Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Awesome fact of the day, courtesy of the excellent Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia, by Orlando Figes:

"Serfs were essential to the Sheremetev palaces and their arts . . . Many of these serfs were sent abroad or assigned to the court to learn their craft. But where skill was lacking, much could be achieved through sheer numbers. At Kuskovo there was a horn band in which, to save time on the training of players, each musician was taught to play just one note. The number of players depended on the number of different notes in a tune; their sole skill lay in playing their note at the appropriate moment."