Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/480

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


464

��WIND-BAND.

��Europe in the Middle Ages, that it is almost impossible to sketch the one without touching upon the other. Before the I2th century music of a popular kind was almost entirely in the hands of the wandering or ' roving ' musicians, who, associated with actors, acrobats, loose women, etc., led an unsettled life. That their free and lawless existence offered grea,t- tempta- tions to those of an unstable character may be inferred from the fact that their numbers in- creased so much that severe imperial and pro- vincial edicts were enacted for their repression. ' .Roving men ' were considered ' shadows,' and as such out of the pale of law ; they could not inherit landed property, recover debts, nor par- take of any Christian sacrament.

Yet by the agency of these wandering vaga- bonds most of the ancient tunes or songs that we have were preserved. If a new melody grew up like a wild-flower, these fifers, fiddlers, or min- strels took it up and made it known far and wide. Although a social outcast, it was no breach of etiquette to allow the musician in the houses of high or low degree, and learn from him the last ballad or the newest dance-tune. On all great occasions, fetes or church festivals, large numbers of them flocked together for the exercise of their merry calling. But their associating together as a ' band ' was a matter of mere mo- mentary convenience, and their performances only consisted of playing the melodies of songs, vocal dance tunes, and marches. Bagpipes being favourite instruments in these bands, we can form an idea of the quality of the 'music.' Trumpets and kettle-drums were strictly for- bidden to ordinary minstrels, being reserved for the exclusive use of princes and men of high rank.

These instruments predominated in the bands which officially performed on state occasions, or at royal banquets. It is said that King Henry VIII's band consisted of fourteen trumpets, ten trombones, and four drums, in conjunction with two viols, three rebecs, one bagpipe, and four tambourines. Queen Elizabeth's band consisted (1587), beside a small number of other instru- ments, of ten trumpets and six trombones. 1 The Elector of Saxony had in 1680 twenty court- trumpeters and three kettledrums, with ap- prentices trained for the performance of each instrument. Other courts had their trumpeter- corps, and their respective numbers were con- sidered an indication of the importance, wealth, or power of the court. In the German Empire they formed the guild of ' Eoyal Trumpeters and Army Kettle-drummers,' which enjoyed many privileges and were under the special protection and jurisdiction of the Grand Marshal of the Empire, the Elector of Saxony. No one could be admitted to this corporation without having previously served an apprenticeship of several years. There is no doubt that this corporation exercised a very beneficial effect upon the artistic education of its members.

i Uvolx.Histoire de rinstrumentatlon depute le XVI slecle Jusqu'i BOS jours.

��WIND-BAND.

The following example of a trumpet part, from Bach's Christmas Oratorio, proves what the instruments and players of those times were capable of doing, and we must remember that Bach did not write for artistes of a European celebrity, but for simple members of the town- band of Leipzig :

Trumpet in DQ Andante. ^

��rri

���The style of trumpet-music, due in a certain degree to the limits of the instrument, preserved its individuality down to our time ; and many a phrase in the great works of Bach, Handel, and others, may have been played as a ' flourish ' at a royal banquet.

But with regard to the roving musicians: As early as the I3th century those ' pipers ' who were settled in towns, and who felt the igno- minious position of being classed with the wandering vagabonds, combined and formed ' Innungen,' or corporations for their mutual protection, in Germany, France, and England. The first of these, the ' Brotherhood of St. Nico- lai,' was instituted at Vienna, 1288, and elected as ' protector ' Count Peter von Ebersdorff, a high Imperial official. He organised a 'Court of Musicians,' obtained an Imperial charter for its perpetuation, elaborated a set of laws for the guidance of the members, and presided over it for twenty-two years. 2 In Paris a ' King of Minstrels ' was appointed and statutes enacted for the incorporation of the ' Brotherhood of St. Julian,' I32i. 3 [See Eoi DES VIOLONS, vol. iii. pp. 145-7.] In England the appointment of 4 Patron' of minstrels owed its origin to a curious circumstance. Kandal, Earl of Chester, being suddenly besieged, 1212, in Rhydland Castle by the Welsh at the time of Chester fair, Robert de Lacy, constable of Chester, assembled the pipers and minstrels, who had flocked to the fair in great numbers, and marching at their

Forkel's Geschichte der Mualk, Vol. 1. 2ter Abschnltt. &7S, etc. (Leipzig, 1801.)

3 Schletterert Geschichte der Spielmannszunft In Fr^nkreich. P- U&- (Berlin, 1884.)

�� �