1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pipe and Tabor

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[ 634 ]

PIPE and TABOR (Fr. galoubet; Ger. Schwegel or Stamentienpfeiff), a popular medieval combination of a small pipe or flageolet, and a small drum. The pipe consists of a cylindrical tube of narrow bore, pierced with three holes, two in front and one at the back, all very near the end of the pipe; and of a mouthpiece of the kind known as whistle, fipple or beak common to the flûtes à bec or recorder family. The compass of this instrument, with no more than three holes, exceeds two octaves in the hands of a good player, and is chromatic throughout. The fundamental notes of the open pipe and of the three holes cannot be produced; the scale consists, therefore, entirely of harmonics, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of the series being easily obtained, and, by half stopping the holes, also the semitones which are required to complete the chromatic scale. The tabor being fastened to the performer's left elbow, the hands remained free, the right beating the little drum with a stick to mark the rhythm, while the left held and fingered the pipe with thumb and first two fingers. Mersenne mentions a wonderful virtuoso, John Price, who could rise to the twenty-second on the galoubet. Praetorius mentions and figures three sizes of the Stamentienpfeiff, the treble 20 in. long, the tenor 26 in. and the bass 30, the last being played by means of a crook about 23 in. long. A specimen of the bass in the museum of the Brussels Conservatoire has for its lowest note middle C. The pipe and tabor are said to be of Provençal origin; it is certain that they were most popular in France, England and the Netherlands, and they figure largely among the musical and social scenes in the illuminated MSS. of those countries. (K. S.)