Default lineup: 1 performer
Solo instrumentals: can play the hurdy gurdy, recorders, flute, dulcimer and lute; he also sings to the accompaniment of the medieval lute, cittern, English guitar or banjo.
Historial Music gives solo performances of period music on a wide variety of instruments including the hurdy gurdy recorder and flute dulcimer and lute; he also sings to the accompaniment of the medieval lute, cittern, English guitar or banjo. His repertoire ranges from the 13th to the early 20th century. As well as giving formal and informal concerts, he performs at banquets, pageants, weddings and living history events. He can also wear appropriate costumes for the period of the event, be it Medieval, Elizabethan, English Civil War, Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian.
He performs regularly at the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace, as well as at many historical properties throughout England, in the care of the National Trust and English Heritage.
About Historial Music's Instruments
The dulcimer takes its name from the Latin word dolcis, meaning sweet; it was so-called because it was considered to make a sweet sound. The dulcimer is played with little sticks, or hammers, which are used to strike the strings. The hammers are made of wood, with the tips covered in leather to soften the tone. The strings are made of metal, brass being the material most likely used in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
The hurdy gurdy is a form of mechanical violin, in which a continuously turning wheel takes the place of the bow. Keys are used instead of fingers to stop the strings, and to produce a tune. The hurdy gurdy also has drone strings, which play one continuous note (and sound something like bagpipes). While turning the wheel, the player can produce a buzzing sound to beat out the rhythm of the piece, as if playing on a drum.
The lute is thought to have developed from an Arab instrument called the ‘al ?ud’, as indeed is its name. The word ?ud simply means ‘wood’, the material from which the instrument is made. The lute was one of the most important musical instruments in Europe, from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century — used for solos, and to accompany other instruments or voice.
Both recorders and flutes were extremely popular in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The flute in particular is an instrument of great antiquity, and dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks.
Leicester Guildhall, Leicester Early Music Festival (solo concert)
"Then there was the unforgettable Historial Music. This amazingly versatile minstrel drew another capacity crowd for his marvellously entertaining offering called From Bad King John to Good Queen Bess. Hurdy-gurdy, recorder, dulcimer, cittern, flute, lute and voice were put to work for a fast moving 90 minutes of splendid medieval and Elizabethan songs and dances."
Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire (“Tudor Christmas”, with Anna Keightley, soprano)
"Historial Music and Anna Keightley... added to the festive atmosphere with various delightful airs and ballads whilst dressed in authentic clothing. Not only did they captivate all that entered the hall, but momentarily transported everyone around them to another time in history, it was quite magical."
Skirmish: The Re-enactment Magazine
Ilkley Manor House, North Yorkshire (solo concert)
"Once again the Manor House was packed to capacity for what turned out to be a good humoured and very instructive concert. Dressed in period costume with a dashing feather in his cap, Historial Music treated his audience to a range of airs and ballads from the time of King Charles I.
His quiet and unprepossessing manner immediately endeared him to all present and he soon had feet tapping to the brisk rhythm of the hurdy-gurdy. A carefully constructed introduction to each instrument — the aforementioned hurdy-gurdy, the flute, dulcimer and lute, and the type of tune about to be played or sung, added to the enjoyment of the evening.
Although lacking the nuances of later music with its elaborate crescendos and embellishments, Historial Music gave his audience an insight into the vigour and love of words and music enjoyed during the period of the English Civil War and the early renaissance."
“Musical Wizard:”Historial Music at Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire
"Against the backdrop of the oak-panelled Great Hall, and under the hooded gaze of Lord Preston’s impressive portrait, Historial Music, resplendent in black velvet and sporting a large ostrich-feather hat, took us through a tour of the music and instruments of the Civil War. The Hall itself was used as lodgings for the Roundheads and one could imagine the music echoing down the centuries to a very different audience.
Historial Music performed two different concerts, beginning with a selection of tunes by John Playfdord (1651), played with great dexterity on the hurdy-gurdy (or wheel fiddle), a cross between a violin and the bagpipes! In contrast, he then performed the popular Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes (Ben Johnson) and Gather Ye Rosebuds (William Lawes) on the lute.
This was followed by further dances from The English Dancing Master on the alto recorder and dulcimer, an instrument popular at the time of Pepys. Historial Music finished both performances with a rousing jig on the hurdy-gurdy and then answered questions from the public.
Historial Music has been delighting and informing audiences in historic locations for 20 years, with music from the 13th to 17th centuries, for which he wears authentic hand-made costumes, and plays up to six different instruments."
Gazette & Herald News