Author Topic: Curious: Has a renfest band played modern music on period instruments?  (Read 1411 times)

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Offline Diaval

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I only recently signed up here and was exploring 'ye ole Renfest world'.   It seems that music goes hand in hand with renfests and obviously bands play renaissance music on period instruments.  Obviously, being new to renfests I am not familiar with the traditional pieces that most bands play.  So I am wondering if it has come up that some renfest bands play more modern and familiar music on their period instruments?

While that may sound strange, I admit there has to be some kind of coolness factor in hearing a familiar tune played in a different way on different instruments.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are rennie bands out there that do this, but so far in viewing videos on YouTube, I have not come across it.

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Offline Trillium

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Absolutely,  you will hear them mix in some more modern songs if you pay attention.  Led zeppelin seems to be a particular favorite among groups with strings, pipe groups throw in all kinds of random stuff.
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Offline Gauwyn of Bracknell

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My son's band played at a small soft faire in Amana, Iowa and  uses mandolin, violin, bouzouki, percussion and do Kasmir (as do several), Miserlou, Game of Thrones, Brave Sir Robin.  They are only 15 year olds.  I'll post some video as soon as I get it converted.
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Offline Rowan MacD

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  @Diaval-Most ren bands do not use actual 'period' instruments. They tend to be too bulky, temperamental and the sound is far better on the modern versions of the same things.   Most common instruments have evolved considerably since the 1500's, and for the better.
  Performances on true, playable reproductions of actual period instruments in this area are mostly provided by groups like Musica Antiqua of ISU (a teaching group).   They build and play a few odd looking and now extinct, keyed, wind and string instruments, as well as demonstrate the period dances that accompanied them.  An interesting show.
  I have not seen them perform at faire since the Ren Faire of the Midlands closed.  The only 'period' instruments you will commonly see would be the lute, the hammered dulcimer, recorder and pan pipes.
   You can see and hear all of them on the website:  http://music.iastate.edu/antiqua/instrumt.html
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 08:54:07 AM by Rowan MacD »
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Offline Merlin the Elder

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There is a group of musicians who play at Sherwood, but play strictly period music, and use period instruments and faithful reproductions. They are amazing to watch and listen to.
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Offline Rowan MacD

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   It is a good show, and educational too.

   I miss Musica Antigua, but most folks don't want to sit through a demo that is mostly talk about history and how the instrument relates to it's modern day equivalent.
    Some of us nerds love that, but most children don't, so the parents just pass on by.
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Offline Diaval

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Good evenin' all

Absolutely,  you will hear them mix in some more modern songs if you pay attention.  Led zeppelin seems to be a particular favorite among groups with strings, pipe groups throw in all kinds of random stuff.

Evenin', your grace:

I had thought so, but from the video clips, I viewed on YT, I have not come across much.  Mostly a whistle player or dulcimer player will play the theme to Titanic.   I have seen that fellow that plays the carillon do modern songs, (he did Baba O' Riley of all things)  but that is about it.



My son's band played at a small soft faire in Amana, Iowa and  uses mandolin, violin, bouzouki, percussion and do Kasmir (as do several), Miserlou, Game of Thrones, Brave Sir Robin.  They are only 15 year olds.  I'll post some video as soon as I get it converted.


Sweet!  Nice to see the younger generations interested in the instruments of old.  I take it they play newer material though.  Yes, when you get a shot, I would like to see the videos.

There is a group of musicians who play at Sherwood, but play strictly period music, and use period instruments and faithful reproductions. They are amazing to watch and listen to.

Ah, Merlin...glad you have dropped in for a 'spell'.  (Ok, I guess that line is old by now).

That is the thing, I mostly hear period music on period instruments, but of course nothing is familiar to me.   BTW, I am not sure how familiar you are with old material, but I came across something I really liked:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzFfiVbXrJo&index=15&list=FL2rvm5oTLbofSqrJIGMtdZg

Not sure if that is period or not, but it certainly grabs me.

  @Diaval-Most ren bands do not use actual 'period' instruments. They tend to be too bulky, temperamental and the sound is far better on the modern versions of the same things.   Most common instruments have evolved considerably since the 1500's, and for the better.
  Performances on true, playable reproductions of actual period instruments in this area are mostly provided by groups like Musica Antiqua of ISU (a teaching group).   They build and play a few odd looking and now extinct, keyed, wind and string instruments, as well as demonstrate the period dances that accompanied them.  An interesting show.
  I have not seen them perform at faire since the Ren Faire of the Midlands closed.  The only 'period' instruments you will commonly see would be the lute, the hammered dulcimer, recorder and pan pipes.
   You can see and hear all of them on the website:  http://music.iastate.edu/antiqua/instrumt.html


Thank you for that link, I had quite a bit of fun listening and learning about those instruments.  And yes, pretty much that is what I have seen in most renbands (is that a term?):  Some kind of drum (or two), the lute, the hammered dulcimer, whistle or recorder.   Usually I see solo players playing the panpipes.   I also have seen bagpipes, ocarina's, and harps quite often as well.   Occasionally, even a hurdy gurdy.   As it turns out my favorite instrument, the pipe organ was around in medieval times as well, and while it may seem far fetched hat one would appear at a renfest... well it has been done.  Here is a clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLp9GH218kk

This must be at a permanent (or semi-permanent) faire as that is a rather large instrument to be moved about.

At any rate, I did some research into pipe organs many moons ago and they did have a small table top version called a 'portativ'.   In which the operator played with one hand and operated the bellows with the other.   I figure that would be something someone could bring to a renfest to play in a band.   As it turns out, it has been done.

I can't find the clip now of the guy playing the portativ organ at the renfest, but I found another equally cool clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrMhTIUZXvU

At any rate after looking at that link you sent, it seems that the early reed instruments were actually rather annoying (even with modern instruments, I find reeds rather annoying with the exception of the saxophone).  Some of the early horns seemed to be difficult to play as even the person giving the example had trouble with certain instruments.   It seemed like the nicest sounding instruments were the ones were mentioned above.   Outside of the portativ, I found something as simple as the whistle to have a nice pleasing sound.  One thing it is easy to pick up (both to learn and literally).   It doesn't cost much and it is easily carried around.

Anyway, thank you all for the information and have a good night!

Diaval
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Offline Rowan MacD

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   The Organetto is probably my favorite; but having heard it in person-the tone and limited note combinations are it's biggest drawbacks...that and the fact it must be played one handed, since the other hand is needed to work the bellows. 
  It's pretty though-it looks like miniature pipe organ.
  There are extant murals and a tapestry showing a 12th century woman playing one.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 05:19:26 PM by Rowan MacD »
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Offline Diaval

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   The Organetto is probably my favorite; but having heard it in person-the tone and limited note combinations are it's biggest drawbacks...that and the fact it must be played one handed, since the other hand is needed to work the bellows. 
  It's pretty though-it looks like miniature pipe organ.
  There are extant murals and a tapestry showing a 12th century woman playing one.

They do have larger variants of the portativ that can be played with two hands, but then either the bellows are pumped by the feet or another person.  Even though they are considered 'portable', they can no longer be carried by one person.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqiBDNoETJ0

It sounds fantastic.

Here is another 'two person carry' portable organ.  This organ is not old as it was built in 1983.  It too sounds amazing for it's small size.  It obviously has a blower.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1b6Ou21zYw

It is amazing how much sound comes out of that small organ.   When I saw that video I realized it is possible to have a real pipe organ in one's house.  Granted it only has four stops, but it still sounds great.

BTW, the large organ in the video is ALSO a 'portable' organ.  Usually the older tracker organs could be moved fairly easily, albeit they come apart in sections and take MANY people to move  (or a few people many hours to move). 

The church I was married in had such an organ as well:

http://www.nycago.org/Organs/Qns/html/StDavidEpisCHts.html

Scroll down to the lower section showing the original organ.

As it is I was married in 1999 and I was not aware they had a new organ installed in 2007.  Crap!  It says they used parts from the old organ and put them in the new organ.   I don't believe it...the church I got married in, dismantled an antique organ, built in 1895  :'(.   Well there you go killing off history.

Well, I am off to tell my wife.  I am BUMMED!  >:(

 





« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 08:04:17 PM by Diaval »
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Offline Rowan MacD

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  The Boardwalk Hall Organ in Atlantic city is in the process of being refurbished. It's the biggest in the world.
   I would seriously LOVE to hear that...The restoration is so intense they will only have 50% of it done by 2016.

As for the Portativ-Wanna build your own?  http://www.renwks.com/products/organ/organ.htm

Myself-I'm eyeing the Hurdy Gurdy...

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Offline Orphena

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Ye olde Ontario (Canada) Ren Faire had a pipe organ on the grounds. I've seen it at a few others.

I've seen the Tartan Terrors play "Stump the Piper"....you call out a song, and the bag piper plays it - all kinds of modern music in that game!
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Offline Diaval

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G'day folks! 

Sorry I have been away from the forum for a while, but I been busy with m'lady and the kids.  I haven't had a free weekend in a while up until now.

  The Boardwalk Hall Organ in Atlantic city is in the process of being refurbished. It's the biggest in the world.
   I would seriously LOVE to hear that...The restoration is so intense they will only have 50% of it done by 2016.

LOL!  I have to laugh at the progress on the restoration of that organ.   They been restoring it for over 10 years now...if not more.  It is just going WAY too slow.   At it stands right now, it may be the worlds largest pipe organ, but due to it's non-functional state, it lost the largest title to the Wanamaker organ in PA.  It has more ranks than the Hall organ in Atlantic City as well, but it has less pipes.  So it is physically slightly smaller.  It's claim to fame is that it is fully functional and thus earned the title of largest fully functional pipe organ in the world.  It was a featured in a few movies too, namely Mannequin from 1987.

As you can tell I am quite the fan of the Wanamaker organ.

Quote
<<As for the Portativ-Wanna build your own?  http://www.renwks.com/products/organ/organ.htm

I had thought of that, but kits are very expensive and rolling ones own pipes are difficult to do.  Definitely not a job for the layman.  The only way I could afford such a thing is to get a set of pre-made pipes and then make a windchest / cabinet / keyboard around it.

Quote
Myself-I'm eyeing the Hurdy Gurdy...

A very interesting instrument that seems to mimic the sound of the bagpipes and then some.  I seen a guy that played on on YouTube and he said that he and his father actually make the instruments.   What this guy can do with a Hurdy Gurdy is phenomenal.   Sadly though it is another very expensive instrument and it doesn't appear to be that easy to play either.

Ye olde Ontario (Canada) Ren Faire had a pipe organ on the grounds. I've seen it at a few others.

Really?  So that seems like it is not such a rare thing after all, huh?   That clip I posted of the pipe organ was from a renfest in Maryland.

I know if one 'cheats' and uses a blower / electronic console pipe organ, it really wouldn't be too difficult to setup / take down something like that.  But a period correct one could take days to set up / take down.  Furthermore there would be concern about the tracker mechanism that most of those style organs have.    I would think though a large portativ such as one in the clip I posted earlier is doable as it would seem the bellows mechanism could detach and the pipe / keyboard section could be moved with two people.  It fits actually in that you need two people to operate that organ. (one playing, one on the bellows).  But that would be period correct.

  The Boardwalk Hall Organ in Atlantic city is in the process of being refurbished. It's the biggest in the world.
   I would seriously LOVE to hear that...The restoration is so intense they will only have 50% of it done by 2016.

LOL!  I have to laugh at the progress on the restoration of that organ.   They been restoring it for over 10 years now...if not more.  It is just going WAY too slow.   At it stands right now, it may be the worlds largest pipe organ, but due to it's non-functional state, it lost the largest title to the Wanamaker organ in PA.  It has more ranks than the Hall organ in Atlantic City as well, but it has less pipes.  So it is physically slightly smaller.  It's claim to fame is that it is fully functional and thus earned the title of largest fully functional pipe organ in the world.  It was a featured in a few movies too, namely Mannequin from 1987.

As you can tell I am quite the fan of the Wanamaker organ.

Quote
<<As for the Portativ-Wanna build your own?  http://www.renwks.com/products/organ/organ.htm

I had thought of that, but kits are very expensive and rolling ones own pipes are difficult to do.  Definitely not a job for the layman.  The only way I could afford such a thing is to get a set of pre-made pipes and then make a windchest / cabinet / keyboard around it.

Quote
Myself-I'm eyeing the Hurdy Gurdy...

A very interesting instrument that seems to mimic the sound of the bagpipes and then some.  I seen a guy that played on on YouTube and he said that he and his father actually make the instruments.   What this guy can do with a Hurdy Gurdy is phenomenal.   Sadly though it is another very expensive instrument and it doesn't appear to be that easy to play either.

Ye olde Ontario (Canada) Ren Faire had a pipe organ on the grounds. I've seen it at a few others.

Really?  So that seems like it is not such a rare thing after all, huh?   That clip I posted of the pipe organ was from a renfest in Maryland.

I know if one 'cheats' and uses a blower / electronic console pipe organ, it really wouldn't be too difficult to setup / take down something like that.  But a period correct one could take days to set up / take down.  Furthermore there would be concern about the tracker mechanism that most of those style organs have.    I would think though a large portativ such as one in the clip I posted earlier is doable as it would seem the bellows mechanism could detach and the pipe / keyboard section could be moved with two people.  It fits actually in that you need two people to operate that organ. (one playing, one on the bellows).

Quote
I've seen the Tartan Terrors play "Stump the Piper"....you call out a song, and the bag piper plays it - all kinds of modern music in that game!


Oh that sounds very interesting and also very fun.  Well, who knows what I will come across at NYRF.  I certainly will report my findings here, for certain.

Thank you and have a good day!
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Offline Lady Renee Buchanan

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EMuziki played Kasmir by Led Zeplin on their Middle Eastern instruments.  I think they have broken up and became 2 different groups.  Craig of Farrington plays a lute, and while he doesn't play rock and roll, he definitely plays music that is newer than the Renaissance.  A lot of folk songs.  Cast in Bronze plays both modern and old songs on their pipe organ.
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Offline Gauwyn of Bracknell

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EMuziki played Kasmir by Led Zeplin on their Middle Eastern instruments.  I think they have broken up and became 2 different groups.  Craig of Farrington plays a lute, and while he doesn't play rock and roll, he definitely plays music that is newer than the Renaissance.  A lot of folk songs.  Cast in Bronze plays both modern and old songs on their pipe organ.

they became both Wine and Alchemy (which has since changed again) and Circa Paleo - both still played Kashmir.  My son's group also played this.  It is a great song that is quite recognizable.  (Circa Paleo has played Bristol some )
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Offline Diaval

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EMuziki played Kasmir by Led Zeplin on their Middle Eastern instruments.  I think they have broken up and became 2 different groups.  Craig of Farrington plays a lute, and while he doesn't play rock and roll, he definitely plays music that is newer than the Renaissance.  A lot of folk songs.  Cast in Bronze plays both modern and old songs on their pipe organ.

Wow, lots of band people shifting around.   So far I am still searching on You Tube and have not come up with anything that someone recorded.  I have found a guy who plays rock music on a Mountain Dulcimer, but that is not a medieval instrument.   In my search I came across these guys:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pEdfwqPFns

It is funny though with all those instruments, the bagpipe STILL overpowers everything.

Cast In Bronze has a pipe organ?  That is something I hadn't seen yet.  I only seen the carillon.



they became both Wine and Alchemy (which has since changed again) and Circa Paleo - both still played Kashmir.  My son's group also played this.  It is a great song that is quite recognizable.  (Circa Paleo has played Bristol some )

Oh yeah, I am familiar with the song.  Stairway To Heaven still seems to be the most popular by them.

Well, for the most part I would say I like the Irish whistle.  Small easy to carry around, easy instrument to pick up and the best part, it is inexpensive!

Have a good evening!
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