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Carnyx

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Alisha Marie Klapheke
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Carnyx

Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Sun May 6th, 2012, 10:08 pm

I've been researching pre Roman instruments found in the UK and I stumbled across a guy that plays a carnyx in his spare time. Cool stuff. You guys probably already know about these, but they're new to me!

A carnyx is a bronze (at least in the case of this repro) horn, tall enough to carry crazy blasts of sound over the heads of warriors ready for battle. The instruments terminated in the head of such creatures as wild boar, deer, and serpents. The repro I looked at online (the real original piece is currently in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh if I'm not mistaken) bears the head of a boar whose lower jaw and tongue move, making its sound even scarier.

Here's the youtube link for that carnyx-wielding madman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVAWwWi0DbE/ Not sure if this link will work...

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Post by annis » Mon May 7th, 2012, 9:34 am

Cool- I always wondered what they sounded like! The Roman armies of Julius Caesar in Gaul and Claudius in Britain would have been all too familar with the sound, I imagine-- pretty scary when heralding an imminent attack by savage Celtic warriors looking for a few more heads to add to their collections...

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Post by erechwydd » Mon May 7th, 2012, 12:11 pm

Pretty scary, and also pretty loud! I was lucky enough to get to hear John Kenny (who is the the fellow playing on the YouTube video) when he was at the Bath Music Festival, and I can tell you, when you're in the same room, that instrument is enough to blast your ears off when it gets going. ;) But it's also interesting to hear how subtle it can be. I have no sound on my PC at the moment so I can't tell what Mr Kenny's demonstrating on those YouTube videos, but as you say Alisha, as well as the conventional sound, it's also possible to make a sort of clicking rattle with the tongue. While it's not quite so loud, I would imagine even that could be unnerving if several carnyces were to do it at once.
Last edited by erechwydd on Mon May 7th, 2012, 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by fljustice » Mon May 7th, 2012, 3:01 pm

Thanks, Alisha! I wondered what they sounded like...off to add details to my WIP.
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Post by annis » Tue May 8th, 2012, 12:59 am

Here are three Celtic warriors depicted with their carnyces on the Gundestrup cauldron

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I'm reminded of Suetonius' brisk words to his vastly outnumbered legionaries when they faced Boudicca's army (as recorded by Tacitus)
"Ignore the racket made by these savages. There are more women than men in their ranks. They are not soldiers - they're not even properly equipped. We've beaten them before and when they see our weapons and feel our spirit, they'll crack." As indeed they did, disastrously for the Celtic cause.
Last edited by annis on Tue May 15th, 2012, 12:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Fri May 11th, 2012, 3:11 am

*wipes tear* You guys are my favorite. I don't know what I'd do without this wonderful place. No, wait, I know. I'd explode and random historical info would splatter all over my not-so-tidy kitchen.

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Post by parthianbow » Fri May 11th, 2012, 8:58 pm

Thanks for the link, Alisha. I'm off to listen in a mo'!

Hannibal's Celtic allies would have used them too. I have them being sounded before the battle of the Trebbia in winter 218, just after Hannibal had arrived in modern-day N Italy. Scary stuff.

After listening - WOW - COOOOOOOOOOOL!!! They would have been terrifying in battle. Double thanks, Alisha!
Last edited by parthianbow on Fri May 11th, 2012, 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Thu May 17th, 2012, 2:57 am

I listened to it again today bc I blogged to my YA peeps about the carnyx. It really does give me serious shivers.

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Post by Margaret » Thu May 17th, 2012, 4:57 am

Way cool! Love the waggling pink tongue. Thanks so much for sharing!
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Post by erechwydd » Thu May 17th, 2012, 12:20 pm

Apparently the tongue took somewhere around a dozen attempts before they got the weight right.

Like your suggestion about the squirrels, Alisha. Guaranteed to get them moving, I'd say!

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