The clarion (also clarichord, clavicord, rest or sufflue), is a rare charge in heraldry of uncertain meaning and purpose. It originates from England and is still largely exclusive to that country, though latterly it has been imported to other Anglophone nations. In Canadian heraldry, it is the cadency mark of a ninth daughter.
It is generally said to represent a kind of wind instrument such as a panpipe or recorder, but does not resemble the trumpet-like clarion known to modern musicians. It may also be intended as an overhead view of a keyboard instrument such as a spinet. Alternatively it has been said to represent a 'rest', a device used by mediaeval knights to support a lance during jousting. In his Display of Heraldry John Guillim suggests that it may be a rudder. 'Clarion' is also the name given to a stop on an organ which imitates the sound of a trumpet.
A verse of poetry published in 1568 does not do much to clarify the issue:
The claricord hath a tunely kynde
As the wyre is wrested hye and lowe
So it tuenyth to the players mynde
For as it is wrested so must it nedes showe
As by this reson ye may well know
Any Instrument mystunyd shall hurt a trew song
Yet blame not the claricord the wrester doth wrong.
The claricord has a tuneful nature
As the wire is tightened high and low
Thus is it tuned to the player's mind
For as it is tightened, so it must go
And by this reason, you must know
Any instrument mistuned shall hurt a true song
Yet blame not the claricord the tuner does wrong.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Category:Clarions in heraldry.|
- Clarion: illustration and discussion by François Velde. Accessed March 6, 2010.
- Clarion, Claricord, Organ Rest, Rest, Sufflue: illustration and brief description. Accessed March 6, 2010.
- The Meanings Behind the Symbols: Clarion: heraldic charge illustrated, and interpreted as meaning "ready for war." This meaning is compatible with the idiom clarion call, meaning an irresistible summons (as to war). Accessed March 6, 2010.
- Coats of arms of Case Western Reserve University and its predecessors. A description of the arms used by the School of Applied Science / Case Institute of Technology (1942–1967). Accessed March 6, 2010.
- Texts on Music in English reprinted by the Center for the History of Music Theory and Literature of the University of Nebraska and Indiana University. Accessed January 20, 2007.