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guitar wood flute violin
The guitar developed in 16th century Europe and is one of the world's most popular and versatile stringed instruments. The first guitars were strung with gut and were similar to today's classical or Spanish guitar. The steel-string variety developed in the early 20th century as a response to the greater volume required by the popular music of the day. Jim's instrument is a custom-made Circa OM model made by John Slobod in 2007 in Casco, ME. The wooden flute was a 17th century orchestral development of the military fifes used in the middle ages. Keywork was added over time to correct pitch innacuracies. Softer in tone than metal and pitched in 'D', the wooden flute remained popular after the advent of the silver Boehm system flute, especially among traditional musicians. Beth's 4-key instrument was made for her in 2006 by Patrick Olwell of Nellysford, VA. The violin or fiddle emerged around 1550 from the medieval rebec and the lira da braccio, and the design reached its pinnacle under the hand of such 16th century Italian masters as Stradivari and Guarneri. Andrew plays a violin made by Heinrich Th. Heberlein Jr. in Markneukirchen, Germany in 1911, and a Roman Werner bow, circa 1940.
           
cittern silver flute bodhran
The original citterns were developed in Europe around 1500, and were an easy-to-play and inexpensive alternative to the lute until they were ousted from popularity by the guitar. In the 1960's, Greek bouzoukis began appearing at jam sessions in Ireland. Musicians embraced the bouzouki with enthusiasm, and various luthiers began refining the bouzouki's design to better suit the needs of Celtic music. These new instruments were often called 'citterns' to avoid confusion with the Greek instruments. Jim's cittern was made in 1985 by Stefan Sobell of Hexham, Northumberland, England. The silver flute developed in the 19th century from the wooden flute as a response to the instrument's increasingly prominent role in orchestral music and the need for greater volume and a brighter tone as a solo instrument. Today's silver flutes are pitched in 'C' and use the key system devised by Theobald Boehm in the 1830's. Beth plays a Muramatsu flute. The bodhran (BOUGH-ron) was originally an agricultural tool in rural Ireland. Used as a skin tray or sieve, at some point it was discovered to have rhythmic possibilities and its thumping beat became the pulse of Irish traditional music. It consists of a goatskin stretched across a wooden frame and is played with a stick called a tipper or beater. Jim plays a professional model made by Albert Alfonso.
tinwhistle    
The pennywhistle or tinwhistle is one of the oldest traditional Irish instruments, dating from about the 12th century, when they were made of bone. They became popular as an inexpensive, easy-to-play instrument made of tin and sold in the streets for a penny, hence the name. A charming instrument with a sweet, clear tone, Beth's whistle is a professional model made of ebony and silver by Chris Abell of Asheville, NC. Andrew plays a Chieftain model low whistle.