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Tenor cornett

Basano1600/1610

Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell

Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell

This tenor cornett, also known as a lysard, dates from the early 17th century and is one of only five known historical examples of this instrument in England. The maker’s mark of three silkworm moths and mulberry tree is likely to be that of the famous Bassano family of musicians, some of whom moved to England in the court of Henry VIII. This instrument is thought to have been purchased in 1608 for the Norwich waits, a group of musicians employed to play and welcome royal visitors, lead mayoral processions or even to wake people up on winter mornings. These groups are evident in other countries and are known as stadspijpers in Holland, Stadtpfeifer in Germany and Pifferi in Italy. It is possible that this could have been the instrument played to welcome Will Kemp into Norwich after he Morris danced all the way from London. Kemp was one of Shakespeare’s actors and it is thought that some of the early comic parts were written especially for him.

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  • Title: Tenor cornett
  • Creator: Basano
  • Date: 1600/1610
  • location association: Norwich
  • Maker: Basano
  • Display Type: On Display
  • Type: Tenor cornett
  • Medium: wood, leather

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