Lituus: Lost and Found

Posted by: Rich Johnson on June 1, 2009 @ 11:16 am
Filed under: Music, Music Technology

Scientists have recreated a long lost relative of the trumpet.

From Pallab Ghosh of BBC News:

New software has enabled researchers to recreate a long forgotten musical instrument called the Lituus. The 2.7m (8.5ft) long trumpet-like instrument fell out of use some 300 years ago.

Bach’s motet (a choral musical composition) “O Jesu Christ, meins lebens licht” was one of the last pieces of music written for the Lituus. Now, for the first time, this 18th Century composition has been played as it might have been heard.

The new software was created to improve the design of modern brass instruments.

“Sophisticated computer modelling software has a huge role to play in the way we make music in the future,” comments Professor Campbell.

The software also opens up the possibility that brass instruments could be customised more closely to the needs of individual players in the future – catering more closely for the differing needs of jazz, classical and other players all over the world.


  1. That’s incredible, Rich. Thanks for posting. Nice sound samples over there, too.

    Comment by Dave Douglas — June 1, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  2. Thanks Dave,
    As I was posting I was listening to Jon Hassell’s latest recording, “Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street” and wondering what kind of brass customizing we might see in the future – the trumpet’s already so versatile!

    Comment by Rich — June 1, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

  3. Great post. Many great brass instruments will come out of hibernation because of this technology, I’m sure.

    After seeing that picture, I was reminded of Hans Kennel’s recordings with the Alphorn in his Mytha group. Great sounds from those horns. The tonal scale of those instruments makes some pretty music by my ears.

    Check it:

    Comment by Jim Tuerk — June 2, 2009 @ 10:12 am

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