View Full Version : strings,picks,weight

Feb-07-2004, 8:45pm
Felt like I had to share this story. From the article: "Flight of the Blackbird", by Robert W. Lebling Jr. It really made me laugh out loud. It is from Saudi Armaco World Magazine, July/August 2003.
This is the renowned historian Ibn Hayyan's account as related by al-Maggari in the 17th century.
In the first half of the 9th century the Blackbird, Ziryab, was summoned to play for the Caliph of the Abbasid Empire (modern day Baghdad). He was asked to use his teachers 'UD or Lute as it is referred to in this writing. He declined saying... "I've brought my own Lute which I made myself-stripping the wood and working it- and no other instrument satisfies me." He continues, "Even though the wood and the size are the same, the weight is not. My lute weighs about 1/3 less then Ishaq's, and my strings are made of silk that has not been spun with hot water- which weakens them. The base and 3rd strings are made of lion gut, which is softer and more sonorous then any others, and they can better withstand the striking of the pick." Ziryab's pick was a sharpened eagle's claw rather then the usual piece of carved wood.
Is that too perfect? Hope you enjoy.
George Wardlaw

John Flynn
Feb-07-2004, 9:03pm
Ziryab's pick was a sharpened eagle's claw
I prefer fossilized terodactyl claw picks. They are far superior to the eagle claws!http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif