Mole: instrument composition, history, sound, playing technique, use

Mole: instrument composition, history, sound, playing technique, use

The peoples of Western Europe managed to preserve the authenticity of their musical culture, despite the centuries-old influence of the ancient Romans and eastern neighbors. In the XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries, the mole stringed musical instrument was popular in Wales and Ireland. This was a status instrument, the sound of which replaced the harp for a long time.


An earlier relative of the instrument is the lyre or rotta. The chordophone consists of a wooden sounding board and a fingerboard, on both sides of which two large oval resonator holes are cut. They also serve to make it easier to grip the neck with your hand.

In the upper part of the body there are pegs, in the lower part there is a metal nut. 6 strings were fixed between. Early copies had fewer. In the six-string version, two strings necessarily have a bourdon value. The height of the ancient instrument is 55 centimeters.

Mole: instrument composition, history, sound, playing technique, use


The first surviving mention of the mole dates back to the XNUMXth century, but this instrument is known to have been played for a millennium BC. The heyday of the chordophone came in the Renaissance. Representatives of the Welsh nobility had to be able to play music on the mole; English kings loved to listen to it. In Europe, the chordophone was called differently. The Celts called him “cool”, the British – “mole”.

Until the 3th century, the chordophone did not have a neck, 4 or 6 strings were stretched directly on the soundboard, like a lyre. They played with their hands, arousing them with plucked finger movements. With the advent of the neck, the number of strings increased to XNUMX, and a bow began to be used to extract sound.

An ancient representative of stringed plucked instruments was a “working” instrument of bards, used to accompany recitations, accompaniment to singing and in dance compositions. But at the end of the XNUMXth century, it began to lose its relevance, giving way to the violin in the musical culture of Wales.

Mole: instrument composition, history, sound, playing technique, use

Playing technique and sound

During the Play, the performer holds the mole on his knee vertically with the neck up. With his left hand, he grabs the fretboard, holding the two strings with his thumb. Free fingers pinch the four strings on the left side. The musician holds the bow with his right hand. The mole range is one octave. The strings are tuned in pairs, starting from the left “do”, “re”, “sol” in one octave.

The ancient stringed bowed instrument finally ceased to sound at the beginning of the XNUMXth century. But in the era of romanticism, many sketches and descriptions of the structure were made, which today help to reconstruct the mole, returning it to its historical significance in European musical culture.

Средневековая крота / Medieval crowd

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