Music

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Music

Message  LA le Ven 20 Avr - 10:18

> Music in the Viking age
> Vikings and their Music by Mogens Friis
> Viking music on Iceland, from "A SHORT HISTORY OF ICELANDIC MUSIC TO THE BEGINNING OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY" by Hjálmar H. Ragnarsson.
> I Dreamed a Dream, sound bytes from the CD "Drømte mig en drøm" published by the Danish historical magazine SKALK.

Information about Viking music has been discovered in archaeological finds, sagas, chronicles, and journals kept by foreign visitors to Scandinavia during 900-1200. However, as music was not transcribed until the 13th century, we don't know the content of their songs or their melodies, which must have furthermore evolved through time. "Nisi enim ab homine memoria teneantur soni, prereunt, quia scribi non possunt", Bishop Isidorus, Sevillan theologist, VIIth century ("If tones cannot be remembered by man in his memory they will vanish because they cannot be written down.")

The first recollection of Viking music we have was found carved on a small piece of wood from the 14th century in Denmark, were we can read the first bars of the song "I Dreamed a Dream". It may have been an old tune.


I tried a musical arrangement of it (because I can't read music and would rather hear it play), but it is probably 100% wrong. Don't sue me. It was fun.

Vikings enjoyed music both in everyday life (working, drinking) and for festive occasions (sermons, sacrifices, festivities).

Music, mythology and magic
Viking mythology stats that the Earth was made of the body of the ice giant Ýmir. Some think that Ýmir means "the sounding" and therefore that earthly existence began with "sound".
Heimdall was the god of singing and divine sound; he could hear the grass grow in the fields and the wool grow on sheep in Midgard from his house in the gods's reilm; he owned Gjallarhorn, the "high sounding horn".
Óðinn was the god of both poetry and magic, and poetry was viewed as holding the power to lay a charm on someone, reason which why it was punishable by death to sing courting poems (Freya's) to a woman, who could have been unwillingly seduced this way. The Icelandic word for charms are "galdur", associated with the verb "gala", to "chant" or "sing", and "seiður", associated with the verb "seiða", to "attract" ; the former pertains usually to a rather sophisticated kind of magic while the latter pertains to the magic of the common people.

What did the music sound like?
An Arab merchant visiting Hereby, Denmark, in the 10th century said: "Never before I have heard uglier songs than those of the Vikings in Slesvig (in Denmark). The growling sound coming from their throats reminds me of dogs howling, only more untamed."
Another visitor compared their singing to the sound of a heavily loaded cart rolling down a hillside; the storyteller explains it was a result of tunes meeting alcohol.

Professional musicians
There were Jesters and Skalds. Jesters were held in low regard (they could be killed without their murderer being punished for it), and only the very best were accepted. Skalds travelled the lands singing their Kvads (poems) to entertain the courts of important Viking chiefs and kings of the realms.

Musical instruments

Lyre


Recorder


Pan flute


Flaster-pibe


Cow/Goat's horn


Lur

LA
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