Mudcat Café message #1014972 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #62745   Message #1014972
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
08-Sep-03 - 05:15 PM
Thread Name: How old are steel strings?
Subject: RE: How old are steel strings?
The earliest stringed instrument known is the nanga, from ancient Egypt (examples in the British Museum). Dulcimer-like instruments were developed by the Assyrians, but were plucked. Gut, etc., at first. Biblical references would be to this type. The hammer dulcimer, cymbalo, etc. came later with the development of ear flaps on head gear and early calls for the elimination of noise pollution.

The first wire was gold, but useless for musical instruments. Don't know when brass wire came in. In the Middle Ages, the trick of wire pulling was invented. It was one hell of a job, the wire puller sometimes suspended in a cage or chair to add more force to the pulling. Only smaller gauge wire could be drawn, and lengths were relatively short. Stones with small holes suggest that the Assyrians were drawing wire, but the evidence is not clear-cut. Of course not the strong steel wire we know today. A while back, there was a thread on the development of steel wound wire strings, and this may fit in with the post by Les at the start of this thread. I have forgotten the history.

All of this is European-slanted history; the civilizations of the Far East are not included.