Music from Ireland in Colonial America
Expanded information from the Rogues' Consort CD Booklet

Rogues’ Consort: The Players

Sara Johnson: hammer ducimers, harpsichord, cittern, kit, pianoforte, spinet

Maynard Johnson: cello, recorders, ebony & tin flageolets, cittern, English guittar, firetongs and hickory stick on "The Night Before Larry Was Stretched"

Carmen Pillitteri: fiddle  

Sara Walthery: harps

John Turner: fiddles, recorder
"...consort means an ensemble of two or more instrumentalists. Viol consorts were originally meant to entertain the people who played in them, rather than an audience. Musical lines are usually equal in importance..." and "players share and take turns with interesting musical lines." The consort can accomodate different numbers of musicians, and there was music "for relatively large gatherings of friends or family who wished to play." from Annalisa Pappano, artistic director of
The Catacoustic Consort.

The Instruments

William Webster hammer dulcimer and antique hammered dulcimer estimated to have been made in the 1850s (used on "The Blackbird") - Sara Johnson

Harpsichord, pianoforte, Thomas Ciul spinet - Sara Johnson

Stephan Sobell citterns - Sara and Maynard, on "John Kelly"

Rausch English guittar made in 1763. The "English guittar" is not a guitar, but a cittern with ten wire strings arranged in ten courses, four double string courses and two lower single string courses, and tuned to a double open C major chord. In the late 1700s, English guittars were being made in Ireland. - Maynard, on "Huish the Cat"

O’Riordan ebony and Clarke tin flageolets (six hole whistles).

Recorders - Maynard's are a Moeck Rottenburgh ebony soprano and a Kung ebony alto.

Carmen recording with two inputs, a microphone and a direct transducer on his fiddle.
John Turner in Colonial Williamsburg

Fiddles (violins), Carmen and John

Cello, German ca. 1880s - Mittenwald - Maynard

Kit (pocket fiddle or pochette) - Sara Johnson

Celtic and Gothic harps - Sara Walthery

Instruments in use during this period:

Paul Gifford:  p. 69-70“The ensemble consisting of a violin, dulcimer, and bass (or, rather, a cello-sized instrument; it is variously designated as Bassgeige, Brummbass, Bassetl) nevertheless became popular as accompaniment for dancing at village weddings and festivals throughout German-speaking areas during the eighteenth century.”

“p.70 During the eighteenth century the Hackbrett became closely identified as an instrument to accompany the violin.

(Virginia Gazette, Purdie & Dixon, eds, April 18, 1771.) Woman violinist: “LONDON, January 16....It is allowed by all those who have heard Seigniora Sirmen, who now plays the Violin at the Opera House in the Haymarket, that she brings the finest Tone to that Instrument that has been heard; she has also the great Advantage of being a very genteel and beautiful Woman.”

Mandolin: Phila 1769, ‘when an Italian, John Gauldo, advertised in Philadelphia newspapers that he “has for Sale, a few violins, German Flutes; guittars; mandolins; spinets.

O’Dell, George C. D.: Annals of the New York Stage, (AMS Press, NY 1972)Beginnings of Drama             Vol. I [to 1798]; Vol II [1798-1821]:

page 46-47  “On April 27, 1752 ...the Post-Boy bore interesting tidings, of a famous Posture-Maser [sic] , just arrived, “who transforms his Body into various Postures, in a surprizing and wonderful Manner; with many Curious Dancings and Tumblings....He also performs the slight of Hand...and to make the Entertainment more agreeable, the company will be diverted with the Musick of a Dulcemer.” This phenomenon was exhibited “every Evening this Week, at Mr. Beekman’s at the Spring Garden,” by that well-known purveyor, Richard Brickell.

p. 82            Hackbrett in America: - At Charleston, South Carolina, in 1778, Bartholomew Hobzl, “lately arrived here from Germany,” advertised that he taught the “violin, dulcimer, French horn, bassoon, and clarinet after the most approved manner.”(South Carolina & American General Gazette, 25 May 1778.