Wednesday, February 18, 2009

...a Renaissance woman

I've always loved "early music"...
Medieval, Renaissance...
liked the instruments...the tonality...
the energy of it all...

and I'm not alone, for Renaissance Faires...
have proliferated...
it's become a favorite "pretend" place...

being a trumpet player...
I soon learned that I'd have to learn new skills...
to feed my early music obsession...



here we have 4 angels playing Renaissance "lip-reed instruments"...
three are trumpets...
[including a "zug-trompetten" aka slide trumpets...
which unlike the sackbutt did not have a movable slide...
but rather the entire instrument moved in & out on the mouthpipe...]

the angel 2nd from the left is playing a cornetto...
[most were curved...this is probably a cornettino...
which is shorter...and therefore, higher...]
the cornetto is a wooden lip reed instrument...
that could play a chromatic scale...sounding "brassy"...
often playing in groups with sackbutts...
[the precursor of the trombone...]
which could also accomplish chromatic lines...

the trumpet was just a large bugle...
[until about 300 years later when valves would be invented...]
and could only play notes in the harmonic series...
of the length of it's tube...

in this procession, you see straight trumpets...
they were eventually replaced by the folded ones...
like the 2 outer angels above are playing...



and this one, an actual Renaissance trumpet from the 1500's...



this happened mainly for pitch considerations as time passed...
[the longer instruments in C...
matched the pitch of the court organs & strings...
ie..."concert pitch"...
as the Renaissance moved into the Baroque...]

these are modern instruments built to the same specifications...
of actual Renaissance & Baroque trumpets...



the shorter one is in "D"...
the longer one is in "C"...
the one I have is pitched in "D", with slides to extend it to "C"...
and looks rather like the longer one...

I used to own a cornettino, but alas...
in a moment of weakness I sold it...

the Renaissance/Baroque trumpet I own, is my second one...
I sold my first one to raise money to go on tour in 1977...

when I lived in Chicago in the mid-1970's...
I played briefly with the Chicago Early Music Ensemble...
as well as singing in a madrigal comedy performance...
at NU during grad school...
[as part of a class project...]

so I've always played...and only occasionally sang...
as I never had the opportunity to be a singer in a real madrigal group...
& I've always wanted to...a lot...



to gather around a table and sing the 4 & 5 part madrigals of the 16th century...



to dress up in period costumes...

but I figured that my chance was gone...
those doors were closed...

and just when I gave up on the possibility...
of being able to become a member of such a group...
& to sing this wonderful, joyous music...
not in a choir, but in a soloist-type setting...
just for the fun of it...

I got an invitation to audition with a local madrigal group...

since the audition time is still in progress...
I'm keeping the details to myself...
but in order to give myself a good chance at success...
I did have to take care of a couple of details...
that would strengthen my qualifications for such a group...

and it needed to be sooner rather than later...



I HAD to get a keyboard...

not being a keyboard player, I had no instrument...
on which to practice my music...
and if I don't learn my part...correctly & quickly...
[each person is a soloist...]
I won't be doing this long...

so a keyboard, on sale online for $85.00 was just the thing...
and it arrived this afternoon...

so now the musical issues were dealt with...

but... there was still another matter...
[this one more difficult to deal with...]

the end of this whole try-out period is a performance...

in costume...

I do not own anything that I could use...
so I went skulking about on line...
armed with some helpful advice from a friend...

and found this...



since availability of a "plus size" was a real consideration...
my choices were rather limited...
but this "Irish dress" in "woad" [aka slate blue]
was available in my size, as was a simple chemise...
[the white "underdress" that must be purchased separately...]



I also got a "goodwife's" hat...
since my hair is way too short to be "period"...
and I'm NOT wearing a wig...in June...

since Renaissance literally means "rebirth"...

I suppose it's symbolic & only appropriate...
that I have not only purchased my first keyboard...ever...
[somewhere, Mom is dying of laughter...
so are all my long suffering piano teachers...]

but...[and it's a big one...NO pun intended...]

I have also bought,[gasp...] a D-R-E-S-S...

the things I do for music...
the levels I will stoop to...

I can think of a half dozen people who would be ROTFLTBO...
at just one of the two...
with both...they'll be dumbfounded...

I have only one thing to say to them...

fa-la-la...la-la...

11 comments:

Mousie and Christy's Mommy said...

See, it is never to late to live your dreams! Good for you! I will be looking for future blogs on this great undertaking...and pictures of you "in costume!"

Have fun!

catsinger said...

...pictures of me in a dress...
high comedy perhaps but not too likely here, due to my blogger stealth mode...

The Calico Quilter said...

So wonderful for you and so interesting for us, to follow along! Good luck! OK, here's a girly question - what shoes do you wear with a period Irish dress and chemise?

Come on, I understand stealth - I won't publish pictures of myself or people I know either - but you could block or crop your face - we want to see you in the costume!

The Calico Quilter said...

And I had to go look up the etymology of sackbut (from Middle French saquer to pull + boter to push). OK, now I know.

catsinger said...

...hi Calico...sorry, I assumed that saying the sackbutt was the precursor
of the trombone made it clear[I can be a real music nerd sometimes...]
I am not now, or ever have been a "girly-girl"...I ordered some cheap black canvas men's shoes[think Vans] in size 10...other than that, if the skirt sweeps the floor, I'll wear something cloggy/Croc-y ie comfortable
standing for a long time is problematical for me anyway...
as for seeing me in the costume...
there are pictures of the costume...
& those in it look WAY better than I will, so be happy there AREN'T pictures...;P

MM said...

We could do what Unkle Phil did to me when he took pictures of me and a friend before the Madama Butterfly performances: paste a "Hello Kitty" head over our faces to preserve anonymity. Ha ha ha!!!

The Calico Quilter said...

I knew the sackbutt was a slide instrument like a trombone but I had to look up how you got the word "sackbutt" etymologically or it would have driven me crazy.

catsinger said...

...MM...perhaps you with all your photoshop skills [spare time]& your marvelous Kitty picts, could "do" you as Minka...and me as SPie... that would make ME, ROTFLMBO for sure...oh... and "Mr Trumpet" could be Thomas...el basso, Mackie and la sopranino, Fluff...
I'm chuckling just thinking of it...
seeing that might make up for having to wear a dress...that & the music, of course...

Calico...I've been such a music geek for so long that the etymology of the names of different instruments is just a part of me...
I forget how interesting it can be to those just coming across them...
thanks for helping me remember...

us300 said...

I want to see you in period atire, I think you would look great in it! I could see you in a full blown royal outfit at the Pleasure Faire, speaking the period language.

catsinger said...

...methinks you've been too close to some o'that "wacky tabaccy"...
come to the concert or dream on...

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