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Octave stringing: ‘irregular to the rules of music?’

If you asked a modern lute player – any time from the revival of the lute in the early 20th century to the present day – whether their bass courses were tuned in octaves, they would probably say that they were tuned in unisons because none other than the great John Dowland himself had said that tuning in octaves was “irregular to the rules of music”.

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Pavan Sans Per by Francis Cutting (Euing, f.32v.)

I had been aware of this piece long before I took up the lute, because it appeared in a selection of five pieces by Cutting arranged for the guitar by Brian Jeffery, but it’s only recently that I’ve looked at the sources and played it on the lute.  For details of the other sources and biographical information on Cutting,

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