Nursery Rhymes

Rote

Medieval life and Times

Definition and Description of the Rote
Definition and description of the Rote: The Rote can be described as a kind of guitar or the boxlike lyres with straight or waisted sides, the notes of which were produced by a small wheel or wheel-like arrangement, similar to the hurdy-gurdy. Also referred to as a Rotta or the crwth which was the Welsh bowed lyre. The Rote is believed to date back to the 6th century.

The origin of this instrument is uncertain and very few have survived. Descriptions of the rote vary from a lyre to a lute and a harp to the hurdy-gurdy. Descriptions of the method of playing the rote varied from being played on the shoulder like a violin, between the knees like a cello, or held vertically against the chest, supported with a strap around the player's neck. The Medieval author Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned the name of the instrument in the following quote:

"Well could he sing and play on a rote."

Family of Instruments: The Rote belongs to the family of String instruments.

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