Friday, November 20, 2009

The sincerest form of flattery

More from Adrian Le Roy's A briefe and plaine Instruction, published in London in 1574. I love these pictures, which show how to test a lute string before putting it onto the instrument. The good string appears to divide into two when it's plucked, the bad string looks all fuzzy. Note the lovingly-drawn detail: the dainty ruff at the end of the sleeves, the hank of string-gut hanging down on the right, the curly end of the string on the left. (Click the picture to see a large version).

Someone else who clearly liked the picture was Marin Mersenne, author of Harmonie Universelle, a music theory book published in Paris in 1636 and weighing in at an impressive 1,600 pages. Here's his illustration of the same thing:

Definitely a family resemblance.

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