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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society  |  The Old Fashioned Way (Moderators: St. George, Delmonico)  |  Topic: Music and instruments. 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Music and instruments.  (Read 16568 times)
Mogorilla
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« on: October 11, 2005, 07:29:24 am »


I was curious if anyone had period instruments and what they were.  In the past, I played several instruments, a dulcimer, mandolin and bass.  I played with a few bluegrass bands in my teens.  Pretty much put the instruments away when I went to college.  When I was in my teens, my father gave me a small pump organ.  It had been a gift from an aunt to him.  (note, at 39, I am the youngest kid of the youngest kid.  My paternal grandparents were also youngest in their families, grandfather b 1880, grandmother b 1888.) This pump organ had been bought new by my great aunt and was carted around Illinois first in a wagon and later a car as her husband was a traveling Methodist Minister.  When my dad was very young, his parents pushed him to become a minister, this started at a very early age (didn't take and may account for some of his onerriness and his aunt began teaching him music, the organ was given to him to practice on.   From the serial number, this organ was made in 1887.  By the time I was in my teens, this piece was battered and many of the ivory covered keys did not work.  When my parents passed on, I took the piece, although I had to remind my sisters it was mine to begin with.  Anyway, I had it restored shortly afterward and now it is back to its original condition, although it had synthetic ivory keys, the restorer was quite put out that I made him give me my ivory back though.  Specifically this organ is a model (will post some pics when I get my digital camera back) called a baby organ. Only 39 keys, easily transported.   I don't play piano/organ well at all, but does anyone else have any period correct instruments?
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2005, 09:03:31 am »

Don't have any, but I know the trumpets and coronets of the time had rotary valves instead of the piston type on the ones we're familiar with today. If you're familiar with the french horn, that's the type I'm referring too.........Buck Cool Roll Eyes Wink
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2005, 09:39:32 am »

I have a banjo ukelele made in 1909.  Does that count?

Can't seem to find the note that had that info on it.  May have been lost.
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2005, 12:47:49 pm »

I have a trombone that I played in High School, but haven't played much since. I don't the design has changed much since the 1800's. We have an old pump organ, also. It may be a baby organ. I don't think it is over 4 feet long. I don't know much about it. It was in the house when we bought it from my in-laws.

Slim
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2005, 01:09:04 pm »

We actually have two pump organs.  The baby one has 39 keys and is a little over 3 feet wide and easily carried by one person.  The other is a full size and needs a 20 mule team to move.  Both are pre 1900 in manufacture.  If you are ever curious, there is a plethera of info on the web about pump organs.  http://www.reedsoc.org/
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my granddad on his mule around 1907


« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2005, 06:45:05 am »

I had an old player piano that was made in the 1880's,  I rebuilt the engine (the works that supply the air) of the thing, it took me about 8 months, I thought I'd never get done.No electric, just pump until you were tired.  it was a 66 note player I had about a 100 rolls of music for it .  My son was in high school and his friends that came over couldn't get enough of it.  they would sit in there and pump it for hours. It had some classical music rolls that they had all heard on the cartoons they had watched. I had several rolls that sounded like the music you hear in the movies when they walk into the saloons,  it was fun
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2005, 08:26:51 am »

I play the concertina and harmonica.  Have worn out one concertina and innumerable harmonicas over the years.

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my granddad on his mule around 1907


« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2005, 09:47:58 pm »

what is the history of the Jaw harp or Jew harp, are they the same Huh
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2005, 11:19:31 am »

Boy - am I glad you asked...

The Jew's Harp is a small musical instrument which is held against the teeth or lips, and plucked with the fingers.
Its appearance in many cultures of the world,and ancient roots, attest to the magical essence of this simple instrument. 

Very little early history is available.

The Jew's harp is known world-wide by many different names, depending on the country of origin.
Some examples are:

England - Gewgaw
Germany - Maultrommel (which means mouth drum)
Japan - Koukin
Russia - Vargan
Siberia - Khomus
Philippines - Kumbing and kubing
Italy - Scacciapensieri
Norway - munnharpa or munnharpe
France - guimbarde
Bali - genggong

For over 400 years the instrument ... has been connected in English with the Jews ...
Whether any derogation was originally intended is not known but it is apparently believed that some might now be felt, for the instrument is invariably referred to in radio and television programs as a juice harp.
Considering the drooling that often accompanies amateur performances on the thing - it makes sense.

The earliest known written citation of Jew's harp in 1595, in England.
Prior to that it was called Jew's trump (earliest spelling: jewes trump).
Before that it was known as trump in Scotland and northern England; the origin of the "jewes" preceder is obscure.
However, there is no indication that the origin was connected with Judaism or the Jewish people.
It probably came from some other word -- one possibility is the Old English word gewgaw - and was then, many years later, "fixed," resulting in the current form.

Jaw harp is a 20th century creation.
It was first suggested as an origin of Jew's harp as pure conjecture - there is no evidence of that name ever being used in common parlance before then.
From that point, several different music historians indulged in sloppier and sloppier research, until jawharp as an origin progressed from baseless conjecture to absolute "truth".

An important fact to consider is that the name Jew's harp in not considered a slur only because of the historic persecution of Jews.
It is also because of the negative image the instrument has endured in the United States.
(If, say, French toast were used only for hog feed here, the French might well be insulted by the term).

And even though aficionados of the Jew's harp are aware that in most of the world - perhaps even most especially in Europe -- the instrument has been revered, not reviled, the fact remains that perceptions can be as important as fact.
A perceived slur can hurt as much as an intended one.

English is a fluid, flexible, and capricious language.
Whether Jew's harp, trump, jawharp, or something else enters popular usage cannot really be dictated.

Some vaguely interesting historical data...

Found throughout Europe, Asia and the Pacific, except Australia, no pre-Columbian traces have been discovered in the Americas.
Until introduced as a trade item by Europeans, none were found on the African continent.
It is found everywhere in Russia.
Bamboo and wooden lamellate types are found in the Pacific, SE Asia and in China except in Northern China (where the classical form of the Jew's Harp was an iron idioglot lamellate type).
Through European colonization, the bow-shaped metal Jew's Harp was introduced into the Americas, Africa and Australia mainly by the Dutch and English for North America.
In Siberia and Mongolia, the Jew's Harp was used to both induce trance and to heal the sick. Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer is said to have used the Jew's Harp therapeutically in psychotherapy.

Iron Koukins - Found in Japan in 1990 (1000 years old) In those times it has been determined that      iron=power (not toys)

Old frames found in Germany.
These instruments are often mentioned as the oldest known from Europe, but there are large numbers excavated from earlier dates, some Anglo-Saxon and some Carolingian.
Several are claimed to come from the Roman era, but there are those who dispute this.

Jew's harps were a common peddler's goods during the 16th century (as well as earlier and later).

Documents show that on May 8, 1593, a Spanish exploratory party was involved in a transaction of 500 Jew's Harps with the natives of NE South America. 
In a letter to Richard Bentley, Horace Walpole writes, "This very morning I found that part of the purchase of Maryland from the savage proprietors (for we do not massacre, we are such good Christians as only to cheat) was a quantity of vermillion and a parcel of Jew's Harps!"

The iron works at Saugus, Massachusetts (which is near Boston) were producing Jew's Harps as early as about 1650.
 
The June 24, 1660 Parliament lists them among the products requiring an import rate in the colonies. At the turn of the century, 10 gross of Jew's Harps are found in the inventory of three Dutch New York merchants alone.
These instruments are also listed in Virginia newspaper advertisements during the middle of the 18th century (the Virginia Gazette is one example).

One land deed of 1677 lists 100 Jew's Harps among the items given as payment for a tract of Indian land. In fact, the use of Jew's Harps as a barter item with the Indians continued till as late as 1815 and 1820.

During the period from approximately 1765, Austrian composer and organist and one of Beethoven's music teachers, Johann George Alberchtsberger, wrote a number of concerti for the Jew's Harp.

17th and 18th Century Archaeological research uncovers Jew's Harps from Maine to Florida throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.
More than 120 have been recovered from one site in Michigan alone.
Conclusive evidence of the use of the Jew's Harp is by no means abundant, except for the fact that practically all of the Jew's Harps which have been archaeological finds have been in dis-repair, which means the tongues were broken and missing.
Which says, if they were not playing them and were using them only for barter, then the tongues would not have been broken.
Breakage means usage.

The majority of the Jew's Harps are found in rubbish heaps and down wells, obviously discarded as useless.
Jew's Harps were not only present in the North American colonies, they were being used, and broken, in substantial numbers.

"Woman is said to be like a Jew's Harp because she is nothing without a tongue and must be pressed to the lips...Then she is music for the soul." 

Vaya,

Scouts Out!
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« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2005, 06:42:22 pm »

that's interesting, I had no idea it had been around so long.

I ain't going to say anything about that last line. It could be loaded,

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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2005, 02:52:02 pm »

to anyone who saw that post before I deleted it...OOPS!!"Talking" when I should have been reading a bit closer...My apolgies to all....
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Stina
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2005, 05:18:48 pm »

I have a musical instrument from Sweden, a nyckelharpa (key fiddle), which much predates our time period.  Well, not the one I have, which is new, but the instrument in general has been around since the 1300s (yes, the 12th century!!)  It suits my persona as a Swedish immigrant woman, so I hope to be bringing it to shoots when appropriate.  Guess I ought to learn some American tunes....

Stina
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Joyce (AnnieLee)
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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2005, 05:41:31 pm »

My son Will is currently on his fourth Jew/Jaw Harp. He's broken the other three through use.  I know I am biased, but he isn't bad with one!

Cheesy

AnnieLee, okie with one, but not as good as Will.
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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2005, 07:12:42 pm »

Just a couple of comments on above posts:
1. The 'Harp' as described above in detail has been a staple for many cultures. One thing many folks experience when trying to play it is the inevitable wacking of their teeth, and Boy Howdy!, it does hurt! Those with a cultural bent for music and talent, would then revert to what they learned as a child and use their finger and lips, making a sound similar to what we hear when you take your index finger and quickly move it up then down over your lips and repeat while making a tone from the mouth. To get a sound akin to the Jaw/Jews Harp you simply need to 'sing' the melody while increasing the finger motion, and to make it sound completely like an instrument hold your nose closed with the thumb and index finger of the other hand, alternating closing and opening the nose, it'll give the sound what is called an 'overtone' and it really, truly, does sound like what an instrument could produce.
First try a simple tune, then increase the speed of the flipper finger and adjust your breathing, soon you'll be doing 'Sandy Hook', 'Turkey in the straw' and other Old Time tunes like a pro! If you want a demo, look me up at the NCOWS Convention. Of course, the Master of the Jews Harp will be there as well, Runner will no doubt entertain and amaze us with his expertise and performance. LAst year, he had tohe whole room spellbound with his machinations, up, down, sideways, loud, soft, you name it he produced a sound that was next to perfect from his Harp! It WAS impressive and the term AWESOME was of little merit.
2. Regarding the organs, a number of years ago I had a chance to buy what was said to be the complete set of wooden pipes from an organ built into the original walls of a Methodist Church organ in a small river town just up the road. The Church had been decommissioned and the building sold for a house. Many of the wooden pipes are 6-8 long, others are shorter and some are metal cones with the obvious tone slot so it must have been a smaller type of organ. Alas, as time has passed and life advanced, my desire to assemble them into a working piece or display has vanished, if anyone reading this knows of an interested party I'd consider selling or trading for the lot. They are presently stacked in my barn and as dry as the day I put them there a decade ago, the straw is free.
3. We also had a wood Pipe Organ in the family once, as a kid I would 'push' down on the foot pumps and my dear Aunt would play it. It had all the pretty old-style turnings and keys, several layers and shelves with intricate designs. It got sold at their retirement auction when I was away or else it would still be collecting dust and annoying the dogs.
Best regards and gimme a High 'C'!
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« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2005, 11:50:32 pm »

I play period banjos from about ca. 1830 all the way to modern designs. The oldest patterns are based around a gourd body with a skin head tacked over it.

I also play an 1890s guitar, and a couple fiddles that are pre Civil War.

www.whitetreeaz.com/cd/ for more info
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« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2006, 10:31:56 pm »

I gots me a Jew's Harp, but ain' no good at it.  I do like to annoy the family sometimes with it though.  They don't understand me much anyway.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2006, 12:20:54 am »

That's right.

We don't.
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« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2006, 09:01:27 pm »

MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2006, 11:01:57 pm »

Trinity, Mom's holdin' a finger up for you, an' she ain't usin' it to tell you "SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"
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« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2006, 10:15:59 pm »

Meany!  I'm going to tell Dad when he returns from his "business" trip!
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« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2006, 08:33:21 pm »

 Grin

Play the Harp (Celtic, Irish lowhead & Welsh triplestrung), Guitar, violin, organ(reed), Shofar (Rams Horn), Dumbeck(Middle Eastern drum), tamberine, Recorder., etc et nausium.

There were many instruments. Grin

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« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2006, 11:47:45 pm »

The typical lap dulcimer, called Appalachian dulcimer, etc. didn't really come into use in it's most commonly seen form until after the turn of the 20th century. I used to build and play them.
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« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2006, 03:00:56 am »

I play harmonica and Native American flute.There was a thing called a rollmonica,it had a harp on the side and a player sheet on the inside like a playere piano and you blew in one end and turned a crank while blowing.Not sure when they were made.Been wantin to get me one..I see them ever onc and awhile and there is a guy that mkes the perfortted rolls from originals that he finds...
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« Reply #23 on: September 17, 2006, 08:27:07 pm »

I play harmonica and Native American flute.There was a thing called a rollmonica,it had a harp on the side and a player sheet on the inside like a playere piano and you blew in one end and turned a crank while blowing.Not sure when they were made.Been wantin to get me one..I see them ever onc and awhile and there is a guy that mkes the perfortted rolls from originals that he finds...

Sounds like an instrument I can actually play! 
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« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2009, 10:23:44 am »

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/smhtml/smhome.html

http://www.lib.unc.edu/music/eam/search.html?browse=series&Vol=New



Wanted to add a couple interesting sites to this thread on 19th cent. music.
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"I was born by the river in a little tent, and just like the river I've been running ever since." - Sam Cooke
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