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An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, volume 1
by Ian Heath

Italian Musician
[Based on the Victory of the Sienese Troops at Val di Chiana in 1363 by Lippo Vanni also known as The Battle of Sinalunga]


Although the fife and drum were later to be the instruments par excellence of infantry musicians, during most of this period the role of the fife was generally filled by the pipe, this instrument being referred to in many written sources (see note 60) and depicted in use in conjunction with a small tabor in dozens of 14th and 15th century Italian pictures. This particular figure comes from the same source as 73. The tabor appears to have generally been slung round the neck from the right shoulder, though by the late-15th century it had been enlarged and deepened, becoming the typical infantry side-drum that is still in use today. 82a shows a Swiss example from the same source as figure 105.

In the original a body of crossbowmen and spearmen is being led by 3 such musicians, the inference being that the whole troop is marching in time with the music. Interestingly some sources record that the advance of the Genoese crossbowmen at Crécy was similarly accompanied by a great noise of 'drums and trumpets'.
[82a wears a red bonnet and tunic and possibly white trousers, which are the cantonal colours of Unterwalden. The drum is painted yellow. According to note 107.]

Next: 83. ITALIAN FLAGS in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 1 by Ian Heath