"Ma il re, che in buona tempera era, fatto chiamar Tindaro, gli comandò che fuor traesse la sua cornamusa, al suono della quale esso fece fare molte danze. Ma, essendo già buona parte di notte passata, a ciascun disse ch'andasse a dormire.”
John II of France estabilishes The Order of the Star
Grandes Chroniques de France, 14th century
Playing and dancing
Theatrum Sanitatis, 14th century
"Joueur de chevrette"
Musée Saint Rémi, Reims, 13th century
These depictions and many others often show a great degree of precision and detail which are a great help to confirm the theories and guesswork or at the very least to show what they were not like.
Certainly these images cannot in any way show us the most important and detailed parts of this instrument like the inner bores of the pipes or the reeds shape.
Finally, it is important that all these sources need to be integrated and combined with a rich history of information about instrument making traditions, musical theory, acoustic laws and history of technology.
A last look is at the name with which we have decided to call our instruments. The term ‘Musa’ is of ancient origin and appears in one of the first medieval descriptions of this instrument written by the monk Johannes Cottonius. We believe that the warmth with which this instrument is described, other than the legacy of the poor Miller by Chaucer, is a precious way of understanding this often misunderstood instrument.
"Dicitur autem musica, ut quidam volunt, a musa, quae est instrumentum quoddam musicae decenter satis et iocunde clangens. Sed videamus, qua ratione, qua auctoritate a musa traxerit nomen musica. Musa, ut diximus instrumentum quoddam est omnia musicae superexcellens instrumenta, quippe quae omnium vim atque modum in se continet: humano siquidem inflatur spiritu ut tibia, manu temperatur ut phiala, folle excitatur ut organa. Unde et a Graeco quod est μεση mesa, id est media, musa dicitur, eo quod sicut in aliquo medio diversa coeunt spatia, ita et in musa multimoda conveniunt instrumenta. Non ergo incongrue a principali parte sua musica nomen sortita est.”
"It is called music, as some would have it, from musa [bagpipe], which is a certain musical instrument proper and pleasant enough in sound. But let us consider by what reasoning and what authority music derives its name from musa. Musa, has we have said, is a certain instrument far surpassing all other musical instruments, inasmuch as it contains in itself the power and methods of them all. For it is blown into by human breath like a pipe, it is regulated by the hand like the fiddle, and it is animated by a bellows like organs. Hence musa derives from Greek μεση (mese), that is, "central", for just as divers paths converge at some central point, so too do manifold instruments meet together in the musa. Therefore, the name "music" was not unfittingly taken from its main exponent.
(Johannes Cottonius, “De Musica cum Tonario”, Chapter III, around AD 1100)