Blog Archives

Body frets: Who needs them?

…those that be exercised in the same art, stop the strings justly … as cunningly as though they had frets.

Nowadays everybody uses tied gut frets as far as possible on the neck (usually up to the 8th fret), and wooden frets up to fret 12, but in the past it was normal to use no frets at all beyond the 8th.

Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Dowland’s ‘Tremolo’ Fantasia: What’s wrong with it?

Dowland’s famous “tremolo” fantasia is familiar from many performances, starting with Julian Bream in the 1970s and continuing to be a favourite piece amongst modern lutenists.

This piece appears in the Collected Lute Music of John Dowland (London: Faber. 3rd edition, 1981; edited by Diana Poulton and Basil Lam;

Read more ›

Posted in Featured pieces, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Almains by John and Robert Dowland

The Margaret Board lute book, written c.1620 and unknown until it was offered for sale in 1970, is a fascinating source, not least because it contains a substantial quantity of John Dowland’s handwriting.  He wrote a theoretical table showing the Gam ut on f.1v. and two pieces: an Almande by Robert Dowland on f.12.v.

Read more ›

Posted in Featured pieces
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Frets – Double vs Single

Most people today use rather thick single frets, but it seems in the past it was common to use thin double frets – can we learn anything from this? Lute iconography rarely shows enough detail to be sure whether the frets are single or double.

Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Coloured Strings

When we look at paintings of lutes from the 16th to 18th century we see quite a variety of coloured strings. Natural gut colour is common, but some strings, particularly basses, are a dark reddish-brown colour. Others are bright red, or blue, or black. It is possible that there is no particular significance to these different colours (other than string identification,

Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Luteshop’s Summer Concert 2016 – A short report

Richard Barnfield (1574-1627), from Poems in Divers Humours, 1598
To His Friend Master R.L., in Praise of Music and Poetry

If music and sweet poetry agree,
As they must needs (the sister and the brother),
Then must the love be great ‘twixt thee and me,

Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2016 Summer Concert – Oxford, UK

Martin is delighted to be putting on a concert of readings and music alongside wife Claire Sillince at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford in July. Please feel free to share the poster widely – PDF version available to download here.

Microsoft Word - Summerconcertposter.docx

Update 08/07/16: The programme has been finalised and is available in PDF format here

Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,