Velké housle lidového instrumentáře Lužických Srbů
BIG FIDDLE IN FOLK MUSIC INSTRUMENTARIUM OF LUSATHIAN SORBS
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The study provides an ethno-organological picture of big fiddle used by Lusathian Sorbs (Wends): a unique string chordophone from the folk music instrumentarium of the smallest Slavic nation. As to its construction, the instrument is a three-string bowed chordophone, belonging to the family of medieval fiddles. It is about 640 mm long, with a flat back board and a highly arched top board. The strings were tuned in d1–a1–e2. The big fiddle of Lusathian Sorbs was used exclusively in the Catholic region of the western Upper Lusatia, its oldest form dates back only to the 19th century The big fiddle repertoire was recorded mainly in the late-18th century Kral´s Fiddle Songbook, and in the collections of Ludvik Kuba and Adolf Cerny from the 19th century. The study also comments on the folk revival of the instrument and highlights the role of musician Jurij Mencl: after his initiative, first copies of big fiddle were made and first revival ensembles were established, which further developed the big fiddle playing. In the early 19th century, the big fiddle had impact on the construction of another folk string instrument, called skřipky in Czech dialect, which was played predominantly in German speaking areas around the town of Jihlava (in the present day Czech Republic). There, the pioneering instrument maker was a German carpenter Johann Bernesch, who came to the region from the Upper Lusatia in the early-19th century.
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