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This file updated 19 December 2009
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The prototype of all stringed instruments where strings are plucked is the dulcimer (and so, ancestor of the piano) - which has existed since antiquity. The dulcimer is still played by people from the Near to the Middle East and by most of the peoples of Europe. (The dulcimer in Hungary has grown in modern times to its most artistic version, called the crimbalom.) The dulcimer probably achieved its more modern design and set of concepts before the Fourteenth Century. Early versions of the dulcimer may have been called, the monochord, or the manicordion, from the previous Latin word monochordium, a scientific instrument for measuring what occurred when strings of various lengths were plucked, and other matters varied by finger placement or movement of a bridge. (See 1404 here)
The fife was used in Spain, The Alps, the Carpathian Mountains. (Another ancient instrument of Spain is the lynx.
C14th: Use in Europe of the still little-known doucaine or dulzaina, probably a flute-type instrument.
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Circa 1350: Beginning of the rise of formal and composed, concerted music in the West. The use of tabor and bagpipes fell from favour, although simple flutes and other pipes continued. About this time, the precursors of the modern flute began in use, refined to the classic European recorder, which derived from the flagelot. The recorder was distinguished by the width of the bore, contracted at one end, and it had an organ-pipe quality and allowed artistic flexibility. The design of the recorder (six to seven fingerholes covered or open in different combinations) may have encouraged cross-fingering, allowing semi-tones to be produced.
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