Abrams

Pirate instruments?

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I was wondering, what instruments are period (GAoP) and might have been used by pirates.

I was thinking concertina, but I'm not sure what else.

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Not concertina, nor any of the accordion family. They didn't come around until the 1830s or 40s. There's a thread about that from a year or so around here somewhere.

For period instruments, there's really just the basics- fiddles, fifes and whistles, drums. And probably not in their current forms either. Hopefully a real expert will see this thread in the next few days. I know they're out there...

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Couple 'o hundred pages n pictures of information at www.lutesandguitars.co.uk

Stunning closeup photos of ornate rosettes :lol:

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I was thinking concertina,

Yah.... in Pyrate movies and in the Pirates of the Carrebean ride.... whenever you see a Pyrate band.... there's a concertina.....

Unfortunatly, they wern't invented untill the 1820's..... (same with the harmonica...)

Way outta our time period ... I think that because they were so compact and portable, later period sailors played them.... and people just assumed they were played by Pyrates also......

Kinda shame that a lot of fun Pyrate stuff isn't really period......

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Not concertina, nor any of the accordion family. They didn't come around until the 1830s or 40s. There's a thread about that from a year or so around here somewhere.

For period instruments, there's really just the basics- fiddles, fifes and whistles, drums. And probably not in their current forms either. Hopefully a real expert will see this thread in the next few days. I know they're out there...

First form of the concertina appeared around 1822. The version we're familiar with about 1844. As to the fiddle the modern violin came into being about the 1520s in Cremona Italy, Amati being one of the early makers. Widespead use of the basic violin was in use the mid 1660s. Stradavarius and Guarneri were making fiddles during the GAoP period. OK no pirate is going to have a Strad or Guaneri (unless they got real lucky with booty) but the basic modern design exisited and was in common use at the time.

I've just finished reading Stradivarius's Genius. It's on the history of the violin and its greatest maker. So I'm up on this subject. The bow OTOH was still evolving and wouldn't reach its present shape till the 1790s.

I just was given a fiddle by a good friend. It was her mother's and had been sitting in its case for 50 years. For being in a case for 50 years it's in very good shape. The label inside reads "a Copy of Antonio Stradivarius made in Germany". The belly is spruce and the back, neck and ribs are birdseye maple. It at my luthier right now being set-up.

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Just for funsies.....

an interesting page about concertinas.....

http://www.concertina.com/worrall/anglo-in...-united-states/

I have a cheap East German one.... and want to get one that is a bit better quality..... keys that stick make learning a bit difficult....

I have to practice more..... but I figure if anyone hastles me about it not being period.... I'll just shoot them with my period blunderbuss...... :unsure:

Note: if anyone ask.... I'll tell them that it's not really period (one of the problems of being an authentic....).....but too much fun to NOT play....... :lol:

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Patrick my info on the concertina came from The Grove dictionary of Musical Instruments v. 1 pg 459-460...

" The inventer of the English concertina was the scientist Charles Wheatston (1807-75) who is 1825 consrtucted a mouth organ with free reeds governed by a small button board which he patened in 1829 under thae name Symphonium. Further experiments led to the bellows blown concertina patened in 1844"

I was off 3 years on my first date but I hadn't rechecked the entry at that time. I wouldn't fault you for liking to play the concertina. You right ahead and enjoy yourself no matter what period your in. :unsure:

Edited by Red Maria

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Patt - are you bringing your concertina to the faire this weekend?

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So, does anyone know of an African insrument brought by slaves to this country, a little thing called a Ban-jar (various spellings), later to be called a Banjo. The earliest date that I can find is form 1770's. Anybody earlier?

Of course the instrument at that time was a gourd covered with skin, four gut strings. Still, it would be cool if we could include a banjo.

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So, does anyone know of an African insrument brought by slaves to this country, a little thing called a Ban-jar (various spellings), later to be called a Banjo. The earliest date that I can find is form 1770's. Anybody earlier?

Of course the instrument at that time was a gourd covered with skin, four gut strings. Still, it would be cool if we could include a banjo.

(Again) New Grove Dictinary of Musical Intruments v.1 pg 152-153

" .. Earliest know illustration of the instrument is in Sir Hans Sloane A Voyage to the Isalnds of Maderia, Barbados, Nieves, St. Christopher and Jamaica (London 1707 written in 1688 ...

it was often associated with the calinda dance [which was] unsuccessfully supressed by acts of the Martinque government as early as 1654..."

The illustration for the Sloane book (which is in the dictionary) depicts what you describe. So the banjo is a GAoP instrument.

Edited by Red Maria

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Whooo...Hoooo!

Now about playing style...big can o' wormage.

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Well actully, the modern violin is quite different from those of the GAoP. The main difference is that the bridge height was much smaller , with a corresponding shallower angle for the neck and fingerboard. In fact, ANY Stradivarius or Amati that is found needs to have its neck raked to the modern angle and ALL Strads etc have had this done. THe taller bridge gives the modern violin its sonority and beautiful voice. Usualy the scroll of the master is saved and grafted onto a new neck. Iv'e heard a violin that was made in the style of 1735 or so and it is much quieter and sound 'tanky' by comparison.

Patrick, damn 'em if'n theys grumbling about yer squeeze box, theys just too much fun to not have HANDy ( oh my did I just make that low of a vile clench??). I just started playing one in January and it was a big hit at Blackbeard.

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Whooo...Hoooo!

Now about playing style...big can o' wormage.

That mean I can bring me banjo and still be period? Lordy, now I just need to learn how to play...

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Well actully, the modern violin is quite different from those of the GAoP. The main difference is that the bridge height was much smaller , with a corresponding shallower angle for the neck and fingerboard. In fact, ANY Stradivarius or Amati that is found needs to have its neck raked to the modern angle and ALL Strads etc have had this done.

The Messiah hasn't had its neck changed. It is the one Strad that is as it orignally made. In fact it still looks shiny and new which is why there was some contrversy if it was really a Strad a few years ago. That question has been laid to rest. It is a Strad.

The reason it looks so new IMO is because it has rarely been played. It's been rarely touched by human hands. Its owners usally died before giving it up even Stradivarius himself couldn't give it up. It sits as I write this on display at the Ashmoleon Museum to be looked at and admired but not touched. Sad really. :lol:

Changing the neck is minor compared to the shape of the sound box. That hasn't changed really since Stradivarius's, Stainer's or Gueneri's time which is conversant to GAoP. The violin's soundbox shape, the f-holes, materials used are the same. The bow OTOH has gone through radical changes from arched to relatively straoght stick, culminating Viotti's design made by Tourte.

The label of the violin given to me says "a Copy of Antonio Stradavarius made in Germany" That refers to the soundbox not the neck. It's one of the most simple yet complex designs ever IMO.

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Whooo...Hoooo!

Now about playing style...big can o' wormage.

That mean I can bring me banjo and still be period? Lordy, now I just need to learn how to play...

The modern banjo appeared in the 19th century. If you want to be period you need to cover a gourd with skin and and attach a long wooden neck to it. The reason I know a bit about this is I got into a discussion on tthe history of the banjo with Harry Kelsey (author Sir Francis Drake the Queen's Pirate) a few weeks ago.

He insisted that the first banjo ever was at the L.A. County Natural History Museum. I insisted that it was from Afirca. I brought the proof and he apogised. The Natural History museum has one of the first short string banjos owned by Joel Walker Sweeney (errouneously attributted as its inventor) . So I have been immesered lately in both violins and banjos.

All boasting aside it you want to play a modern banjo do it. Its like Patrick's concertina. Afterall you're a pirate! Only rules that apply are the ones you agreed to!

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For those of us who wish to have/create a period style banjo go here to David Hyatt's page. Go especially to his craftsmanship section.

Oh, God, no! Not another project! Aaaaggghhh....!

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Thanks for the link, Captain Jim. I'm thinking of making myself a gourd banjo.

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One of the Foxfire books has a chapter about making a gord banjo...... (and the Foxfire books are in most librarys......)

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I ordered a concertina yesterday... I have a cheap East Greman one.... but the buttons stick... and it's a pain trying to learn to play something when it don't work.....

I know concertinas ain't period... but I wanna learn how to play something....

For s&g... I looked up how much it would cost fer a violin... bout the same.... fiddles are period..... and my Dad might have one.....

Like I typed.... I wanna learn how to make music.... I wanna learn how to play something......

I've got a concertina on it's way..... so I'll learn that.....

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As one who has played banjo for some 20 years now, unless you already know how to play a fretted banjo, a fretless gourd banjo is not the place to start learning. There is no way to know where a cord or a note begins or ends on a fretless so you may end up sounding like crap.

-- Sir Henry

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Hey Patrick, those cheap one are real CRAP. I spent a goodly amount on a decent student one ( over 500 clams) and it's OK. I played a real Wheatstone not long ago and by God its like night and day as far as the action and sound , but then wheaties are in the thousands.

Since concertinas are not main stream instruments, theres a BIG difference between the various grades. Not like guitars where becasue of the popularity, you can buy a decent accoustic for a few hundred bucks.

Fiddles - are HARD to learn to play especially if n ye dont play something already; hard but not impossible. Just be prepared to loose all yer friends and family as you practice! I know, i been playing for 30 years and I still remember being lonely for those first few years!

But fiddles are cheap !

Good Luck!

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As one who has played banjo for some 20 years now, unless you already know how to play a fretted banjo, a fretless gourd banjo is not the place to start learning. There is no way to know where a cord or a note begins or ends on a fretless so you may end up sounding like crap.

-- Sir Henry

That's why it hard to learn the fiddle. No frets. It has been taking me awhile to learn but I'm getting there. I'm no Bonney Rideout but the cat dosen't run under the bed.

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.

Fiddles - are HARD to learn to play especially if n ye dont play something already; hard but not impossible. Just be prepared to loose all yer friends and family as you practice!  I know, i been playing for 30 years and I still remember being lonely for those first few years!

But fiddles are cheap !

Good Luck!

Thighbiter

I know what you must of went through. I have beeen playing almost 2 1/2 years. Unfortunately the band I'm in doesn't understand that learning fiddle take a looong time and I get ridiculed a lot.

But I press on despite the jibes. A friend in PRP just gave me her mother's fiddle (50 years in its case and in remarkably good shape) because she and her finacee want to hear me play in camp. At least some people like my playing! :rolleyes:

Edited by Red Maria

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For those of you wishing to learn the fretless banjo or make the switch to fretless, here is a web site with a little trick to help you transition.

Also, it contains the mathematical formula to calculate fret position, should you want to put frets on your gourd.

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That's fine for a good player who knows what a D sounds like as opposed to a slightly sharp D or flat D. You still have to have a good ear to play an instrument without modern frets. This is particularly true if you're attempting any chording where the finger placement is essential to a resonant, harmonic sound. Put two people who don't have "perfect pitch" together with this and you twice as much crap.

Any competent musician on a stringed instrument knows this and I don't want to lead amateurs astray, particularly since I'll be in ear shot of the attempted music.

-- Sir Henry

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