CHAPTER 3: History to 1800 > Later Renaissance - 16th century

Illustrations - 9 of 10

fig. 51: Musiekinstrument, detail, engraving, Gerhard de Jode (1509-1591)

A further puzzle is provided by Gerhard de Jode (d.1591); in his engraving (fig. 51) he groups clavichord, spinet, lute, cister and the like on two panels, while the third is devoted to dulcimer, hurdy-gurdy, bagpipe and so on - a not-unusual distinction between instruments used for different kinds of music or in different social strata.

The problem comes in interpreting the bridges, for there seem to be four of them, providing five playing portions, or two bridges and two large saddles providing three playing portions: the other instruments include an organ without a keyboard, fretted instruments having equally-spaced frets, and keyboards with only white notes, so perhaps we should not spend too much time trying to work out a four-bridge tuning.

Note that instruments with three bridges are played in China today, and that one Italian salterio of the 1770s had a tuning diagram for an instrument with as many as five bridges, although only two of them spanned the whole soundboard.