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

Detailed Treatises - 5 of 8 : Nachtigall-Luscinius

Othmar Nachtigall translated Virdung's 1511 work into Latin in 1536 (11), Latinising also his own name, as 'Ottomarus Luscinius'

(Lat. luscinia, nightingale, from luo, 'wash' and cano, 'sing' , hence 'the liquid songstress'(12)).

He apparently would not deign to name the dulcimer, but reprinted Virdung's engraving with the condemnation:

"Sequens Instrumentum ignobile est, propter ingentem strepitum uocum, se se mutuo praepedientium" (13).

'This instrument is disgusting, because of the great noise of its sounds, each getting in the way of the others' (22).

He places it in the category of instruments having strings which each play a single note, a notion which is seldom used elsewhere as a classification criterion, but which is fundamental to the system used in this study (Supplement 1, and discussed in Chapter l):

"De alio genere, Instrumenta reperias & ipsa chordis referta, quae pluribus uocibus reddendis apta sunt, nec plectris exuberant, aut interuallis commensurantur, sed singuli nerui singulos prestant sonos"(16)

'Of another kind, you will find instruments comprising strings, which are suitable for rendering several voices, neither do they rejoice in plectrums, or 'measured by intervals' (stopped strings), but the single strings offer single notes' (22).