Secular medieval music

Aliceres de la techumbre de Curiel de Duero Pulse para ampliar Aliceres de la techumbre de Curiel de Duero. Sala 24

Frieze. Curiel de Duero Palace

Two scenes represented on these planks reflect musical instruments typical of chivalric nobility from the late Middle Ages. The horn, used for hunting, was more of a sound-producing object than a musical one. It was not tuned to any particular pitch and gave off a shrill sound that could be heard in outdoor settings.

The other instrument that appears, the oval-shaped lute, was played with a plectrum or pen by a minstrel. It was introduced via Al-Andalus into Europe, where it became the most famous plucked string instrument of the Middle Ages, although on our Peninsula its important role was shared soon after with the vihuela. One can observe a flat headstock with six pegs, which would indicate the presence of six strings, or more likely, two sets of double strings and two single strings.

At the time, it was common for the same person to sing and accompany him or herself on an instrument. In this case, the song being played appears to have a single melody, or a very primitive version of polyphony, since its execution doesn´t require the use of the fingers on the right hand.