Pre-industrial historical music epic megathread

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John the John

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I LOVE music of the past. Artists that are trying to recreate songs from almost forgotten artists or continue in their centuries old legacy. That is why I created this thread. We can put here our favourite historical music, say somethnig interesting about it and why we like it.

Here are the rules:

1. This thread is only for
A) Music created before the start of the second industrial revolution (1870)
B) Music that didn´t change with the industrial revolution (for example religious songs like Silent Night)
C) New Music that is trying to imitate historical styles (by using instruments of those times). If it´s really good it can also be a song from orchestra that doesn´t have anything to do with history but rememeber, this is mainly historical thread.

2. No pedancy - Please don´t have long discussions on what music exactly fits to this list. If you think someone posted song that shouldn´t be here contact him through Conversations not in this thread.


3. Write something interesting about the song - what you like about it, something about author or some interesting hist. fact about it. It doesn´t matter what exactly you write, the goal of this thread is to learn something new.

4. MUSIC - This is thread about music, please don´t go off topic.

5. If you want me to add or change something in this post send me message through Conversations.

Here is some music I like:

1. Palästinalied (Palestine Song) - This is a song written by medieval minnesänger Walther von der Vogelweide (c. 1170 – c. 1230) which has been described as greatest German lyrical poet before Goethe. He is one of my favourite poets.

This is Walther's only song where not only the text but also the original tune was handed down to modern times.

2. Gothien - A Czech Medieval band from Pilsen. They play and sing songs from High Middle Ages from various parts of old Europe.

"We seize the original melody and try to bring the taste of contemporary audience.
So a kind of remake of medieval songs. However, with instrumental possibilities of the musicians: drums, bagpipes, shawm, cittern, hurdy-gurdy and fiddle."

There are 14 songs in this video. Tracklist is in video description.


3. Lament for Constantinople and Salve Regina- Some of you maybe heard about Youtube channel "Adoration of the Cross". They have one of the biggest catalogues of old Roman Gregorian chants. They also have few Orthodox chants.

If you want to see translation than turn on the subtitles.

3. Clamavi de Profundis - Another youtube channel. They create new catholic songs, create adaptations of existing ones and they make adaptations of Tolkien´s poems. They are my favourite musical band.

Here are some of their original songs called "Deus in Adiutorium" and "Song of Kings"

Here are some of their adaptations of Tolkiens poems:

They also made adaptation of The Skye Boat song. It is a late 19th century Scottish song recalling the journey of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) from Uist to the Isle of Skye as he evaded capture by Government troops after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

4. Scolastica Rivata - This is a song I have accidentally discovered. It is about (or from?) polish nun Scolastica Rivata. I have no idea what it says.

5. On king´s hill - Slovak folk song. It is a song about marriage that everyone has to take. Marriage with death.

6. Gaudeamus Igitur - A popular academic commercium song in many European countries, mainly sung or performed at university and high-school graduation ceremonies. The song is thought to originate in a Latin manuscript from 1287.

7. The Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa - This song is from Sanskrit text of Hinduism Markandeya Purana. It is a song that queen Madālasā sings to her son. It is probably from c. 250 AD.

8. Jar (read Iar) - Polish musical group. They describe their music as "Slavonic Pagan Folk Music"

9. Arany Zoltán - He has amazing youtube channel. You can find there Hungarian folk music and some great medieval tunes. Great for listening while you are being sieged by the mongols.
https://www.youtube.com/user/aranzoltan/videos


10. Credo in unum deum - A song about trinity.

11. Leck mich im Arsch - Some of you may know that Mozart was a weirdo. He loved scatological humour. This is one of his less known songs which is called "Lick me in the arse". Now every time you hear Mozart think of this. :D

12. Ye Who Are Warriors of God - A 15th century Hussite war song in Czech language. Legend says that one of the Imperial Crusades have fled the battlefield before the battle itself, just by hearing the Hussites singing their hymn.

13. Drunken Sailer - a sea shanty, also known as "What Shall We Do with a/the Drunken Sailor? It is believed to originate in the early 19th century or before.
 
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John the John

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14. Ennio Morricone - he is a movie composer and in my opinion he is the best one out there. The reason why he is here is because he made many soundtracks for historical movies and series.

He made a main theme to my favourite Marco Polo adaptation (1982)
Moses theme
Once upon a time in the west
Man with a harmonica
Le Professionnel

15. How would unwary know - Ottoman Military Band March. I normally don´t listen to Ottoman music, but when I do, it´s a catchy marching song.

16. The song of Seikilos - This song is one of the oldest musical composition from the ancient world yet found. While there are other songs that are even centuries older than The song of Seikilos they were found only in fragments. What is unique about this song is, that it was found complete.

Seikilos carved the song on a grave pillar in dedication to his wife. Just imagine it. Seikilos composed this song to honour and remember his wife but thanks to this she is still remembered 2200 years after her death.

The Grave was discovered in 1883, near Aydin in Turkey. Archaeologists believe it dates between 200 BC and AD 100.

Here is the poem that Seikilos inscribed on her gravestone:

"As long as you live, shine,
Let nothing grieve you beyond measure.
For your life is short,
and time will claim its toll."


Here is more modern take on that song

17. The oldest known melody - While the The song of Seikilos is one of the oldest complete songs, fragment of Hurrian Hymn is the oldest known melody. It dates back to 1400 B.C. and was discovered in the 1950's in Ugarit, Syria.

It was interpreted by Dr. Richard Dumbrill. He wrote a book entitled "The Archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near East." Here is a link to it:
http://royalholloway.academia.edu/RichardDumbrill/Books


Here is the song itself

18. Nantucket - Main theme from Nantucket game (2018). I think it nicely summarizes the beginning of Moby Dick.

I hope there was atleast one song you didn´t know. :)

For the greater good of this thread I am asking @Grand Historian @Abdul Goatherd and @Johan to post their favourite hist. song.
 
Last edited:

Abdul Goatherd

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Hm. I've banished music from my life. But the parameters are intriguing.

I'll contribute three old popular Scottish tunes, set down by the poet Robert Burns, and played by modern musicians.

(1) The incomparable Steve Winwood's revival of the Burns ballad on the Death of John Barleycorn (i.e. the production of whiskey). [the original Burns ballad is worded sightly differently, with more stanzas (poem); Winwood apparently found an even older version than Burns.]


(2) Continuing with Burns, some Scottish 18th C. politics: - "Awa' Whigs Awa'", whenever you're in a Jacobite mood.


(3) And more Burns in reply - "Ye Jacobites By Name", whenever you're in a Whig mood.

 
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John the John

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Hm. I've banished music from my life. But the parameters are intriguing.

I'll contribute three old popular Scottish tunes, set down by the poet Robert Burns, and played by modern musicians.

(1) The incomparable Steve Winwood's revival of the Burns ballad on the Death of John Barleycorn (i.e. the production of whiskey). [the original Burns ballad is worded sightly differently, with more stanzas (poem); Winwood apparently found an even older version than Burns.]


(2) Continuing with Burns, some Scottish 18th C. politics: - "Awa' Whigs Awa'", whenever you're in a Jacobite mood.


(3) And more Burns in reply - "Ye Jacobites By Name", whenever you're in a Whig mood.

Thank you for your contribution. I especially like "Ye Jacobites By Name". :)

19. Chingges Khaanii Magtaal (In Praise of Genghis Khan) - A Mongolian Monarchist song. Sung with the Traditional Mongolian Throat singing method.

20. Song of Crusade - Song about St. Louis IX.

To see translation in both of them just enable subtitles.
 

sgt.stickybomb

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chepaeff

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Song dedicated to Second Crusade written by anonymous troubadour in 1147.
 

Herbert West

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There are tons of revivalist folk artists around Europe. Honestly, while this wave has passed anglohpones by for a long time, you can hardly throw a stone in Europe without hitting someone trying to recreate the Pre-Industrial. Look up the whole ouvre of Corvus Corax as a starting point

For authentic Medieval stuff, Vox Vulgaris or Istanpitta are quite good, playing mostly period-accurate melodies based on old manuscripts, using period-accurate instruments.



There is always Joculatores Upsalienses, (FALALALALAN!) thought that is a mix of chamber and popular.

And of course, there are the new giants in the playground, Wardruna and Heilung, neither of which claims direct authenticity, but both of which feel very old. Wardruna is full-on 8-10th century viking stuff, Heilung is more 4-8th, and somewhat more continental.


 

John the John

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Thank you all for the music you added here!

I have just found this song. It's Psalm 53 in Arameic. This video takes place in Georgia during pope's visit in 2016. I have to say, I'm amazed how strong lungs this singers have. Especially the bearded priest in the middle.
 
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chepaeff

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Cantigas! Spanish-portuguese XIII-XIV century secular and church songs, mostly church ones survived.
 

Grand Historian

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sorry for the late response, I've been in a Kotor induced haze for spring break

As no one's really brought him up, I'd like to leave some of my favorite from Bach:





Admittedly I hesitate to put a Baroque period composer here, but seeing as how many elements of Baroque musical composition were abandoned by the time of the Romantics (along with a few instruments that contributed to its distinct sound) and, perhaps barring Messiah, most Baroque pieces have remained untouched by modernizing trends, I feel it only right to pay him proper due (especially since EU4 seemed to have an aversion to using harpsichords in its soundtrack). As for a slightly older piece:


As the Musica enchiriadis was the first attempt we know of at polyphony and musical notation itself only began to be used widely during the Carolingian Renaissance, I would consider this to be a pretty important bit of musical history.
 

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10. Credo in unum deum - A song about trinity.
Not just *a* song about the Trinity, this seems to be exactly part of the Latin version of the Nicene Creed (or possibly one of the closely related ones, the musical composition makes me only 90% sure with its repetitions).
 

John the John

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Not just *a* song about the Trinity, this seems to be exactly part of the Latin version of the Nicene Creed (or possibly one of the closely related ones, the musical composition makes me only 90% sure with its repetitions).
Yes, it is simplified version of Nicene-Constantinople creed with filióque. It cuts the second and third part of the creed so all 3 persons of trinity would have the same time in the song and sprinkles repeating of "Credo in unum deum" on it.

I haven't realised it is Nicene Creed because I'm used to hear it with the long central part about Jesus Christ (which is the longest one), while in this song they have all the same amount of text.

Here are the lyrics
Credo in unum Deum
Patrem omnipotentem
Credo in unum Deum
factorem coeli et terrae
Visibilium omnium
et invisibilium
Credo in unum Deum, Amen

Credo in unum Deum
Dominum Jesum Christum
Credo in unum Deum
Filium Dei unigenitum
Et ex Patre natum
ante omnia saecula
Credo in unum Deum, Amen

Credo in unum Deum
Spiritum sanctum
Credo in unum Deum
Dominum et vivificantem
Qui ex Patre
filioque procedit
Credo in unum Deum, Amen

Credo in unum Deum
Patrem omnipotentem
Credo in unum Deum
Dominum Jesum Christum
Credo in unum Deum
Spiritum sanctum
Credo in unum Deum, Amen
 
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Gurkhal

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Excellent thread!

I hope that these additions are according to what's asked for as I can't pretend to be an expert in historical music but I am pretty sure these are modern takes on historical songs).

Garmarna (which I would think brings pre-industrial Swedish folk music to modern ears) - I'll provide two songs here, one of them with a music video ;)



Annwn (German band making takes on medieval, to my knowledge, music) - I'll provide one of their songs here that I found very touching


Owain Phyfe (has made some excellent takes on a few medieval and renaissance songs) - and with two songs that I personally find very enjoyable


 

John the John

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Excellent thread!
Thank you! :)

I hope that these additions are according to what's asked for as I can't pretend to be an expert in historical music but I am pretty sure these are modern takes on historical songs).
It´s alright. Many songs here are modern interpretations of hist. songs. If this thread was only for songs that have preserved it´s original melody than 90% of songs here would be from the famous classical composers like Mozart, Beethoven or Vivaldi and I wanted to have some diversity in this thread. I especially love medieval music but most of the medieval songs have been either forgotten or only lyrics survived. Same goes to the folk songs. Most of the survived folk songs have been written down in 18th and 19th century. The term "folklore" itself in a meaning we understand it today was created in 18th century. Who knows how many songs, poems and stories have been forgotten since the dawn of human imagination? One of the things I find most fascinating about history is how much has been forgotten, forever lost and how everything we know and see now will be also once forgotten. Forever.

I have myself included even adaptations of Tolkien´s poems (even though he lived in 20th century) because they are similar in style with the pre-industrial music and because Tolkien´s works are written archaically, trying to mimic literature of the past centuries (especially some of his less known works like Fall of Arthur or The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún, works he sadly never finished). Tolkien is considered as the greatest expert on Beowulf (he also made his own translation). I just wanted to make clear why I included him here because he might seem out of place.

Here are some songs from Neidhart von Reuental (1190 - 1237) another famous German minnesinger. He was contemporary of Walther von der Vogelweide (which I have already mentioned in OP with Palestine song). He is very well known for being rather sarcastic and comical. What is interesting about him is that more melodies survive by him than from any other minnesinger. I myself don´t like all his songs because some of them are too repetitive, energetic and try to fit as much text into the song as possible. He certainly must have been interesting fellow. He was definitely very active considering how many songs we have from him. If you were part of upper or middle class in Bavaria, you would get drunk while listening to his songs.

This one is my favourite from him


 
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This is an anonymous song from the Gargano peninsula in northern Puglia (southern Italy). It was rescued by Italian musicologists before it was completely forgotten during the 1950s; on musicological and linguistic grounds it's been dated to the XVI century. It's titled simply as "Tarantella del Gargano", sung here by the Neapolitan tenor Marco Beasley, accompanied by Christina Pluhar and her ensemble L'Arpeggiata:

 
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1) Celtic Harp - Elizbar
Under white wings

2) Old Russian Harp

3) Ockeghem - Deo Gratias

4) Manchou song

5) Chinese pipa musical instrument

5) A song about Jerusalem imitating the psalms of David

6) Inca music

7) Songs of the Muslim East

Tarik ibn Ziyad nasheed. Tariq ibn Ziad conquered Spain from the Visigoth Christians
Ozodbek Nazarbekov - Mendirman

8) Music of the Turkic peoples

"Music of the descendants of the Uigur Kaganate"
Song Saryg-Yugur
Dance Saryg-Yugur
Yakut dance
Yakut music
Altai dance
Uyghur folk song - Gulyarxan
 
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8) Music of the Turkic peoples (Continuation)

"Music of the descendants of the Kyrgyz kaganat"
Shor suite
Khakass dance

Music of the descendants of the Volga Bulgaria
Chuvash folk song
Bashkir folk tale: "Ete kyz" (seven girls)
Qazan Tatars - Volga Bulgars (Tugan yak / Native land) - Tatar song

9) Music of the Mongolian peoples
Kalmyk (Oirat) dance

Buryat song
Daur Concert

10) Kamchadal (Itelmen) dance
11) Koryak dance
12) Evenk dance
 

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Something a Spanish friend showed me.
 

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On August 3rd, 1692 the French army under the command of the maréchal Duc de Luxembourg defeated the allied Anglo-Dutch forces commanded by William III of Orange at Steenkerque (then in the Spanish Netherlands, now in Belgium). At that time, the French composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier was Master of Music at the Jesuit church of Saint Louis in Paris, and he composed his Te Deum in D major (H.146) to celebrate the French victory. In this video, this brilliant setting of the Latin hymn is performed by Les Arts Florissants orchestra and chorus, conducted by their founder William Christie. As an interesting aside, this is a historically informed performance on authentic instruments, and as has become customary in such performances of Baroque French religious music, the text is sung using the historical pronunciation of Latin à la française, as was customary in French churches until the dawn of the XX century.

 
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This is a little-known gem from the Iberian Baroque. Domenico Scarlatti (Naples 1685 - Madrid 1757) was an Italian-born composer whose father Alessandro was also a successful composer. Until 1719 he lived in Italy, where he led quite a lackluster career, but that year he left Italy and travelled to Lisbon, as King Joao V of Portugal had hired him to teach music to his daughter the princess Maria Barbara of Bragança. In 1727 he returned to Italy where he got married, but two years later he travelled to Seville, where his former pupil married the Prince of Asturias Ferdinand, who would be later King Ferdinand VI of Spain. He lived in Seville for the following four years, but in 1733 Scarlatti settled in Madrid, where he became master of music of princess Maria Barbara, a post he occuppied until his death; Maria Barbara became Queen of Spain in 1746, and Scarlatti would then enjoy royal patronage for the rest of his life. His stay in Portugal and Spain and especially the contact with the popular music of these two Iberian countries made a deep impression on Scarlatti, and since his arrival in Portugal, his composing style changed radically. Before that, he'd composed vocal religious and secular of a rather bland and conventional Italian style, but from 1719 on he begen churning out harpsichord sonatas (there's more than 500 of them found and classified to this date, and more appear from time to time) of a deeply personal and innovative styile, full of invention and originality and deeply influenced by Iberian popular music.

In 1983, a musicologist discovered a piece for harpsichord in a manuscript preserved in an archive in La Orotava, in the Canarian island of Tenerife. This manuscript had belonged to a cleric of the XVIII cleric which had gathered together several pieces for harpsichord from several Spanish composers of his time; and at the bottom of this music sheet it was written "Fandango del señor Escarlate". The style fits with other works by this composer, but its attribution remains dubious due to the lack of confirmation. The fandango was a dance that had just arrived to Spain from its American colonies and had quickly become very popular across the peninsula; its unclear from which part of Spanish America it was originary; today there are varieties of fandango danced in Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico. This is Scarlatti's (alleged) version of this dance, performed on a harpsichord by Jukka Tiensuu: