The lute is a fretted, plucked-string instrument with a pear-shaped body, a flat soundboard featuring an ornate rosette, and a peg box at nearly a right angle to the neck. Its gut strings are usually in pairs, or courses. The ancestor of the lute is the Arabic 'ud, introduced into Spain by the Moors beginning in 711 A.D.
This wooden end-blown flute came in various sizes which were often played together in consorts during the Renaissance. Pictured from left to right are the piccolino, sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, and bass recorders.
The crumhorn was a capped reed instrument which produced a buzzing nasal tone. Its name, which means "curved horn," described its characteristic shape. Pictured from left to right are the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass crumhorns.
This capped-reed instrument is straight, rather than curved, and is somewhat quieter and sweeter in tone than the crumhorn. Pictured from left to right are the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass cornemusen.
This predecessor of the modern oboe was the most important exposed-reed instrument of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Pictured from left to right are the soprano, alto, and tenor shawms.
The racket (or ranket) was a small double-reed wind instrument of the 16th and 17th centuries. It had a narrow cylindrical bore folded into a number of parallel tubes, and therefore produced a very low pitch relative to its size, similar in character to the bassoon.
The sackbut, a predecessor to the modern trombone, originated in the late 15th century. Like the modern trombone, it was operated by a telescopic slide to achieve different pitches. "Sackbut" is derived from the French wordssacquer(to remove violently) andbouter(to shove), thereby, describing the player's movements in operating the slide mechanism. The harp first appeared in medieval Europe in the 8th century. It was used for both solo and ensemble music, and was especially popular for accompanying singers of ballads and epic poetry. Imported to Europe during the Crusades, the psaltery had strings stretched over a flat soundbox and was plucked with either quills or fingers. The vihuela's six double courses of gut strings produced a lute-like sound. During the Renaissance its prestige in Spain was equal to that of the lute elsewhere. the hurdy gurdy This unusual instrument, also called an organistrum, had two drone strings which sounded by means of a crank and rosined wheel, while a third string produced the melody when stopped by keys. This medieval bowed string instrument is related to the Arabic rabab, and was introduced into Europe probably in the tenth century. Today it is found in folk cultures of southeastern Europe.
The vielle, or fiedel, was a medieval precursor of the violin. The size of the instrument varied, as did the number of strings and their tuning. Pictured from bottom to top are the alto and tenor vielles. Also called viola da gamba, the viol emerged in the later 15th century. It had six strings and a fretted fingerboard, and came in several sizes. Pictured from bottom to top are the treble and bass violas da gamba Percussion instruments were used in the music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, particularly in instrumental dance music. Percussion instruments, like many of the early stringed instruments, were non-standardized, and were made from various materials. Pictured are a small skin-head ceramic drum, a bell, a ratchet, a triangle, cymbals, a tambourine, and a double-headed ceramic