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cornemuses
cornamusas europeas
 

The search for the continuous sound has been a constant in the history of popular instruments since the dawn of time, and so one interpreter of the instruments could get several sounds at once, that is to say, a melody backed by one or more pedaled notes with continuous accompanyment.

In order to achieve this, they began using strong and firm materials of animals and vegetables such as a horn, pumpkin or gord, amongst others, inside of which they inserted the source of the sound, which was usually one or more simple cane reeds, utilized through the complicated technique of continuous insuflation or circular breathing.

Gradually, it became apparent that it was more simple and effective to use more flexible materials such as animal bladders and skins and to fill them with air and more effectively control the flow and balance between the tension of the animal skin reed and cyclical insuflation of air.

 
 

The above written paragraphs about these instruments stem from Latin texts citing that Greek musicians played wind instruments of compiled dog skin, even the emperor Nero himself, who according to the historian Suetonius, was a consummate interpreter of the Tibia Utricularis, a wineskin instrument popular in ancient Rome, which was also used in the campaigns of his powerful army and may have possibly been the one to help take them to the Gaul and Britain.Even though this instrument had already been named as mizmar al-jirab or cornamusa in the eleventh century by Arab writers like Ibn Zayla or Avicenas, the first iconographic source appears in the thirteenth century manuscript CCLXXX of the Cantigas of Santa Maria representing two musicians playing with two windpipes made of skin and two parallel tubes, undoubtedly the melodic pipes and the continuous accompanyment of the inconic high and low windpipe tones.

 


 

 
 

Known since the ancient times in Persia, India, Greece and Rome, the Cornamusa has gone through numerous developments over the centuries and particularly in Europe, where there has been substantial morphological diversity and sound, currently being played in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Istria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Scotland, Ireland and England, etc.