Category Archives: Medieval Life

Geoffroi de Charny

I don’t very often write posts about famous or important people in the Middle Ages these days, but Geoffroi de Charny is worth looking at for many reasons, not least because he wrote a book about chivalry: Le Livre de Chevalerie. He also had the responsibility of carrying the Oriflamme, the King of France’s personal standard, and was the first owner that can be verified of the Shroud of Turin.

De Charny’s date of birth is not known, but his mother died in 1306. He was, therefore, probably born in the first few years of the fourteenth century. Although strictly speaking noble, he came from a junior branch of a junior branch of a great family. He had no land, no money and knew no one of any influence to help him. His first wife died after 1341 and his second wife was Jeanne de Vergy with whom he had two children. She brought him land and money, but, by that time, he had already come a long way by his own efforts.

The first major campaign he fought in was in 1337, at the beginning of the Hundred Years War. He fought first in Aquitaine, where Edward III was the duke. Later, when Edward III began creating alliances in the Low Countries, de Charny went to the north east of France, where he helped defend Tournai against the English and their allies. In 1341 Edward’s military interest moved to Brittany and de Charny was sent there, only to be captured and taken to England as a prisoner. He was released and allowed to return to France to find his ransom, which he did. By the following year he had been knighted.

Possibly bored by the lack of action once he was back in Brittany, de Charny joined a crusade against the Turks in Smyrna, arriving there in June 1346. He wasn’t terribly impressed by the experience, referring to it later as almost a martyrdom. He was probably back in France late in the summer of 1346 and was sent back to Aquitaine, thus missing the battle of Crécy in which much of the French army was killed in August. After they had defeated the French at Crécy, the English besieged Calais and Philippe VI sent for de Charny, who had a bit of a reputation for breaking sieges. De Charny went to Edward III, ostensibly to negotiate an end to the siege, but in reality to assess the English fortifications. What he saw made him advise Philippe VI against trying to break the siege, not that the king had any intention of throwing his newly-gathered army against the English. The French retreated and Calais eventually surrendered to the English.

The defeat of the French at Crécy and the loss of Calais led to changes in Philippe’s court and de Charny became a member of the king’s council. Since Philippe was not in a position to fight a war at the time (partly due to the unwillingness of the French to pay taxes for an army which had failed to protect them and partly to the Black Death) de Charny was entrusted with the task of negotiating truces. He was very successful in this diplomatic role. At the same time, however, he was behind an attempt to regain Calais by bribery at the end of 1349. He was betrayed and a small force led by Edward III and his son, Edward of Woodstock, defeated the men led by de Charny, who was taken prisoner again. Once more he found himself in England.

This time he couldn’t raise his own ransom, which would have been considerably higher than the sum he had paid in 1341. The new French king paid part of it, Philippe VI having died, and invited de Charny to be a member of the new order of chivalry that he founded in 1352. The Order of the Star was based on the Order of the Garter, created by Edward III in 1349 (or 1347 or 1348). There have only ever been 24 Garter knights at any one time and the order still exists today. Jean II originally intended to appoint over 500 knights and the Order of the Star fell apart after the French defeat at the battle of Poitiers in 1356, when 80 (possibly 90) of its members were killed and the king himself was taken prisoner by the English.

Once he had taken his revenge on the man who had betrayed him at Calais, decapitating him and quartering his body, de Charny wrote, probably at the request of the king, three books on chivalry. In 1347 and from 1355 until his death de Charny was the bearer of the Oriflamme, the personal standard of the King of France, which was a great honour. It was carried at the front of the French ranks in battle. Its bearer promised not to abandon it. It was an oath that de Charny kept. At the Battle of Poitiers he was killed and fell with the banner still in his hands.

Next week we’ll have a closer look at what happened in Calais in 1349, as it’s an interesting story.

Sources:
The Book of Chivalry by Geoffroi de Charny trans. Richard W. Kaeuper and Elspeth Kennedy
The Origins of the Shroud of Turin in History Today November 2014 by Charles Freeman

April Munday is the author of the Soldiers of Fortune and Regency Spies series of novels, as well as standalone novels set in the fourteenth century.

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Medieval Advent

Mattana, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Today is the first Sunday in Advent. Advent does not, as I’ve read in more than one place, begin on the last Sunday in November. Mostly it does, but occasionally it begins on the first Sunday in December. The crucial thing is that Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. Unlike Lent, the other great fasting period of the Middle Ages, it isn’t a set period. It varies in length from year to year.

For the people of the Middle Ages, Advent was a time of preparation for Christmas. It wasn’t Christmas itself, as many of my neighbours think, since Christmas trees and Christmas decorations are already appearing in these parts. Advent was, and is, the beginning of the church year and it was a serious time. It was such a serious time that people had to fast. Fasting meant abstaining from meat, not abstaining from food altogether. This showed them that this time was different from the rest of the year. It was a time for reflecting on the past and thinking about the future.

Doom Painting

Advent wasn’t just about preparing for the baby in the manger; it was also about preparing for the second coming of Christ. Everyone in the Middle Ages was aware that Christ was coming again and would judge mankind. Most parish churches had a doom painting somewhere on their walls. Doom paintings showed what we would call the Last Judgement, when Christ judges everyone, living and dead, sending them to Heaven or Hell.

Doom paintings, such as the illustrations to this post, are quite frightening. They show the two different fates awaiting everyone, living or dead. Usually, those judged righteous are assisted to Heaven by angels, while demons with sharp teeth, claws and instruments of torture carry the unrighteous to Hell. I should think that seeing one of those every time you went to church, which would have been more than once a week, would have had a very salutary effect on your behaviour.

April Munday is the author of the Soldiers of Fortune and Regency Spies series of novels, as well as standalone novels set in the fourteenth century.

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Medieval Heralds

Last week we looked at heraldry, so it only seems right that we should look this week at the men whose role it was to be so thoroughly acquainted with the arms of knights from all over Europe that they could identify them on a crowded battlefield just from a banner like the ones in the picture above.

The role of the herald developed and changed over the course of the Middle Ages. Initially they were no more than minstrels who opened and closed the proceedings at a tournament, but over time they became the emissaries and spokesmen of kings.

Their only connection with the battlefield to begin with was the tournament. In their early days, though, this was not as remote a connection as it became later. Tournaments were originally very violent, involving large numbers of men fighting one another over huge swathes of countryside, and they could get out of control. The more sedate tournaments in enclosed spaces that were well-behaved enough to be viewed by women came much later.

Tournaments were associated with fairs and general entertainment, which meant music and minstrels. Heralds began as minstrels, starting and ending tournaments by sounding their trumpets, but they managed to turn their role into something far more substantial. This caused jealousy among the other minstrels, who said that the heralds were corrupt, which some of them undoubtedly were.

Tournaments were events that needed to be organised, taking months and even years of preparation. Heralds were an integral part of this. They planned the tournaments and knew how they were supposed to proceed. Once the arrangements were made, they took the invitations to the invited participants.

When the tournament started, the heralds introduced the knights who were going to take part, praising their skill and bravery. By the time that tournaments had become a spectator sport rather than a rehearsal for war, the spectators were interested in knowing who the participants were.

During the tournament, the heralds gave the command to start the jousts. They were also the tournament referees and recorded what happened during the course of the tournament. They judged, or helped to judge, who the winners were and awarded the prizes.

Under a statute of Edward I to prevent open warfare at tournaments, heralds and other tournament officials were not permitted to carry weapons. Servants of participating knights and the spectators were also prohibited from carrying arms. Tournaments had been banned in England altogether during the reign of Edward I’s father, Henry III, for fear of knights meeting together there with their retinues and fomenting revolution. It was all too possible that trained knights could turn their expertise on the king, taking their armed followers with them.

Towards the end of the Middle Ages, heralds were advising on chivalric disputes arising from a tournament. By then, though, they had an important role elsewhere.

Since heralds could identify participants at a tournament from their arms, they were also useful on the battlefield. It was helpful to know who the knights on the other side were and whether they had reputations as good fighters or were men of little experience. A herald would know those details.

At the beginning of an engagement heralds were probably taking notes of who was in the opposing army by reference to their banners, which would have been visible while the two sides were waiting for the other to attack. It’s thought that one of their roles was to report the heroic deeds of knights in battle. This meant that they had to get close to the fiercest fighting, whilst not taking part. Even heralds could make mistakes, though, and the similarities in colour of the arms of some French knights led the English heralds at the battle of Crécy to declare that some knights had died, only to discover later that they had survived.

As it had in tournaments, the herald’s role increased on the battlefield. They eventually became officers of the crown and served as emissaries, spokesmen and diplomats. They had come a long way from being mere entertainers.

Sources:
The Road to Crecy by Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel
Tournaments by Richard Barber and Juliet Barker
The Tournament in England by Juliet Barker
The Battle of Crécy, 1346 by Andrew Ayton and Philip Preston

April Munday is the author of the Soldiers of Fortune and Regency Spies series of novels, as well as standalone novels set in the fourteenth century.

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Medieval Heraldry

I mentioned a while ago that I’m reading The Canterbury Tales and there are many things in them that are worth writing about here. In the first tale, that of the knight, two young men are identified on a battlefield because they’re wearing devices on their clothing. Chaucer, who had fought (and been taken prisoner) in the Hundred Years War, would have known this detail. It’s probably not too fanciful to imagine that his own value as a prisoner was recognised due to the livery he was wearing when he was captured. He went to France in the retinue of Lionel of Antwerp, a son of Edward III, and it was the king himself who paid Chaucer’s ransom.

As armour developed and covered a knight’s body, including his face, identifying him in battle became more difficult. Devices were created so that those around the knight would know who he was, which was useful both for his own men and o for the knight who would be identified to the other side as someone worth capturing for ransom rather than killing. Devices were shown on shields, banners and surcoats (open-sided tunics worn over armour, as shown in the picture above). They were also appliquéd onto banners, for those who had the right to bear them.

Originally arms were very simple e.g. the three lions of England, the fleur-de-lys of France, the three leopards of Anjou. There were also chevrons, bends, crosses and eagles. They were made in bright colours: red, blue, white and yellow. For the king, gold, silver and silk would be used. Subtle differences in colour could lead to confusion, however.

 When they were inherited by more than one son, the arms had to be changed to identify that son, so devices were quartered as sons took the devices of both their parents. Hence Edward III had three lions from his father as well as the fleur-de-lys from his mother, to show his claim to the French crown.

Heraldry was also useful in jousts so the audience would know who the competitors were. By the fourteenth century it was a sport and everyone liked to be able to identify the participants. Their identities were known because of what they were wearing, but also because the heralds would announce their names. The heralds at tournaments had to know how to identify foreign participants as well. It wasn’t just heralds who were supposed to be able to identify coats of arms, though. It was knowledge that every knight needed to have.

Arms were displayed everywhere: on silver, on the walls of halls, on embroidered vestments given to churches, on church windows, on church walls, on tombs and monuments. They appeared on the knight’s surcoat, his horse’s trappings and his shield. They were on tiles, wall paintings, seals, in manuscripts, on caskets, chests and plate. It was a way of showing that someone was a member of the elite.

Heraldic devices were originally personal, but became hereditary by the twelfth century. They changed from being a way to identify someone to being a sign of lineage, family honour and pride: a way of maintaining an identity. Heroic actions done by previous holders of the arms were attached to the arms themselves, increasing the reputation of the man currently holding them. Some people adopted the arms of the local nobility into their own to share a little of their glory. In Cheshire some families included the wheatsheaf that was used by the early of Chester.

In a battle, soldiers were identified by the arms of their lord. They were in small retinues, with each retinue leader answerable to a more important lord. It was vital for order that a coat of arms should not be used by more than one lord. At the beginning of fourteenth century notes and drawings started to be made about the arms being used so that the heralds could keep track of them.

Disputes about duplications of arms arose after the battle of Crécy at the siege of Calais. If the two knights bearing the same arms weren’t in the same army, it didn’t really matter if they had the same arms. Armies tended to be regional, so an army gathered to fight the Scots would come from the north and it wouldn’t matter if someone in Yorkshire had the same arms as someone in Hampshire, because they wouldn’t usually be called to serve together. There could only be confusion when both were fighting in the same army, which happened during Edward III’s war with France.

There was a court in fourteenth century specifically for trying cases of misappropriation of heraldic devices – the Court of Chivalry. It also dealt with questions about ransoms for men taken prisoner in France. In 1386 Geoffrey Chaucer was called before this court to give evidence in the dispute between Sir Richard Scrope and Sir Robert Grosvenor. They were cousins and Chaucer said that he had seen both using the same coat of arms at Rettel. This was near Rheims where Chaucer had gone as part of Lionel of Antwerp’s retinue in 1360 in Edward III’s campaign to be crowned king of France. It was also where Chaucer was taken prisoner. The case lasted from 1385 to 1390 and was decided in favour of Sir Richard. Of the two he was the most distinguished, having served Edward III with distinction on his French campaigns. He had also been Richard II’s chancellor.

It’s no wonder that, when he came to write his Canterbury Tales, Chaucer remembered how important a coat of arms could be. Sadly, the two knights in his tale didn’t enjoy the happy ending that Chaucer himself had.

Sources:
Tournaments by Richard Barber and Juliet Barker
The Knight and Chivalry by Richard Barber
Edward III and the Triumph of England by Richard Barber
A Social History of England ed Rosemary Horrox and W. Mark Ormrod
The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer by Derek Pearsall

April Munday is the author of the Soldiers of Fortune and Regency Spies series of novels, as well as standalone novels set in the fourteenth century.

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Medieval Musicians

We’ve spent the last couple of months looking at and listening to medieval musical instruments and I thought it would be interesting to look at the people who played the instruments.

Just as today, music was everywhere in the Middle Ages. It was in church; it was at celebrations; it was at dances; and it was in entertainments. Much of it was played and sung by professional musicians, but lots of people would have been able to make and play basic instruments. Everybody, of course, could sing.

Whoever you were in medieval society, you heard music in church. It had a large part to play in the liturgy, since most of the offices were sung. In monasteries the singing was led by the precentor. There were those, however, who didn’t approve of music in worship, especially in convents, as it was too sensual and could lead those who heard it to sin.

The precentor wasn’t the only professional musician in the Middle Ages. Jongleurs were itinerant musicians. Whether they travelled alone or in groups, music wasn’t their only source of income. They were all round entertainers, telling stories, preforming tricks, singing and playing instruments. They were at the bottom of the ladder of paid musicians.

Minstrels were a bit higher up the social scale and had permanent employment for at least part of the year in the court of a nobleman or in a town. They also travelled, presumably in the summer, since Queen Philippa provided livery for the minstrels of her court in the winter. She would only provide clothes for them if they were working for her at that time. Unlike the jongleurs, they only played and sang. Minstrels obviously wore distinctive clothes, for men who wished to make a good impression were told not to dress like them. Monks were told not to watch their performances for fear of being led into sin.

If you’re a regular reader, you saw the picture at the top of the post last week. It shows a group of musicians entertaining a king. As an aside, you can always recognise a king in medieval art, as he’ll be wearing a crown, whether he’s in a battle, in bed or dead. The musicians in the picture are troubadours, elite court musicians.

Some troubadours were themselves nobles, but professional troubadours also performed in courts. They composed the words and music of their own songs, although these were often performed by minstrels or jongleurs. It’s unlikely that they wrote down their compositions, since the collections of troubadour songs that have been discovered were mostly written down after the death of the composer.

The tradition of troubadours began in the twelfth century in south-west France, but spread very quickly across Europe. Surprisingly, women could be troubadours. Jongleurs could become troubadours, but they had to compose and perform well and they also had to fit in at a court. Richard I was a troubadour and wrote songs in French. When we think of troubadours, we think of love songs, but they also sang about politics and morality. They composed ballads and songs for dancing.

Dancing, as it was in most ages, was very popular in the Middle Ages. There were few enclosed spaces large enough for dancing unless you were very rich, so most people danced in the open air, often in the churchyard. Dancing on top of the graves of my ancestors doesn’t appeal to me, but that obviously wasn’t a problem for my ancestors themselves. You didn’t need much in the way of instruments to get a dance going; a drum would probably be enough. Pipes were easy enough to make, though, so people would have a tune to help them to recognise the dance. Most medieval dance music wasn’t written down, but was performed from memory, as were the steps.

Music accompanied plays. These were usually performed outside in the summer, possibly with professional minstrels.

To end this series, here is a performance of Ave Maris Stella, of which we’ve heard a few versions over the last few weeks. I’ve included it partly because it’s played on a medieval organ, but mainly because of the very obvious joy of the musician, who we’ve also come across before.

Sources:
A History of Western Music by J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca
The Senses in Late Medieval England by C.M. Woolgar

April Munday is the author of the Soldiers of Fortune and Regency Spies series of novels, as well as standalone novels set in the fourteenth century.

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Medieval Musical Instruments Part Fourteen

In this final post of the series I’m going to be rather lazy and cover a group of instruments. This is percussion. We’ve already come across a percussion instrument when we looked at the pipe and tabor.

Medieval percussion was, of course, wider than drums. There were also nakers, tambourines, chime bells, cymbals and triangles.

Nakers were kettledrums. Like so many other medieval instruments, they came from the Middle East with returning Crusaders and the name comes from an Arabic word that means ‘to strike’. They are the ancestor of the timpani and were usually played in pairs, as they are today in mounted military bands. Since they had to be carried by the musician, they weren’t large.

They were bowl-shaped drums, originally made from clay with an animal skin stretched over the opening. The skin was attached by string around the rim of the drum and beaten with sticks. The vibrations of the skin were amplified by the interior space.

Although it’s unlikely that anyone played like this in the Middle Ages, this video will give you an idea of what it would have looked like.

Tambourines are more or less what you think they are. Animal skin is stretched over a circular wooden frame. Objects that jingle or rattle are inserted into horizontal slits in the frame. Here’s a picture of a third-century Roman woman playing one.

Triumph of Bacchus – Sousse.jpg: Unknown authorderivative work: Clusternote, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I think the chime bells are my favourite piece of medieval percussion. They are tiny bells in different sizes. The smaller the size of the bell the higher its pitch.

This video appeared on the first blog in the series, when I was writing about the medieval recorder. It starts, though, with bells. The CD cover shows someone playing a set with wooden hammers.

Here’s another piece played on bells.

Cymbals are ancient instruments. They’re shaped rather like a broad-brimmed hat. They’re made of metal and there’s a hole in the centre through which a strap could be attached. The player held the strap and hit the cymbal with a stick. The width, height and thickness of the cymbal affected its pitch and its volume, but I suspect that none of that was particularly important in any musical ensemble that wasn’t playing in a royal or aristocratic household.

The medieval triangle was like the modern triangle, being made of a metal rod bent into the form of a triangle and hit with another metal rod. It had two differences, though. There was no gap where one of the bottom corners should be and it was not in the shape of an equilateral triangle. You can see one in this fourteenth-century picture. The gentleman in red is playing a triangle and the one on the far left is playing nakers. Early medieval triangles also had jingles along the bottom, which must have made an interesting noise.

Fortunately, you don’t have to imagine the noise it made. Here’s a demonstration.

Sources:
A History of Western Music by J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca

April Munday is the author of the Soldiers of Fortune and Regency Spies series of novels, as well as standalone novels set in the fourteenth century.

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Medieval Musical Instruments Part Thirteen

Multimann, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The cornett was a late medieval instrument that came into its own in the Renaissance, when it was often played in consorts with sackbuts, a type of trombone.

It was a wooden instrument, made from a piece of wood split in half lengthwise. The interior of each half was removed and the two halves were joined together forming a tube. Holes were bored at the front and back. The two pieces of wood were glued together and wrapped in a piece of leather to keep everything in place. The fingering system is very like that of the recorder, in that it has six holes at the front and one at the back for the left thumb, but the cornett looks very different. It’s slightly curved and has a mouthpiece made out of horn, bone or ivory, similar to that used with brass instruments.

The sound is produced by making the lips vibrate against the mouthpiece and the pitch of the notes is changed by covering or uncovering the holes.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a piece played by a medieval cornett, but this Renaissance piece will give you a good idea of the sound. I have no idea why the player is playing it from the side of his mouth. In other videos and pictures I’ve seen, the instrument is played from the middle of the mouth, as you would expect.

Sources:
A History of Western Music by J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca

April Munday is the author of the Soldiers of Fortune and Regency Spies series of novels, as well as standalone novels set in the fourteenth century.

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Medieval Musical Instruments Part Twelve

The portative organ that we looked at last week was a small, portable organ, played by a single person. It’s close relative, the positive organ was larger and took two people to operate. It was usually set upon a table for playing.

Generally it had twice as many pipes as the portative organ and a larger keyboard. Whereas the portative organ had one bellows, the positive organ had two. This meant that the player could use two hands on the keyboard, leaving him no hands free to pump the air into the pipes. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on with the bellows in the picture at the top of the post, but I think the reality must have resembled what you’ll see in the video, rather than the weird, man-size bellows connected to the pipes by a tube that looks like it could eat the player for breakfast and hardly notice.

We noticed last week that there was a lot of co-ordination required between the hand playing the keys and the hand pumping the bellows on the portative organ. That wasn’t really possible when someone else was doing the pumping, even more so when they couldn’t see the hands of the player, so it made sense to have two bellows ensuring that the organ never ran out of air.

In this video you can see that dealing with the bellows is not as easy as you might think. The chap managing them has to make sure that there is a constant flow of air to the pipes, which means co-ordinating the bellows. He doesn’t have to push them down, just lift them up and he lifts one while the other is descending.

Sources:
A History of Western Music by J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca

April Munday is the author of the Soldiers of Fortune and Regency Spies series of novels, as well as standalone novels set in the fourteenth century.

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Medieval Musical Instruments Part Eleven

Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=493264

These week’s instrument is as sweet in sound as it is amusing in looks. The portative organ is, as its name suggests, an organ that could be carried. It has a single set of pipes arranged in two rows and a keyboard. The pipes are set into what is essentially a wooden box on which is mounted a structure to keep them upright.

The pipes are wooden tubes through which a set of bellows forces air. The tubes are different lengths, with the shorter ones being higher pitched and the longer ones being lower. A key is depressed and the corresponding pipe is opened. The pipe works in the same way as a recorder, with the air being split over a labium, producing the vibrations that make sounds.

The player played the keys with the right hand and pumped the bellows with the left. You’ll notice in the videos below that that this requires quite a lot of co-ordination. The portative organ had a very close relative in the positive organ, which was very similar, but sat on a table. The bellows (there were two) on this instrument were pumped by a second person, allowing the player to use both hands on the keyboard.

As you can see in the picture above, there was a strap that the player wore to keep the organ close to their body. I’m not sure why the angel is wearing it, though, as that must have made everything unstable.

It’s another quiet instrument suitable for playing indoors.

As you can hear in this video, it could be played with the ever-popular drone.

Here’s another haunting performance from Catalina Vicens.

In this video you’ll see a completely different playing style.

Sources:
A History of Western Music by J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca

April Munday is the author of the Soldiers of Fortune and Regency Spies series of novels, as well as standalone novels set in the fourteenth century.

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Medieval Musical Instruments Part Ten

Lute player on far right

This week we’re looking at another stringed instrument with frets: the lute. As is the case with many medieval instruments, it came to Europe from the Arab world, where its closest relative is the oud.

The lute has a very long history. There are examples of lutes (or a very similar instrument) depicted in Egyptian art over 5,000 years ago and the carving at the top of the post dates from the first century AD. Although the lute was popular in the Middle Ages, it was during the Renaissance that it came into its own.

Like the other stringed instruments we’ve seen, it had a body and a neck. The strings were attached to tuning pegs, which were at an angle to the neck. It could be played with a plectrum, or it could be plucked with the fingers. There were frets on the fingerboard, although there was some variety in the number of them.

By Masaccio – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67530858

The body was made from thin strips of wood glued together and the sound board was glued to the front. It usually had two intricately carved holes, one behind the bridge and one just beyond the reach of the player’s fingers at the bottom of the neck. As you’ll see in one of the videos, the player could form notes by pressing strings against the soundboard itself.

The lute could have anywhere between four and ten gut strings. When there were more than five, they were strung in pairs. This was taken to extremes in the Renaissance with fifteen strings or more.

Again, like other stringed instruments it was very quiet and suitable for playing indoors only.

This video includes one of my favourite medieval tunes: the Trotto. There’s also a bit more information about the medieval lute and its construction.

There’s only one tune in this video, but it’s quite fun.

This video has no medieval music in it, in fact the music is baroque as is the lute, but I couldn’t write about the lute and not include something played by Elizabeth Kenny.

Sources:
A History of Western Music by J. Peter Burkholder, Donald Jay Grout and Claude V. Palisca

April Munday is the author of the Soldiers of Fortune and Regency Spies series of novels, as well as standalone novels set in the fourteenth century.

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