35 minutes ago
In Spain, two new fretted string instruments related to the lute emerged in late medieval times and spread around the Western world. These were the vihuela (Spanish guitar) and the viol. Our modern, classical guitar is a direct descendant of the vihuela. Because it was plucked it was often called vihuela de mano (hand guitar). Related to it was a Spanish instrument called the vihuela de arco (bowed guitar), better known as the viol. The viol was developed in Spain in the late 1400s. It had six strings and was fretted and tuned like the lute and vihuela, but it was bowed, not plucked. It came in different sizes and was played with the instrument resting on the lap and legs. It is often called by its Italian name viola da gamba (leg viol). Having entered Italy from Spain, it quickly spread from there throughout Western Europe.
The violin is slightly younger than the viol and emerged in Renaissance Italy. It was portable and held off the shoulder. Its small size caused it to produce higher pitches, and because of its brighter sound it was often preferred for dance music. Throughout the sixteenth century, the viol was considered the aristocrat of string instruments whereas the violin was more low-class, appropriate for semi-professional musicians to play for dancing in taverns. Not until the seventeenth century did it emerge as the dominant bowed string instrument. The violin family now consists of the violin, viola and cello along with the double bass. Italian instrument builders developed the art of violin-making to a peak that has never been surpassed.
Violins appeared after 1520 in northern Italian towns such as Mantua, Ferrara and above all Cremona. Antonio Stradivari (ca. 1644-1737) from Cremona was the most prominent member of a renowned family of instrument-makers. He is often known to the general public under the Latinized version of his name, Stradivarius, or the colloquial “Strad.” He was possibly a pupil of Nicolò Amati (1596-1684), who came from another Italian dynasty of violin-makers.
The arrest of a heavily armed Christian militia in Michigan, beyond what it tells us about where the US is headed, provides a great example of how NOT to conduct insurgency. Lots of small unit training (weapons and camouflage), a Web site (including YouTube videos) that states intent/shows preparations, and the planning of fantasy attacks on police with IEDs will result in one thing: rapid arrest/death. It's just pathetic.
Today, few people understand the meaning of my tee-shirt that reads: “Work is the blackmail of survival.” Today, we understand that “work” means “employment.” This would not have been so two hundred years ago.
For the American living before 1800, a ‘wage slave’ was a mere step removed from an actual slave. To be an employee was one step above indentured servitude. You did it when necessity demanded, but only for as short a period of time as possible, and then returned to become more independent—your own boss.
The story of how we became ‘wage slaves,’ and the multiple revolts against this station, is a fascinating one, and part of our ‘untold history.’
In 1800, few worked as wage-earners. By 1870, over half the workforce were employees; by 1940, over 80% worked for someone else and in 2007, 92% accepted a salary. If increasing wages don’t satisfy us, it is, perhaps, because deep within our souls we recognize the fact that ‘wage slave’ is a ‘low dog’ position, a vulnerable and dependent state.
A wage slave is “someone who feels compelled to work in return for wages in order to survive.” The notion that wage work is coerced by social conditions, and is actually a form of slavery, is a notion that arose early in the transformation of wage-earning, 1836, as women in Lowell became millworkers.
From that point onward, “early American workers planned to accomplish their liberation from wage slavery by substituting for it a system based on cooperative work and by constructing parallel institutions that would supersede the institutions of the wage system.” Curl p.3
By the 1880’s the population had reached 50 million, and by 1886, 1 in 12 wage-earners over 15 years old (1 million) were members of the Knights of Labor. Their goal was not simply to improve working conditions and wages, but “to raise members out of wage slavery entirely.” Opposition to wages took the form of protective and mutual –aid organizations, including unions, cooperatives, and parties.