alone; I always explain what these instruments really were if it comes up).

I have a Republic RP-1 guitar, which is based on an 1856 pattern guitar but is modern construction inside where no one sees it. In a recent dimensions comparison to a vintage 1860 Martin for sale, none of the dimensions were more than 6 percent different. I replaced all the little Phillips head screws with slot-head brass screws. I string that with Aquila Nylgut "high-tension" classical guitar set. Note: It took weeks before those strings settled into a clear and loud sound, I almost gave up on it but procrastination has its reward. I'm working on weaning myself from using a plectrum to go more finger-style as in the old tutors.

I have a period-style large tamborine with skin head, a jawbone half, and some wooden bones, and a jaw harp. Can't play any of them well just haven't practiced, but I hand them out when I play.

Dan Wykes

mehrsam
01-22-2009, 10:42 AM
Here is my family photo...just ignore the modern instruments.

1836

The parlor guitar (middle left) was restored from the condition I received it in-neck was detached, no nut, saddle or bridge, fretboard inlays had been gouged out and the top was cracked.

The 3 banjos are all repros made by Eric Prust in Washington (state); you won't find a better value anywhere. The two on the ends are tackheads, and the middle one is a Boucher-style tensioning head. They're not elegantly finished, but they play and sound very well and are a fraction of the cost of a George Wunderlich or James Hartell banjo.

The bowlback mandolin (front left) is an eBay find, probably early 1900s. I know mandolins are considered anachronistic in a camp setting, but we are closer to what might be considered a "parlor band"; we play at several Victorian dances and smaller events that are more civilian-oriented. Our repertoire also includes more dance tunes than camp tunes, and a few classical pieces. And it's just so darn much fun to play!

mehrsam
01-22-2009, 11:03 AM
Tim,

Is your fiddle strung with natural gut or synthetic gut strings? What issues (if any) do you have with the gut?

Thanks,

Company Fiddler
01-22-2009, 12:49 PM
Mark,

I am using natural gut strings from Gamut Strings in Duluth, MN. gamutstrings.com

They come with a silver wrapping on the G string which is period correct, the rest are coated with a varnish to prolong life. With the exeption of the G string, they come in double length so you actually get two sets of strings. The life expectency is considerably less then steel or even synthetic core strings with the E string being the weakest due to thickness. Mine have been on since September and I just replaced the E string two weeks ago. It is important to keep the finger nails cut well back to prevent fraying the strings.

Tuning will be an issue especially out of doors. I solved that problem by installing a set of perfection pegs. Not historically accurate but unless you are an experienced fiddler, you can not tell they are not friction, ebony pegs.

They respond differently to the bow (not quite as smooth as steel) and take a bit of getting used to. I've also found that they prefer a more classical bridge set up then a flattened fiddlers bridge. They seem to resonate better. I am tuning at A=430Hz. which give a warm sound with pleanty of ringing overtones. All in all, I enjoy them as an alterative set up to my standard fiddles and they produce an accurate "period sound".

dculgan
01-22-2009, 02:13 PM
I use an older Wunder Boucher repro and a mongrel banjo that I assembled from parts. The old fretless neck is from a '67 Dobson, and its fitted to a home-made pot assembly which is of period construction except for the bracket hardware. On rare occasion I add a Menzies gourd banjo, not really authentic but it sounds so good. All these are strung up with real gut. In fact, I've never used anything but.

Dave Culgan
Camptown Shakers

eric marten
01-22-2009, 02:44 PM
Violins/fiddles are probably the easiest of the instruments to insure accurate appearance and sound for 19th century music. It is well worth the effort in order to avoid playing on modern looking and sounding instruments while dressed in period clothing.
I use Pirastro Chorda violin strings (un-varnished) for E, A, and D, and sometimes G, though for G I prefer Eudoxa or Kaplan Gold label; They are gut wound with silver wire, (correct only for the G string in this time period), and I find them somewhat superior to the Chorda G. I am not aware of varnished strings at this time period.
There are literally thousands of 19th century violins around in violin shops all over the country. Very important, for appearance, AND sound, the modern synthetic tailgut, or tailpiece adjustor, should be replaced with a real gut tailgut. These are readily available. You'd be surprised, but the gut strings do sound better when a real tailgut is on the instrument.
Obviously, no chin rest or fine tuners.
Pitch varies: I have one period tuning fork at A426, but the pitch could be a little lower, as well.
Once you get used to the uncovered gut strings, you will find a way to produce beautiful, mellow tone, with sufficient volume. In general, you may want to use longer bow strokes than you might be used to with modern synthetic, or covered E,A,and D strings. Any additional amplification is unnecessary. Wood friction pegs work perfectly fine, and the more you use them, the easier they become to control.
Two alternate tunings can be used on occasion. The correspondence between Robert Nelson Mount, in Georgia, and his brother, William Sidney Mount, on Long Island, during the 1850's, document EAEA ("Scots tuning"), and EADA, ("Negro tuning"). (These are sometimes referred to in reverse order, AEAE, and ADAE). Interestingly, the Scots tuning is usually written in "scordatura" with the strings indicated at the beginning, but the music written out as if in standard tuning, while the "Negro" tuning is written out exactly the notes sounded, but with the indication to tune the G string up one whole tone, to give a "Negro" sound (even though this tuning was brought to America from Scotland). However, standard tuning is perfectly appropriate for all tunes , and more common than the alternate tunings.

Eric Marten

Danny
01-23-2009, 11:03 AM
Not to long ago we had a discussion about using ...instruments at reenactments...


...All these are strung up with real gut. In fact, I've never used anything but.Dave Culgan
Camptown Shakers

Dave -

To the point of the thread above, do you have unit duties at a reenactment, besides playing with the Shakers? I would like to go back to gut but, given the circumstance of when I can play at a reenactment, I found it better to play when I found some time rather than retuning every 30 mins or so as the sun went down. The skin head had as much to do with that problem - warming it over the campfire as a novelty gets old and I just don't think it's good on the instrument as a habit.

Living history /indoor performance no such problem, several stable hours of humidity and temperature so I prefer using a banjo strung in gut for those situations -- whoops there's a reason to add another banjo to my collection.

And you fiddle players who play in a slack key, does that mean then only for solo work? Or do you ask the guitar players de-tune to match? And what if you're playing with a non-tunable instrument, harmonica, concertina etc.?

I apologize if these sound naive, I've not had any formal music training. But I think others here may be in the same situation.

Dan Wykes

Company Fiddler
01-23-2009, 11:26 AM
Danny,

I keep my gut strung fiddle tuned down because it is in keeping with the time period and also is easier on the gut strings (less tension). I'm guessing that the other string instruments would have been tuned to the fiddle, especially if there were no tuning forks available to establish the pitch.

When I play with others, I tune up to 440 to match them.

dculgan
01-25-2009, 12:33 AM
Dave -
To the point of the thread above, do you have unit duties at a reenactment, besides playing with the Shakers? I would like to go back to gut but, given the circumstance of when I can play at a reenactment, I found it better to play when I found some time rather than retuning every 30 mins or so as the sun went down. The skin head had as much to do with that problem - warming it over the campfire as a novelty gets old and I just don't think it's good on the instrument as a habit.
Dan Wykes

Hi Dan,

No, I've pretty much retired from military duties, so it is mostly about putting on a show and so I can devote time to getting and keeping the banjos in good playing order. I'll admit it is a hassle, for me almost an obsession, trying to have a source of heat nearby. But for me there is nothing like the loud clear tone I get out of my setup. I use a small brazier with a wood or charcoal fire to heat the head when needed. It's a wonder I haven't set one of them on fire yet.

Dave

fifer32nd
02-04-2009, 02:57 AM
When I play my violin there I play period music, but keep the same set-up. its a 1922 German Violin with wound metal strings and the tail piece is nice Rosewood, same with the pegs. The Chin rest is Ebony and shoulder rest is modern. Its the Period Music that counts, not the look that the instrument is played on. (of course I would prefer that the instruments were of that time. Like you wouldn't see someone there playing dixie on an electric guitar... thats not an instrument from that time, as a violin, fife, or other instruments like that are.

eric marten
02-10-2009, 02:20 PM
fifer32nd:
I would respectfully suggest playing only period instruments at events. If you go back on this thread, 4 posts, (previous page) you'll find some suggestions on how to convert your violin to period authenticity. It is relatively easy, and the parts (strings, real tailgut) are easily obtainable. Im my experience, if you have a couple of period fiddlers playing period instruments, and then someone takes out a modern violin, with loud metal strings and modern hardware attached (fine-tuners, modern synthetic nylon/steel "tailgut", chin-rest), it sort of changes the entire atmosphere. I do plenty of playing on modern instruments elsewhere (I make my living that way), but at CW events and other living history events, I suggest using only appropriate period instruments for the authentic sound (very different from 20th century violin sound) and appearance. Anyway, it still is nice you're adding music to the experience.

Eric Marten

fifer32nd
02-10-2009, 06:07 PM
fifer32nd:
I would respectfully suggest playing only period instruments at events. If you go back on this thread, 4 posts, (previous page) you'll find some suggestions on how to convert your violin to period authenticity. It is relatively easy, and the parts (strings, real tailgut) are easily obtainable.
In my experience, if you have a couple of period fiddlers playing period instruments, and then someone takes out a modern violin, with loud metal strings and modern hardware attached (fine-tuners, modern synthetic nylon/steel "tailgut", chin-rest), it sort of changes the entire atmosphere. I do plenty of playing on modern instruments elsewhere (I make my living that way), but at CW events and other living history events, I suggest using only appropriate period instruments for the authentic sound (very different from 20th century violin sound) and appearance. Anyway, it still is nice you're adding music to the experience.

Eric Marten
The one thing I don't have to worry about is a bunch of fiddlers. I am the only musician in my company...
My problem is that I only have 1 violin, and going all out on authenticity is hard because everywhere else I have to use modern hardware. :-? I don't have fine tuners except on E, but yes, I of course have metal strings. Would my Rosewood Tailpiece be acceptable? If I got the right screw driver, I could also take the chin rest off when playing at CW events, but I cant change out the strings and everything..

eric marten
02-11-2009, 10:43 AM
fifer32nd:

I don't want to tell anyone else what to do; I just like to give advice and help, based on my own experience. Over the last 26 years, it has been a learning curve, and no one can jump into the hobby totally knowledgeable and fully equipped. (too expensive), but I like to share whatever info I have been able to acquire over the years for the benefit of others. I am known to be a "fanatic" as far as music authenticity, so don't mind me if I sometimes sound like I'm lecturing, and I'm still learning new things all the time. Maybe at some point you'll come across a cheap 19th century fiddle, (they're all over - garage sales, etc.) and you can set that one up with a 19th century sound and appearance, without upsetting the set-up of the modern violin you use for other gigs. By the way, rosewood tailpiece is just fine, and a strong paper clip, or thin nail is useful for removing and re-attaching a chin rest, and there is such a thing as a "chin-rest tool". If you do get a second violin, and put on gut strings, it's best to keep them just under modern A440 pitch (unless you're playing with others with un-tunable instruments). In the meantime, just keep fiddling away, sharing your music with others, and if I can ever be of any assistance, let me know.
Good luck!

Eric Marten

fifer32nd
02-11-2009, 03:53 PM
fifer32nd:

I don't want to tell anyone else what to do; I just like to give advice and help, based on my own experience. Over the last 26 years, it has been a learning curve, and no one can jump into the hobby totally knowledgeable and fully equipped. (too expensive), but I like to share whatever info I have been able to acquire over the years for the benefit of others. I am known to be a "fanatic" as far as music authenticity, so don't mind me if I sometimes sound like I'm lecturing, and I'm still learning new things all the time. Maybe at some point you'll come across a cheap 19th century fiddle, (they're all over - garage sales, etc.) and you can set that one up with a 19th century sound and appearance, without upsetting the set-up of the modern violin you use for other gigs. By the way, rosewood tailpiece is just fine, and a strong paper clip, or thin nail is useful for removing and re-attaching a chin rest, and there is such a thing as a "chin-rest tool". If you do get a second violin, and put on gut strings, it's best to keep them just under modern A440 pitch (unless you're playing with others with un-tunable instruments). In the meantime, just keep fiddling away, sharing your music with others, and if I can ever be of any assistance, let me know.
Good luck!

Eric Marten


Oh, its fine..
I hope I do come across a cheap 19th century that i could set up. That would be great!! Than since a rosewood tailpiece is ok I take it that rosewood pegs are ok?

eric marten
02-12-2009, 08:48 AM
Yes, rosewood is a fine choice for period style pegs.

Eric Marten

fifer32nd
02-12-2009, 02:59 PM
Ok, I know you shouldn't buy instruments online, but I have bid on an antique HOLF violin that comes with a wooden case, and a period bow. The only thing it needs to be ok is strings, the bridge put on, and re-glued right below the button.

fifer32nd
03-10-2009, 11:56 PM
I didn't get that violin, but we did get a different one! I sent it to our violin shop to get looked over and have them put gut strings on it. going to pick it up sunday :)

eric marten
03-11-2009, 09:34 AM
Hey - congratulations on your period violin. When you get your gut strings, you might want to get a couple of extra E strings - they're the most breakable (and the least expensive, fortunately). The G string can be wound with sliver wire, and the other three should be uncovered gut. The strings will last longer, and sound great pitched a little below A440. If you want to go "all the way", you should get a real tailgut, rather than the modern nylon/steel/brass "tailpiece adjustor", for both appearance and authentic sound, as the real tailgut seems to help the gut strings sound more "alive." In any case, just going with the gut strings will make your instrument sound more mellow and authentic, and less "metallic". If I can be of any assistance, contact me any time.

Eric Marten

FloridaConfederate
03-11-2009, 10:47 AM
I play a Bowlin "early" banjo..which is nylon strung w/ a natural head. It is incorrect in that it has modern vintage tuning pegs...they look "old" but they are not period correct friction fit wood pegs.

I am long time guitar player and vintage guitar collector so the transition has been pretty easy once I got past my natural inclination to finger pick or stroke unidirectionally... instead of the proper down stroke only. I have few tab books and been picking by ear from Marty Liebschner and other CD's.

I presently have an order in for a Wunderlich Boucher copy and a Hartel Sweeny model.

I enjoy jamming with the videos on the minstrelbanjo forum.

Carl Anderton rocks hard and I copy his licks.

Chris Rideout
Tampa, Florida

Danny
03-12-2009, 02:03 PM
I play a Bowlin "early" banjo..which is nylon strung w/ a natural head. It is incorrect in that it has modern vintage tuning pegs...they look "old" but they are not period correct friction fit wood pegs...Chris Rideout Tampa, Florida

Chris, if you mean that your current banjo has open-geared tuning machines, that in itself doesn't make it less authentic. There were Antebellum- and ACW-period banjos mounting tuning machines like those used on period guitars, typically with a slotted headstock.

Dan Wykes

P.S. With yer two fine reproduction banjos on order, I take it you're either independently wealthy or unmarried, or both :)

FloridaConfederate
03-13-2009, 08:08 AM
Chris, if you mean that your current banjo has open-geared tuning machines, that in itself doesn't make it less authentic. There were Antebellum- and ACW-period banjos mounting tuning machines like those used on period guitars, typically with a slotted headstock.

Dan Wykes

P.S. With yer two fine reproduction banjos on order, I take it you're either independently wealthy or unmarried, or both :)

By modern vintage they are modern pegs with ebony tuning buttons and "patina'd" dark brass....wrong city...that Bowlin banjar has a nice tone and really projects. I am picking it up very quickly....and playing several old classics with ease...some of the Reels are the toughest.

I ordered the Hartel only to see George Wunderlich's hour long video on Minstrelbanjos forum. That cat goes deep on the historical accuracy and efforts to replicate known Boucher models from the Smithsonian. Doing a St. Patties parade tomorrow and a pard is bringing his Flescher kit banjo for to compare.

I will figure out which I like best and give the other to my boy.

Married 25 years and a adopted parent....not wealthy...but capitalism has been good (until now). I sold a 62 Fender Stratocaster (Three color sunburst - slabboard) from my collection and been sitting on the cash looking for real PAF's as I have 59 Les Paul with replacement pickups I am trying to get "right." That fund is lower now..so much for real PAF's this year.

Chris Rideout
Tampa, Florida

HG blacksmith
03-17-2009, 09:41 AM
I use a mandoline called an Alden Original. It is a modern one made by a guy in Nashville. It looks traditional but I doubt it is put together in a traditional fashion. It has a plain clear finish and no fancy cutts or enlays. It also has a wonderfull Irish mellow sound.
I'll post a pic. in a little while!
Dave

FloridaConfederate
03-17-2009, 10:02 AM
I use a mandoline called an Alden Original. It is a modern one made by a guy in Nashville. It looks traditional but I doubt it is put together in a traditional fashion. It has a plain clear finish and no fancy cutts or enlays. It also has a wonderfull Irish mellow sound.
I'll post a pic. in a little while!
Dave

As I understand it..the mandolin was not used in the "period" in the US and came to our shores in the 1880's with a group of touring Spanish students.

I own a nice one, but have dropped it to pursue the period correct fretless, gut strung, skin headed early banjo.

Keep picking

Chris Rideout
Tampa, Florida

Danny
03-17-2009, 11:47 AM
I use a mandoline called an Alden Original. It is a modern one made by a guy in Nashville. It looks traditional but I doubt it is put together in a traditional fashion. It has a plain clear finish and no fancy cutts or enlays. It also has a wonderfull Irish mellow sound.I'll post a pic. in a little while! Dave

Dave -

What my buddy Chris said.

Mandolins would be very unlikely in the U.S. at the time of the ACW, even if they were used in Europe at the time.

But to consider a stringed instrument not too much bigger; a guitar of that period; what we call "parlor" size today. Although that should be strung only with gut or faux-gut strings (gut trebles and wire wound silk heavies), you can capo it to a higher fret to be in the same sonic range as a mandolin if that's what you're after.

Dan Wykes

toccoa42
03-17-2009, 02:15 PM
Although that should be strung only with gut or faux-gut strings (gut trebles and wire wound silk heavies), you can capo it to a higher fret to be in the same sonic range as a mandolin if that's what you're after.

And speaking of capos --

Were they used during the CW era? And if so, what did they look like?

FloridaConfederate
03-17-2009, 05:34 PM
And speaking of capos --

Were they used during the CW era? And if so, what did they look like?


My gut is they were not associated with music of the "period"..it is just my gut

The yoke capo with screw and the wooden Spanish capo cejilla were invented in the late 1700's. The yoke capo still looks the same, and the Spanish capo is still in use by Flamenco guitarists. On the English guitar at that time, the capo was attached through holes in the neck by a small carriage bolt tightened by a wing nut. I have not found any patent on the C-clamp with screw, so I guess that capo is pretty old too.

The first capo patent was applied for in 1850 by James Ashborn of Walcottville, Connecticut. His capo was tightened by an eccentric roll on the back of the neck. Since then, about 130 capo patents have been granted but very few seem to be practical.

This is thought to be a mid-19th Century vintage..it would have probably had a leather strap under the brass arm providing the force across the neck at the proper key.

http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii312/floridaconfederate/Sparr.jpg


Chris Rideout
Tampa, Florida

HG blacksmith
03-17-2009, 05:35 PM
You known it never crossed my mind to look up and see weather or not mandolines were used in America during that time period. I suppose that there were less Italian imigrants then.....perhaps?
Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought that the scotch/Irish used mandolines and octive mandolines.?
It's not realy something I know much about! I can rest assured in the fact that if someone in the US owned a mandoline during that time period it would look something like mine!:rolleyes:
Or I could portray an Italian imigrant of the period and change my name to uh Giussepi?:lol: Or somthing to that effect! It might be a good idea to learn how to spell it properly first!?:)
Don't have any pictures on the commputer of it.:mad: Thought I did!

FloridaConfederate
03-17-2009, 05:43 PM
Hey smithy....I would just enjoy my instrument. and make music..unless you are a history heavy type then it will drive you crazy. Mando's were indeed popular in Europe and more like a lute, which is what they originated from.

The value of music at a mainstream n'actment is far greater than the concern for such things.

Now if you're going for a super accurate musician impression.

Not so much.

Chris Rideout
Tampa, Florida

Ofcalipka
06-16-2009, 12:22 PM
I suppose this is as good a place to ask as anywhere else here. Does anyone know if the parlor guitar was tuned like modern guitars? 440hz and EADGBE.

Company Fiddler
06-17-2009, 11:11 AM
Mark,

I believe that the standard tuning of EADGBE would apply for the period.
440 Hz would not be aprorpriate since it was not the accepted, international standard until well into the 20th century. More likely would be 415 Hz to 430 Hz assuming someone actually had a tuning fork. My guess is that whenever a group of string players would gather, they would tune to the fiddler whenever possible.

Tuning of instruments in the field could be the topic for another thread altogether.

Ofcalipka
06-17-2009, 04:41 PM
Thank you,
I found information that stated that the guitar was tuned to EADGBE around 1800 but I couldn't find anything on how they established the tuning or what Hz they went by other than it was a tuning fork. I play guitar just ever so barely and it is an old nylon string guitar from the 70's that I was thinking of restringing with a gut equivalent to get it closer to a period sound. Now I know it is not a period instrument and I'm pretty sure I'll take a bashing for suggesting the use of this but. I can't afford to spend several hundred on a guitar right now but I can afford new strings on a guitar that somewhat resembles a period guitar. I'm not trying to pass it off as a period instrument I just want a reasonable facsimile of the period sound.

eric marten
06-17-2009, 07:14 PM
Adam:

I certainly hope you don't "take a bashing" for your contributions to reenacting. Everyone does and contributes what they can, and there is a constant "learning curve" and as the years go by more evidence gets unearthed to make us better living historians.

I've researched period pitch for quite a while, for Old Bethpage Village Restoration, and here are some sample pitches I've been able to document over the years (just a partial list - I'm giving the highlights). Most of the examples are derived from different period tuning forks, and also pipe organs.

1699- Paris Opera A-404
1711 - John Shore's tuning fork A-423.5 (Lutenist/trumpeter for Chapel Royal)
1780 (for Mozart) A-421
!714 - Strasbourg Cathedral Organ A-391
1722 - Dresden Cathedral Organ - A-391
1759-Trinity College Cambridge Organ - A-309
1762 Stringed instruments at Hamburg - A-405
1772 Gottfried Silberman Organ - Hamburg Dresden A-415
1780- Organ Builder Schulz A -421.3
1751 Handel's tuning fork - A-422.5
1811 Paris Grand Opera - A-427
1820 Westminster Abbey Organ A - 422.5
1820 Paris Comic Opera A-422.5
1896 Philharmonic pitch A-439
1925 American Music Industry - adopted A-440
1936 American Standards Association adopted A-440
1939 Int'l Conference adopted A-440

As you can see, pitch has been all over the place with a general upward curve over the years, responding to changing tastes. The gut strings manufactured by Pirastro (Chorda) are designed for A-415 and don't do too well when tuned closer to to modern (A-440) pitch. The most important thing, obviously, is to tune together with your accompanying instrumentalists, and bring entertainment and joy to your audience!

Eric Marten

Poor Private
09-07-2009, 07:38 PM
It seems this thread is all about period instruments but I don't see any mention of other instruments than the string instruments. How about fifes, drums, ocarinas, harmonicas, and lets not forget all the brass instruments. Myself I was wondering about the validity of a ocarinas' use since they came from europe and was in use since the dark ages, or wern't they here on our shores at this time?.

fifer32nd
09-07-2009, 09:01 PM
i play the fife!!! not very much, though.......


I finally got my civil war violin finnished!! its an 1805 hammig violin.
Here are a few pics:
http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll317/Iowaparanormalresearchsociety/DSC00389.jpg

http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll317/Iowaparanormalresearchsociety/DSC00392.jpg

http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll317/Iowaparanormalresearchsociety/DSC00393.jpg

http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll317/Iowaparanormalresearchsociety/DSC00394.jpg

2 more pics to come.....

fifer32nd
09-07-2009, 09:01 PM
http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll317/Iowaparanormalresearchsociety/DSC00396.jpg

http://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll317/Iowaparanormalresearchsociety/DSC00399.jpg

RJSamp
09-08-2009, 08:41 AM
Adam:

I certainly hope you don't "take a bashing" for your contributions to reenacting. Everyone does and contributes what they can, and there is a constant "learning curve" and as the years go by more evidence gets unearthed to make us better living historians.

I've researched period pitch for quite a while, for Old Bethpage Village Restoration, and here are some sample pitches I've been able to document over the years (just a partial list - I'm giving the highlights). Most of the examples are derived from different period tuning forks, and also pipe organs.

1699- Paris Opera A-404
1711 - John Shore's tuning fork A-423.5 (Lutenist/trumpeter for Chapel Royal)
1780 (for Mozart) A-421
!714 - Strasbourg Cathedral Organ A-391
1722 - Dresden Cathedral Organ - A-391
1759-Trinity College Cambridge Organ - A-309
1762 Stringed instruments at Hamburg - A-405
1772 Gottfried Silberman Organ - Hamburg Dresden A-415
1780- Organ Builder Schulz A -421.3
1751 Handel's tuning fork - A-422.5
1811 Paris Grand Opera - A-427
1820 Westminster Abbey Organ A - 422.5
1820 Paris Comic Opera A-422.5
1896 Philharmonic pitch A-439
1925 American Music Industry - adopted A-440
1936 American Standards Association adopted A-440
1939 Int'l Conference adopted A-440

As you can see, pitch has been all over the place with a general upward curve over the years, responding to changing tastes. The gut strings manufactured by Pirastro (Chorda) are designed for A-415 and don't do too well when tuned closer to to modern (A-440) pitch. The most important thing, obviously, is to tune together with your accompanying instrumentalists, and bring entertainment and joy to your audience!

Eric Marten

Brass Instruments are another area to examine.....they became increasingly brighter....so much that from a Baroque Bb Trumpet at A=405 they climbed up to A=452 by the 1850's. When one speaks of buying a matched set of instruments from an instrument manufacturer, to be delivered by Adams Express within the month from monies raised through a subscription of the officer's in the Brigade....one is referring to the same 'tuning' of say A = 449 for all the brass instruments from a big Euphonium to the small Eb Cornet.

DulcimerPlayer
10-14-2009, 10:06 AM
Add limberjacks to a period instrument. They are fun rythmn instruments that are easy to carry and great with kids, or anyone that has not seen one played.

http://www.appalachiandulcimers.com/Limberjack.mov

eric marten
10-15-2009, 08:24 AM
Paul:

One other period instrument you might consider is "beating straws". You can find several first hand accounts from both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries from plantation life. At Old Bethpage Village Restoration, we use broom corn stalks (the original material), on gut strings.

Eric Marten

teddyberwald
02-03-2010, 08:58 PM
It seems this thread is all about period instruments but I don't see any mention of other instruments than the string instruments. How about fifes, drums, ocarinas, harmonicas, and lets not forget all the brass instruments. Myself I was wondering about the validity of a ocarinas' use since they came from europe and was in use since the dark ages, or wern't they here on our shores at this time?.

I was doing some research the other day and the earliest mention of the ocarina in an american document was the 1898 sears catalogue. In the catalogue they state that it is a very popular insrument. The appearance at this time seems to be that of a modern transverse 10-hole ocarina in the picture they have provided. I don't have the book anymore or I would quote the blurb for you. They seem to come in all keys imaginable though.