|Purveyors of Early Music|
About Our Music
The Jarana and the Requinto
The Hurdy Gurdy
English Renaissance Music in Cincinnati. Songs from Shakespeare's plays!
We now have a program of Music From the Time of Shakespeare. Shakespeare used many different songs and musical instrument references in his plays. The folk song and ballad tunes in his plays were equally well known by both the groundlings and the more distinguished patrons. Bits of these songs were used to create jokes in the plays, to create mood, and to evoke certain emotions as well. A favourite device of Shakespeare was to turn the lyrics of a popular song into a bantering dialogue between characters. Now you can hear this music as Shakespeare's audience would have heard it, performed on historical instruments of the time!
Spanish Sephardic Music from the 14th - 17th centuries.
The Noyse Merchants also offers a program highlighting the astonishing musical wealth of Sephardic music, music carried from Spain (after the expulsion of the Moors and Jews in 1492) to the Ottoman Empire and to North Africa. The Sephardic sound is medieval with distinct modes - the melancholic sounds that immediately remind us of Spanish, Hebrew, and Gypsy music. Since Sephardic music has its roots in the musical traditions of medieval Spain, we thought it appropriate to perform it on early instruments. The addition of the violin and chalumeaux (early clarinet) reflects the fact that Sephardic music has adopted the rhythms and tone colors of the various countries where the Sephardim settled.
See our History of performances.
Our Early Music group The Noyse Merchants plays Medieval and Renaissance music as well as music from the early Baroque. We play music from the 12th through the 17th centuries on historical musical instruments. Music from the Middle Ages, the Crusades, music from early Ireland, Scotland and England--essentially popular music from previous centuries. Historically-informed performances are supported with research into areas as diverse as musicology, instrument-making, literature, medieval and renaissance studies, and fine arts.
You might like this page: The Gemshorn - Fact or Fiction?
The Instrument Making section has detailed photos showing the construction of a Baroque Guitar, Vihuela, Rebec, Orpharion, Citole, Fiddle, Vielle, Medieval Lute, Renaissance Lute, and Baroque Archlute. It also contains a brief history of early instrument building in Cincinnati, including the work of Larry Brown, Dave Schneider, and the late Ben Bechtel.
Photos by Tina Gutierrez.
© Early Music Cincinnati, 2006, and Larry Brown, lute maker. Early music in Cincinnati Ohio includes early music entertainment, Renaissance and Medieval Music, classical music, and chamber music. The ensemble members study and teach baroque guitar, lute, recorder, and other historical instruments, including improvisation, ornamentation, articulation, basso continuo, historical notation, organology and more.) Our collection of musical instruments includes the Renaissance lute, Baroque Guitar, rebec, wooden Renaissance flute, Renaissance and Baroque recorders, (including soprano, alto, tenor, and bass recorder), citole, cetra, medieval small pipes (hummelchen) , Hurdy Gurdy, and baroque violin.
The important thing to note about The Noyse Merchants is our group's access to extraordinary resources, including lute-making, baroque guitar construction, and building early instruments. The construction of early instruments in our workshop here in Cincinnati allows us to experiment with different early music sounds and tone colors. We like to weave pedagogical and performance strands together in a way that makes historically-informed performance of early music enjoyable to the broadest spectrum of listeners. This means an emphasis on improvisational performance in historically informed styles.