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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: the Strumpet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2308  Wednesday, 20 November 2002

[1]     From:   Don Bloom <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 08:44:55 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2293 Re: Altered Passages

[2]     From:   Alan Somerset <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 15:33:40 -0500
        Subj:   Re: the Strumpet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 08:44:55 -0600
Subject: 13.2293 Re: Altered Passages
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2293 Re: Altered Passages

Tom Bishop offers these scholarly insights:

>The strumpet, of course, as Bowdler did not know, was a combination
>string and brass instrument, rather like a euphonium , but with no
>valves (since they hadn't been invented yet), and with strings of
>differing lengths barred and pegged across the circular curve of the
>instrument.  . . . .  Imogen was probably retelling one
>of the favorite medieval "lays" of   love and soldiery, like "Tristan
>and Iseult", or "Sir Orfeo", that formed the core of the strumpet
>repertoire. But there is a recorded performance, alas on unreliable
>testimony, of Chaucer's "Miller's Tale" given on the strumpet at court
>in 1405.

It's pleasant to find another strumpet aficionado out there, especially
since the instrument seems to have gone the way of the serpent and the
hardart. Few now have a chance to enjoy Clarke's famous "Strumpet
Voluntary."

For those who are interested, I have a book out on the subject that
deals with the history of the strumpet (it seems to derive from the
Greek pornophone), famous strumpeters, and the major works for solo,
chamber and symphonic strumpet, plus fingerings, mouthpieces and the
like. $17.95. Paperback. Sent in a plain brown wrapper.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alan Somerset <
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Date:           Tuesday, 19 Nov 2002 15:33:40 -0500
Subject:        Re: the Strumpet

The meaning of "strumpet" as a musical instrument, suggested by Tom
Bishop, is unrecorded in OED, so I'm suspicious, unless some literary
usages can be adduced.

Alan Somerset

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