|Members of Altramar: Chris Smith (gittern, cruit);
Angela Mariani (voice, Celtic harp); Jann Cosart (vielle, crwth);
David Stattlemann (voice, drum); with host Bill McGlaughlin in American Public Media's Studio M.
||The Celtic harp. The harp played by Altramar is based
on a 12th-century mosaic. It is a small instrument, held on the
lap. This simple, triangular shape was common throughout Europe
from Carolingian times into the Gothic period.
|The gittern and the vielle. The gittern is the ancestor
of the guitar, but it often resembled the medieval fiddle: two identical
instruments were commonly shown together, one plucked and the other
bowed. However, gitterns more frequently had frets, flat fingerboards,
and flat bridges. The vielle is the ancestor of both the violin
and viola da gamba families. It had three to five strings, optional
frets, and a flat or curved bridge.
||The cruit ("critt") and the crwth ("crooth").
The Welsh word crwth and the Irish word cruit both refer to a type
of plucked or bowed lyre. The oldest illustrations show the instrument
played like a harp, but from the 12th or 13th century a fingerboard
was added and a bow was used - much like a modern violin. The bowed
version was still in use in Wales into the early 19th century.
Musician Discography: Currently
Web site: www.indiana.edu/~altramar/index.html
You can hear what the vielle, harp, and gittern sound like by going
to the site's "Beautiful