MEDIVAL MUSIC TODAY: Travelling by plane with 3D printed instruments

April 16, 2019

A few weeks ago, Silke Gwendolyn Schulze visited Copenhagen with a program of some of the oldest European music from the middles ages, including e.g. the wonderful songs from Alfons X´s Cantigas de Santa Maria from ~1250. As the medival piper she played various records and pipes in combination with triangle and drum – artistic multitasking. As her medial colleagues she travelled across Europe to give concerts, but she can take advantage og modern air traffic to avoid a long walk from Basel to Denmark.

 

Silke Gwendolyn Schulze at Koncertkirke, Copenhagen, for the European day of Early Music 2019

 

Silke several instruments that were reconstructions of historic instruments made from wood as in the old time. To the surprise of the audience, she also plays an ivory looking shawn, which actually is a 3D printed instrument made of …plastics!

 

The Medial piper plays on a 3D printed shawm (Schalmei)

 

Although natural material are the preferred material for most ancient instruments, this shawm sounds great and very natural! Actually, the material of the body of the instrument does not have a major effect on the sound, which is generated almost exclusively by the mouth piece. And that is still made traditionally by hand from

natural materials.

 

Silke plays a reconstruction of a ducaine, maybe the warmest sounding wind instrument of all. It is closely to the duduk, a traditional instrument played in Armenia and Georgia.

 

Medival music was written down on parchment which is one of the longest lasting media for information storage, which can last for more than 1000 years. Compare that to the lifetime of a harddisk which is around 3 years…

Since parchment was expensive usually only the melody or some patterns were documented.

To bring the music to live again requires a deep knowledge of Medival music. But even more important is Silke art of improvisation to create an inspiring and colourful 3 minutes song from maybe just 8 bars of notes. Skills that every good musician in the middle ages had.

 

 

 

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