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Aulos  

Annie Bélis

(Gk.; Lat. tibia).

A Greek reed instrument. It was the most important of the ancient Greek wind instruments. (The term has often been mistranslated ‘flute’ by modern scholars.)

The aulos occupied an important place in Greek civilization. Information about the instrument and its use is to be found in many and varied sources extending over a period of some ten centuries. The sources fall into three main categories: texts and written records, iconographic sources and archaeological sources.

Numerous references to the aulos exist throughout Greek literature, but several works (or parts of works) contain information of a more technical nature: for example, books iv and xiv of Athenaeus’s Sophists at Dinner; Pseudo-Plutarch’s On Music; fragments of treatises with remarks about the instrument’s bore; notes by lexicographers; and scholia to tragic and comic writers and lyric poets. No works specifically devoted to the aulos appear to have survived: only the titles of works and the names of certain authors are known, for example, the treatises ...

Article

Jane McIntosh Snyder

(late Gk. barbiton)

Greek instrument of the Lyre family (a Chordophone). In Greek literature and vase painting it is generally associated with the Eastern Greek poets (including Terpander, Sappho, Alcaeus and Anacreon) of the Archaic period (7th and 6th centuries bce), and with drinking parties. The name of the instrument, probably of non-Greek derivation, occurs only once in the fragments of these early poets (in Alcaeus, ed. E.-M. Voigt, Sappho et Alcaeus: Fragmenta, 1971, frag.70.4, in the dialect form barmos), but it is frequently mentioned by later Greek writers, who attribute the instrument's ‘invention’ variously to Terpander or Anacreon. The arrival of Anacreon in Athens as a court poet in the late 6th century coincides with the sudden appearance of the barbitos in Athenian vase paintings, many of which show him as a player. As the chief string instrument used to accompany Dionysiac revelry, it is only occasionally depicted in the hands of Muses or of women entertaining themselves at home....

Article

Joachim Braun

The various musical instruments mentioned in the Bible (Old and New Testaments). The nature and significance of the biblical instruments has been the subject of considerable discussion from the early Middle Ages onwards. The following article focusses on the meaning of the words as they appear in the original languages of the various biblical texts (Heb., Aramaic, Gk.), using archaeological evidence and other literary sources to establish as far as possible the identity of the individual terms; it also addresses the interpretation of other musical terminology in the Bible. (See also Jewish music, §II.)

References to particular biblical passages follow the Revised Standard Version and the abbreviation IAA is used for the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The controversy surrounding the identity and significance of the ‘biblical instruments’ derives from the complexity of the original source. Even the term itself is ambiguous, since it may denote the instruments of the period described by any given text of the Bible, those of the period and environment in which the written tradition originated, or those that have remained in the memory of society from a certain stage of the oral tradition. Furthermore, should a reference to an instrument be regarded as a theological symbol or a historical document? Must it be placed in the relevant context by archaeological finds before it may be regarded as concrete fact? It is possible to discuss the subject only if an interdisciplinary approach is adopted involving ‘new and processual archaeology’, recent studies of the Pentateuch, and modern archaeomusicology. Although the organological information provided by the biblical texts themselves is scanty, the social and symbolic context of the music can often be established quite precisely (see Kolari, ...

Article

Buccina  

James W. McKinnon

[Bucina] (Gk. bukanē)

A curved Roman brass instrument (an Aerophone). It is less easily definable than its contemporaries owing to the scarcity of iconographic evidence and the ambiguity of the literary references, some of which confuse it with the Cornu. The majority of evidence, nevertheless, points to a distinct instrument. Originally it was a curved animal’s horn but it came to be covered with brass and even to be fashioned entirely from brass. Its musical capability seems to have been limited to a few pitches of the overtone series; this would agree with the literary references, which consistently attributed to it a signalling function.

In earlier times it was associated with country folk, particularly shepherds, and although it became primarily a military instrument, it maintained something of this early association throughout the classical period. Roman authors described the herding of sheep and the summoning together of rural communities as among its early uses. The later, more common, military references give the impression that it was used within the camp, unlike the more powerful tuba (...

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Calamus  

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Chang  

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Cloch  

Peter Crossley-Holland

Clapper-bell of ancient and medieval Wales. Several types were known, all with suspension loops. They include one quadrangular and one circular bell of Romano-British (La Tène) type, found in the Vale of Neath, and Celtic ‘saints’ bells’, including a long quadrangular bell now in the National Museum of Wales. Historical references to the cloch date from the 12th century, but the traditional performing practice has not survived....

Article

Cornu  

James W. McKinnon

A Roman brass instrument second only to the tuba (see Tuba) in importance (it is classified as an Aerophone). It consisted of a long bronze tube, curved into a shape resembling the letter ‘G’, the lower extremity having a large detachable mouthpiece and the upper having a flared bell projecting forwards horizontally. It was held in a nearly vertical position while an ornamented wooden bar extended from top to bottom, serving both as a grip and as a strengthening member. To judge from pictorial representations, it had a circumference of about 3 metres (see illustration).

Like the Lituus it appears to have been of Etruscan origin and, also like that instrument, is said to have been a later modification of the tuba, the straight trumpet. This hypothesis is quite plausible in view of the priority of the tuba; but it must be reconciled with another widely held view: that the cornu was originally an animal's horn like the ...

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Article

Crotala  

James W. McKinnon and Robert Anderson

[crotales] (Lat.; Gr. krotala)

A term for an instrument resembling slapsticks, although sometimes described by scholars as castanets (it is classified as an Idiophone). Crotala were probably the most common percussion instrument of classical antiquity and can be traced back at least as far as the Mesilim or Early Dynastic I period in Mesopotamia. Consisting of two pieces of wood, bone or bronze hinged with leather, they were held in one hand and struck together by the action of fingers and thumb. Normally a pair was held in each hand.

As with other ancient percussion instruments such as the tympanum and cymbala, the most prominent iconographic representation of the crotala was in the orgiastic rites of Dionysus and Cybele, where they were depicted in the hands of dancing women and satyrs. However, their use seems to have extended to every occasion with dancing, whether cult, theatrical or domestic, with the possible exception of highly formalized choral dancing as in the Greek tragedy of the classical period. Etruscan dancers used them; there were female crotala players throughout the Hellenistic world; and stage directions on a 2nd-century Oxyrhynchus papyrus prescribe crotala and tympana as accompaniment to the interlude in a mime performance. (...

Article

Warren Anderson

revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

[Ktesibios]

(fl Alexandria, 3rd century bce). Greek inventor. According to earlier scholarship, he was active during the reign of Ptolemy Euergetes I (246–221 bce). A review of the evidence by Perrot, however, supports the conclusion that he was active about 270 bce, the period of Ptolemy Philadelphus. He enjoyed wide fame in antiquity for his mechanical devices operated by the pressure of water or air. Often these were elaborate toys created to amuse the court: one such was a water-clock, with sounding trumpets among its ingenious fittings, made for Ptolemy's queen Arsinoë.

The most famous and significant of Ctesibius's inventions was the Hydraulis, or water-organ. While some references fail to establish him precisely as its discoverer, his claim is strengthened by the weight of the total evidence and the lack of any satisfactory alternative theory. Farmer argued that the case for Ctesibius is supported by the existence of an Alexandrian treatise, surviving only in Arabic translation; this describes and illustrates a hydraulic musical device of a type much earlier than that described by Vitruvius or by Hero of Alexandria. His attempt, however, to identify the author, a certain Muristus (whose name exists in several variant forms), with Ctesibius is highly conjectural and involves difficulties....

Article

Cymbala  

James W. McKinnon and Hélène La Rue

(Lat., from Gk. kumbalon)

(1) A type of ancient cymbals (an Idiophone). Ancient cymbala were a pair of small, plate-shaped or more often cup-shaped bronze cymbals. (See Cymbals and Tympanum for illustrations.) They were associated in Greco-Roman culture with orgiastic religious rites, where they played ecstasy-inducing music together with the tympanum and the Aulos. They became particularly prominent in Rome after the introduction of the Magna Mater, Cybele, from Asia Minor in 204 bce. They appear on numerous vases and in murals and reliefs; a typical literary reference is that of Catullus who had a young votary of the goddess exclaim: ‘Come follow me to the Phrygian house of Cybele, to the Phrygian grove of the goddess, where the voice of the cymbalum sounds, where the tympanum echoes, where the Phrygian tibia player sings on his deep-toned curved reed, where they celebrate the sacred rites with shrill cries, where the milling crowd of her worshippers rushes to and fro’. Roman conquests in the East and increasing luxury among the ruling classes brought many foreign artists to the capital in the early days of the empire. Exotic dances in taverns and in the streets were performed to the accompaniment of crotala, cymbala, tympana and foreign wind instruments. The instrument was used in biblical times, and early Christian writers when they mention cymbals clearly mean cymbala, as, for example, St Augustine in his commentary on the psalms – the sound as they touch ‘can be compared to our lips’....

Article

James W. McKinnon and Robert Anderson

(Lat., from Gk. kymbalon)

Term, usually appearing in the plural (cymbala) and designating two related musical instruments, a type of ancient cymbals and a medieval set of bells.

Ancient cymbala were a pair of small, plate-shaped or more often cup-shaped bronze cymbals. They were associated in Greco-Roman culture with orgiastic religious rites, where they played ecstasy-inducing music together with the tympanum and the aulos. They became particularly prominent in Rome after the introduction of the Magna Mater, Cybele, from Asia Minor in 204 bce. They appear on numerous vases and in murals and reliefs: a typical literary reference is that of Catullus who had a young votary of the goddess exclaim: ‘Come follow me to the Phrygian house of Cybele, to the Phrygian grove of the goddess, where the voice of the cymbalum sounds, where the tympanum echoes, where the Phrygian tibia player sings on his deep-toned curved reed, where they celebrate the sacred rites with shrill cries, where the milling crowd of her worshippers rushes to and fro.’ Roman conquests in the East and increasing luxury among the ruling classes brought many foreign artists to the capital in the early days of the empire. Exotic dances in taverns and in the streets were executed to the accompaniment of crotala, cymbala, tympana, and foreign wind instruments....

Article

Alastair Dick

The most ancient known drum name of India, found in Sanskrit texts from the late 2nd millennium bce to about the 13th century ce. Its type has not been identified with certainty, but references throughout the period indicate a loud drum connected especially but not exclusively with war. The name is doubtless onomatopoeic.

The Ṛgveda mentions the dundubhi in contexts associated with Indra (god of thunder, war, etc.), and the Yajurveda states that the spirit of the trees resides in it, as in the flute and the harp, thus indicating that it was of wood; the Atharvaveda, in an incantation, has the dundubhi played by ‘the Goddess around the house’, together with the karkarí (probably a chordophone). Ritual texts of the 1st millennium bce record an earth-drum (bhūmidundubhi) used in the winter-solstice rite mahāvrata, which consisted of the hide of the sacrificed beast being stretched over a pit and beaten with its own tail. The association of the dundubhi with war continues in epic and classical literature, and terms such as ...

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Fidicen  

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Halil  

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