In spite of the promising recent development of comparative musicology (also including the study of musical instruments) and of semiotics (also including musical semiotics), there is no summarizing attempt to describe and analyze the “signs on musical instruments” phenomena, i.e. carved or painted parts of the instruments. The zoomorphic and anthropomorphic construction and forms of musical instruments, and of their parts, is a wide-ranging field of study. The paper shows some examples of ancient and folk music instruments, by using the common (Peircian) terminology in describing their signs in the proper sense of the word. Animal shells used as bodies of instruments, snake- and dragon-formed instruments, amorous heads on string instruments, human heads and devilish forms of bagpipes, paintings on piano’s wooden cases, emblems or coats of arms of the builders of the instruments — just there are some cases of signs of musical instruments. There are further allusions to musical signs as well.
The folklore surrounding the figure of King Matthias offers an illuminating example of the international nature of both the culture of the Renaissance and folklore itself. The following paper offers an overview of the history of much of the research and scholarship concerning the figure of the king in European folklore (particularly the folklore traditions of Central Europe), followed by a discussion of the historical layers of inter-ethnic (international) Matthias folklore.
The Hungarian Baron (then Count), Móric Benyovszky (1746–1786) was one of the best known European adventurers in the years before the French Revolution. As a young soldier he participated in a Polish uprising (1769) against the Russians, was captured by them and exiled to Kamchatka, from where he fled, and after a long journey at sea (via Formosa, Canton, Madagascar and Africa) he arrived in 1772 in Paris. There he proposed to the Court the colonization of Madagascar and organized his first expedition to the island (1774–1776), which turned out to be a complete failure. However, he insisted on making a second attempt, offering the island first to the French King, then to the English, and finally to rich American merchants in Baltimore. He was sailing to Madagascar again (1785–1786), but was soon killed by the French soldiers there. His
and other publications about him were quickly published in French and English, as were several books in German, Dutch, Swedish, Polish, Slovak, and Hungarian immortalizing him. In 2004 the Hungarian National Library published a manuscript
(originally an official report of exculpation to the French authorities about the first expedition). My paper describes this work, and adds some source critical remarks. Benyovszky was a typical figure of his time: hero and impostor, explorer and blind reporter of an extraordinary world. The interest in his person (not only in Hungary or Slovakia) has not flagged for over two centuries.