Forum: Research Questions

Discussing: Musical Instruments

Musical Instruments

I am trying to write a drabble for Amanda, who wants music, and I am having trouble figuring out an instrument for Boromir to be good at playing. I assume that music in some form was a part of his education. The only thing I can think of at the moment is the sort of lap harp the Greeks passed around and took turns being bardic with at banquets. But that seems more appropriate to Rohan somehow. I know there's a whole catalogue of instruments the dwarves are carrying when they invade Bag End and go adventuring with Bilbo, but neither fiddles, flutes, drums, clarinets, nor big golden harps seem the kind of thing I'm looking for. Piano lessons seem right out. I'd like him to be able to sing and play, so any wind instruments are impossible. I can't see him drumming (not 'musical' enough for Amanda in my opinion, although a goodly thing in general). Guitar? Gittern? Lute? Ukelele? Hurdy-gurdy? Zither? Hammer-dulcimer? Xylophone? (I feel I am descending to slapstick here.) I'm baffled. Any instrument seem more likely than any other to you? Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Musical Instruments

Well, take it with a grain of salt, but I vote flute. It's lightweight and portable, and he might have learned to play it as a young soldier, rather than as a child. I just can't see a young Boromir sitting still long enough to learn how to play any instrument, unless it could double as a weapon. Besides, he strikes me as the type who'd be very skilled with his mouth.

 

 

Re: Musical Instruments

There may be a tradition of unaccompanied singing in Gondor: there's no mention of any accompaniment for the minstrel who sings the lay of "Frodo of the Nine Fingers and the Ring of Doom" at the Field of Cormallen. The Elves and Edain in the first age had harps (Fingon uses one when finding Maedhros, and Finod uses Bëor's "rude harp" when he first encounters men. That suggests stringed instruments are the most likely choice for "court music". If you don't want to use a lyre, I would have thought a lute, mandolin or other small guitar-like instrument would be most appropriate. Cheers, Liz

 

 

Re: Musical Instruments

I just can't see a young Boromir sitting still long enough to learn how to play any instrument, unless it could double as a weapon. Bagpipes? Those strike me as an appropriate weapon-like instrument. Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Musical Instruments

If you don't want to use a lyre, I would have thought a lute, mandolin or other small guitar-like instrument would be most appropriate Lyre! I knew it had a name. (Curses feebly at unreliable memory that can come up with gittern at a moment's notice but not lyre.) Ok - will go for some type of smallish stringed instrument and see what happens. Thanks! Gwynnyd

 

 

Re: Musical Instruments

There's a list of instrument players who turn up for the coronation in ROTK, 'The Steward and the King'. I don't have the book to hand just now, but I seem to remember horns and 'viols' (presumably ancestor of modern bowed string instruments) being included. Personally, I always imagined a hurdy-gurdy in various regions, but perhaps that's just me And I seem to have, in one of my early fics, have had one of Arwen's daughters playing a virginal (a smaller version of the harpsichoard)- but I imagined the 4th age might be a little more advanced than the 3rd, even at that early stage- a dulcimer seems more likely though. Soubrettina

 

 

Re: Musical Instruments

Uilleann pipes? Boromir's a guy who likes a challenge and is clearly quite mad enough for it. ;)

 

 

Re: Musical Instruments

How about a psaltery? Courtly enough to be incongruous. Here is a link http://www.s-hamilton.k12.ia.us/antiqua/psaltery.htm Branwyn

 

 

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