Abrams

Pirate instruments?

53 posts in this topic

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

Sir, methinks you're talking about relative pitch. Relative pitch is the ability to tell if something is sharp or flat or good.

Perfect pitch is the ability to identify a note just by hearing it (if someone plays a random note on a piano, you'd be able to identify it.)

I, for one, thank the powers that I have at least relative pitch.

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Very true. I was born with perfect pitch, but relative pitch is a more accurate term for what I was discussing. Thanks!

-- Sir Henry

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I always tell everyone I meet whose learning, scales scales and more scales and use an open string drone when your in key, so you can hear when your intonation is flukey. Also I would stick to one fiddle, even thogh they look the same, they all have little differences that can affect your finger placement hence your intonation.

Good luck, Red, after 2-1/2 years , your on the verge of breakthoughs that will make you smile.

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Thank you Thighbiter. I always open practice with a set of scales going from G (2 octives)to Em to Am (2 octaves) to A (2 octaves). several times through. Then a tunes for each key to reenforce the scale . Then onto D (octave and a 1/3 to excersise the 4th finger) with tunes for D and so on. On days with time I get out of bed, pull out my fiddle and work through out the day on and off so I don't get frustrated.

I 'm trying to learn as many tunes as I can that the band plays. Also tunes that I just love like Old Grey Cat, Short-coated Mary and Checkered Stockimgs. I love the Scottish fiddling style.

Thanks for your encoragement.

Edited by Red Maria

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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 jibs. 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! B)

<_<

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Thank you Thighbiter. I always open practice with a set of scales going from G (2 octives)to Em to Am (2 octaves) to A (2 octaves). several times through. Then a tunes for each key to reenforce the scale . Then onto D (octave and a 1/3 to excersise the 4th finger) with tunes for D and so on. On days with time I get out of bed, pull out my fiddle and work through out the day on and off so I don't get frustrated.

I 'm trying to learn as many tunes as I can that the band plays. Also tunes that I just love like Old Grey Cat, Short-coated Mary and Checkered Stockimgs. I love the Scottish fiddling style.

Thanks for your encoragement.

Ackkk... you are indeed one of the cursed souls, the Divils step daughter, one who hears a melody and has a stiring in your breast, quite un-accounted for. The salvation is to play it, to own it, to speak it to others, so they may share in the welling of emotion. Aye, I knows it well ( except for the divils daughter part :-) )

I likes ye already!

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I've always admired those who tackle the violin/fiddle. A tough instrument to play and listen to when someone's learning. But so amazing when it's mastered. Good luck to those brave enough to tackle it!

-- Sir Henry

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My fiddle (okay, violin, it has a curved bridge) is gathering dust in a corner. Salty sea air would ruin it, but for some of the drier events, it might be fun to bring along - now what sort of music to play? I doubt pirates would be too impressed with my squeaky renditions of Vivaldi concertos . . .

Ideas? Pointers-in-the-right-direction-ers?

Thanks!

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Agreed that if you want to play it then do so.

Agreed also, if you are playing GAoP PC pyrate in the encampment you need to let your audience know the facts.

Luckily for me my instrument is as old as homo sapiens sapiens

...I sing!

Style ...thar's them worms again! :huh:

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My fiddle (okay, violin, it has a curved bridge) is gathering dust in a corner.  Salty sea air would ruin it, but for some of the drier events, it might be fun to bring along - now what sort of music to play?  I doubt pirates would be too impressed with my squeaky renditions of Vivaldi concertos . . .

Ideas?  Pointers-in-the-right-direction-ers?

Thanks!

Any period dance tune would due. Look for John Playford's English Dancing Master. There have been editions since mid-17th century. There is one my fiddle teacher has that covers GAoP period. From about 165? to 172?. Sorry I can't remember the exact dates but I recall going "hmmm this would work well". Also look for traditional music from Scotland And Ireland.

A thing to note musicians were often commandeered aboard pirates vessel for their musical skill. Pirate like to part and you can't party withoutmusci! I haven't verified it yet but there is a report of a man accused of piracy who was let off because his crewmate veridief he was only a fiddler and didn 't commit acts of piracy.

Fiddles were a staple aborad ships and in the British navy fiddle music was used instead of shanties. I've seen wonderful illustrations of fiddlers standing on a capstans playing while men turn the capstan. So I don't think the sea air will harm your fiddle.

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Fiddles were a staple aborad ships and in the British navy fiddle music was used instead of shanties. I've seen wonderful illustrations of fiddlers standing on a capstans playing while men turn the capstan. So I don't think the sea air will harm your fiddle.

They must have had a means of caring for them that I don't know. I only know that water, humidity and sudden or repeated changes of temperature can be extremely damaging. I already need to replace my bridge, one of the tuning pegs, and probably some other things I haven't even found yet due to using the violin for three weeks in extremely damp conditions. :rolleyes:

Hmm . . .this bears RESEARCH! Yay!

Also thanks for the pointers on music. I'll check out the local music store and raid my orchestra's library (I'm lucky - I already have lots of resources!)

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There have been two fiddles aboard the Mary Rose (Henry VII's flagship) that had sitting at the bottom of the Thames for hundreds of years. For all that damp they were in IMO remarkable condition. Archeologists were even able to recontruct them. A fiddle case was also found but it was to damaged to recontruct. The drawing I have seen show an almost Celtic design on the case.

These weren't violins but still bowed stringed insruments. It's radical changes in temputure and humidity that really affects bowed stringed instruments like the violin. Like air travel. That's one of the reasons Eugene Druker had a copy of his Strad made. Air travel to concerts toke its toll on the instrument. That why it's good to have a hydrometer in your violin case. Sea travel in the late 17th to early 18th century may not have the radical impact to temputure and humidity that modern travel does.

From some accounts of Scottish fiddlers of the 18th century I've seen fiddles were kept in bags (material unknown yet) and hung around the neck. The fiddle I was given a few months ago was in its case for 50 years and was in a silk velvet bag inside the case and was in remarkable condition considering it had been kept in a farmhouse in the Midwest all that time!

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Thank you for all that information!

Yes, I'm oh-so-well aware of the concerns of modern travel and its impact on instruments! I work for a professional orchestra - our musicians are quite paranoid (for good reason, several of them play actual Strads or "comparable" instruments) and I guess it has rubbed off. But yes, it is true, even for those priceless instruments to have lasted as long as they have and to still be in beautiful playable condition, they are perhaps a bit hardier (with proper care) than I am giving credit for . . .

As an alternative, I wouldn't mind picking up a $50 student violin or something. Maybe even fit it out with a flat bridge for fiddling.

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You're welcome. Beleive it or not I've been studying the violin for only a few years. But I'm the kind of person who if I take up the study of something I have to know everythnig about it. Some of the books I've come across that have been helpful are

MacPherson's Rant and Other Tales of the Scottish Fiddle

http://www.amazon.com/Macphersons-Other-Ta...88408127&sr=1-1

The stuff about Neil Gow is hilarious!

The Violin Maker

http://www.amazon.com/Violin-Maker-Centuri...88408217&sr=1-1

That's about Eugene Drucker's Strd copy

'

Stradivari's genius

http://www.amazon.com/Stradivaris-Genius-C...88408342&sr=1-1

Poor Messiah stuck in a case at the Ashmoleon with no one to play him. ;)

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anyone play the jaw harp?

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I know its nowhere near PC but I enjoy playing the ukulele at events.

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While exploring the Gambra River in Africa in 1620 he recorded an instrument "...made of a great gourd and a neck, thereunto was fastened strings." The first mention of the name for these instruments in the Western Hemisphere is from Martinique in a document dated 1678.

http://bluegrassbanjo.org/banhist.html

I love banjo music. I hope this helps in the discussion.

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A thing to note musicians were often commandeered aboard pirates vessel for their musical skill. Pirate like to part and you can't party withoutmusci! I haven't verified it yet but there is a report of a man accused of piracy who was let off because his crewmate veridief he was only a fiddler and didn 't commit acts of piracy.

Slightly late I'm afraid. John Fletcher was forced to join Ned Low's crew 'because he could play upon a violin', according to testimony at his trial. He was acquitted, but that may have been because he was a boy or because he was forced, rather than for his musical ability.

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in doing some research concerning the use of the ships bell, i found that the trumpet was a useful ships insturments, there are several remarks of pirates attacking with blarring trumpets and beating drums to demoralize their enemy and encourage their own men. i have secured a period style trumpet and i'm trying to find what calls would be played during a boarding.

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One other instrument that I haven't yet seen mentioned but which can definitely be placed on a GAoP era ship is the hautbois, or oboe. Woodes Rogers had them on his circumnavigation and his musicians used them to entertain some Portuguese monks with a rendition of the English dance tune Hey Boys, Up Go We.

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English dance tune Hey Boys, Up Go We.

Isn't that by The Chemical Brothers ;)

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I believe they may have covered it.

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anyone play the jaw harp?

I've fooled around with them since they were used as trade goods for centuries but I can't say that I am any good.

BTW, they were called "Jew's harp" in period. The term "jaw harp" didn't originate until the 19th century.

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There is an issue of Pirates Magazine, that discusses instruments that would have been used in the Great Age of Pyrates. It is a back issue however. The article also discusses what instruments that were used in the making of the Pirates of the Caribbean At World's End soundtarck that may have actually been in use during the time.

But the Irish Bodhran was probably common, as there were many irish Pirates, a shanteyman on a merchant or Royal Navy ship could been a fiddler, so he would've been pressed into service if the pirates took a ship with one on board, and particularly wealthy passangers might've had servants who would accompany them to entertain them.

My advice is, don't search for Pirate Musicians, search for instruments used in Europe at the time, they would have made their way on ships to the colonies, and into pirate hands.

Edited by Commodore Greyhound

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Call me old fashioned, but I'd like to see some evidence of the bodhran being in any way a common musical instrument in the GAoP. Most experts are agreed that it entered 'traditional' music no earlier than the 19th century, but it remained pretty obscure until the Irish folk revival of the 1960s.

"Old" and Irish doesn't necessarily equate to "period".

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