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Classification & Naming

instruments in modernity

Ancient Lip Reed Musical Instruments of Ireland and Britain – Horns or Trumpets?

Though the modern history of the ancient and prehistoric lip reed instruments of Ireland and Britain there has been uncertainty regarding their definition as ‘horn or trumpet’.  Generally, the Bronze Age cast collection have been collectively referred to as horns.  Whilst Iron Age examples may be named horns or trumpets.  In order to dispel this anomaly, Ancient Music Ireland are using the generally accepted definition that a musical horn is conical in shape along its entire length.  E.g. animal horn, lur, carnyx, mayophone, saxophone  etc ..  Whereas, a trumpet consists of two or sometimes more parts that are both conical and cylindrical  e.g. Tutankhamen tumpets, end blown mid-range and bass Irish and British Bronze Age trumpets, Iron Age trumpets e.g trumpa mor, trumpa créda (Loughnashade) and modern brass instruments e.g. trumpets and trombones.

Thus, a pair of Bronze Age instruments consist of a horn and a trumpet, though the longer examples from the Iron Age, none of which are conical along their entire length are all referred to as trumpets.  Conical = Horn and Conical plus Cylindrical =Trumpet.

Modern names given by Ancient Music Ireland to the reproduction instruments from the ancient collection List – 2,200 BC to 700 AD.

Examples of modern names

‘Fipple Pipes’ – Stone Age – Wicklow Pipes, Co. Wicklow, circa 2,200 BC.

‘Adharc’  – Bronze Age Horn – Co. Antrim, circa 1,000 – 700 BC –  side blown.

‘Dord ĺseal’ – Large bass end-blown, Bronze Age Trumpet – circa 1,000 – 700 BC.

‘Dord Ard’ – Mid-range-, end-blown, Bronze Age Trumpet – Co. Antrim, circa 1,000 – 700 BC

’An Trumpa Créda’ – Iron Age long trumpet, Loughnashade, Co. Armagh – circa 100 BC.

‘An Trumpa Fáda’ – Iron Age long trumpet, Ard Brin, Co. Down.  circa 200 BC.

‘An Trumpa Mór’ – Iron Age long trumpets, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary/Llyn Cerrig Bach, Wales, circa 100 BC .

‘Psalter Horn’ – Early Medieval horn, River Erne, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, circa 700 AD.

‘Mayophone’ or ‘An Guth Cuilce’ – Early Medieval horn – Bekan, Co. Mayo, circa 700 AD.

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