Medieval Lituus

Medieval Lituus The medieval musical instrument called a lituus is a long, slender horn. It is similar in tone and function to a trumpet. The instrument was last in common use during the Middle Ages, and was not seen or heard again until a team of researchers recreated the instrument in 2009.

The medieval lituus was a specified instrument in Bach's cantata O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht. But no modern musician had ever played, or even seen a lituus! The Swiss conservatory Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (SCB) asked the University of Edinburgh to recreate the lituus (also known as Bach's horn) for them. They used computer modeling to design the instrument from information about what it should sound like, what it might have looked like, and the available materials and technology in Bach's time. Two identical instruments were produced, and were played in the Bach cantata in 2009.