The Story of the Hummel (German Scheitholt)

By Grall, Jeremy | Notes, September 2012 | Go to article overview

The Story of the Hummel (German Scheitholt)


Grall, Jeremy, Notes


The Story of the Hummel (German Scheitholt). By Wilfried Ulrich. English Translation by Christa Farnon. (Materials Pertaining to the Everyday History and Folk Culture of Lower Saxony, vol. 42.) Cloppenburg: Mu - seumsdorf Cloppenburg and Nieder - säch sisches Freilichtmuseum, 2011. [180 p. No ISBN. i22.] Music examples, illustrations, appendix, bibliography, index.

Although the hummel has been around for at least 500 years, its status as a "beggar" or amateur instrument has caused its history and the instrument itself to be largely neglected. While similar types of plucked and struck stringed instruments, such as the long-necked lute and kithara, can be relatively easily traced back to antiquity, the exact origins of the hummel are less clear. Those trying to do research on the hummel will find a scant paragraph in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and the instrument is not usually given even a cursory description in most music history textbooks. The most information one might hope to find on the hummel is on the similar, though organologically distinct, Appalachian dulcimer. Unfortunately, its early history is at best a mere footnote. Therefore, because research on the hummel is sparse, any sort of family tree needs to be pieced together through the few written accounts of the instrument. Fortunately, The Story of the Hummel by Wilfried Ulrich provides quite possibly the most comprehensive history of the instrument to date. While the title suggests a light narrative on the instrument, the book is in fact a detailed historical, organological, and structural study of the hummel. The reader will first be impressed by the abundant iconographic depictions, photos of extant instruments, ample footnotes, and brief instructions for performing hummel tablatures. The book culminates in an impressive 43-page appendix of photographs and detailed dimensions of a variety of hummels. The details provided in the appendix alone are enough reason for any library to add this book to its organology collection.

As a luthier, Wilfried Ulrich brings valuable insight into the construction and re construction of period hummels. He frequently conveys a deep understanding of how the instrument should function, and he is adept at honing in on the practical issues that might escape the average scholar. His technical knowledge of how the fingerboard relates to various temperaments and tuning, as well as his understanding of string action, are very useful when considering how extant instruments may have been altered over time. Specifically, easily forgotten technical points, such as fret placement or knowledge of which woods may degrade over time, often provide insight to issues that are not always apparent. In one example, Ulrich points out a hummel on which he discovered that the fret board must have been replaced because its tuning neither matched typical temperaments nor the fret spacing typical on a fretted instrument. In another instance, he provides a case in which the time-honored practice of using iconography to discern performance practices should not be trusted. He notes that the painting "The Frisian Muse of Music" by Carl Gehrts represents a stylized or staged depiction of the instrument. The painting depicts a woman holding a hummel while performing; however, Ulrich points out that not only would holding the instrument preclude using a table as a large sounding board, but also that the position of the strap that held the instrument would too severely limit the performer's hand position (p. 54).

The Story of the Hummel provides an account of the least studied years during which and geographical locations where the hummel was used. For example, rather than giving a detailed account of the Appalachian dulcimer, Ulrich focuses on the earliest examples of the instrument in Norway, Germany, Lusatia, Hungary, and the more modern versions found in East Asia. He also traces the various incarnations of the instruments such as the hummel, hommel, scheitholt, huemmelke, and langeleik. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Story of the Hummel (German Scheitholt)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.