Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Alfonso X:Instruments of Cantigas. The Lute: al-'ud







The Lute: al-'ud

Not until Arnault Van Zwolle, in 1440, in the first rational blush of the Renaissance, did technical information about musical instruments begin to be disseminated. Before that, and long after, musicians and all other craftsmen held their knowledge close. Part of the magic of any creation is not knowing precisely how it is done and guilds institutionalized and perpetuated that secrecy. Not that it is just about exclusivity: it is also about labor, knowledge, and competence. Anyone who has worked hard at something they are proud of has felt the sting of indifference or, worse, dismissal. "I could have done it if I wanted to." Or, "Oh, so that's all there is to it." The old joke about the doctor charging $50 for a minute's worth of healing, or the apocryphal story of Giotto drawing a perfect circle to send to the Pope, all demonstrate the disconnect between knowledge and ignorance. All of our modern knowledge of medieval musical instruments has been won through, and in spite of, ignorance. Would that we had a hundred Arnaults to teach us and that we were willing to...

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