Saturday, 6 September 2008

Epigonion: hear ancient Greek harp sounds

The Astra Project have re-created what an epigonion might sound like.

No, the epigonion is not some kind of extinct hog, it's actually an ancient Greek stringed musical instrument which sounds like a harp and was apparently played up to the Middle Ages (see pictures of the epigonion).

Nor is the Astra Project about things astronomical - it: "aims to reconstruct the sound or timbre of ancient instruments (not existing anymore) using archaeological data as fragments from excavations, written descriptions, pictures...The technique used is the physical modeling synthesis, a complex digital audio rendering technique which allows modeling the time-domain physics of the instrument. In other words the basic idea is to recreate a model of the musical instrument and produce the sound by simulating its behavior as a mechanical system."

Click the arrow to play online, the text to download:
Listen to some Monteverdi as played on 4 simulated epigonions - and hear more examples.

What a fascinating project, I'd not come across it before.

Via the Financial Times.

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