Music, Instruments, and Resources

Information on music and instruments, especially from the Anglo-Saxon and Viking worlds, as well as makers of modern reconstructions. This page will be updated frequently.

Instruments:

Benjamin Bagby’s lyre: http://www.bagbybeowulf.com/background/index.html

“Beowulf, the Edda, and the Performance of Medieval Epic,” by Benjamin Bagby: http://www.bagbybeowulf.com/background/PerformingMedNarr_13.pdf

“The Early Lyre in Scandinavia. A Survey,” by Gjermund Kolltveit: http://www.musark.no/artikler/Lyrer.pdf

Anglo-Saxon and Germanic Lyres, by Michael Levy: http://www.ancientlyre.com/?section=blog/the_anglo_saxon__germanic_lyres

Sámi Drums – Then and Now (a history of the use of the drum in Sámi culture): http://www.utexas.edu/courses/sami/diehtu/giella/music/noaidi.htm

The Oldest Bone Flute (National Geographic article about a 40,000-year-old flute): http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090624-bone-flute-oldest-instrument.html

Project Telyn Rawn (a research project to reconstruct the telyn rawn, a medieval Welsh harp, strung with horsehair): http://www.telynrawn.org/index.html

Regina Anglorum (a historical re-creation site, with a good page on music and instruments in the Anglo-Saxon and Viking worlds): http://www.regia.org/music.htm

 

Instrument makers:

Kate and Corwen, Ancient Music (makers of lyres, drums, rattles, flutes and bowed instruments; very good quality!): http://www.ancientmusic.co.uk/instruments.html

Paul Butler (excellent custom-made lyres, citoles, and other instruments): http://crab.rutgers.edu/~pbutler/instrum.html

Roland Suits (magnificent early harps, gusli, and other instruments): http://www.rolandinstrument.com

Hortus Instrumentorum (very nice medieval creations, including early Italian and Carolingian lute and citole-like instruments, and lyres): http://www.hortus-instrumentorum.com/

Michael J. King (lyres, crwths, kanteles, and many other instruments): http://www.michaeljking.com/index.htm

Steven Kauder (very nice shamanic drums and rattles, including northern, Saami style): http://www.beardrum.com/index.html

 

General Information:

“Searching for the Lost Voice of my Germanic Ancestors,” by Benjamin Bagby: http://www.sequentia.org/writings/lost_voice.html

Viking Answer Lady: Viking Music (a very good summary of some of the known facts about music during the Viking Age, with an extensive bibliography): http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/music.shtml

Michael Levy’s lyre pages (good information and articles about northern as well as Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern music and instruments): http://ancientlyre.com/?section=blog/recent/5/5/

Homeric Singing: An Approach to the Original Performance (a reconstruction of possible methods of ancient Greek recitation and singing of epic poetry): http://www.oeaw.ac.at/kal/sh/index.htm

International Study Group on Music Archeology: http://www.musicarchaeology.org/

Performing Medieval Narrative Today (a video resource of narrative and epic poetry performances, including readings and music, from the early to the later Middle Ages): http://mednar.org/about/

The Beowulf Manuscript online (British Library Cotton MS Vitellius A XV): http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Cotton_MS_vitellius_a_xv