Blog Archives

All fingers and thumbs: some thoughts on left-hand fingering

Many lute players today have played the guitar before starting to play the lute, and while it was obvious that right-hand technique would have to be different for the lute, to cope with double strings, lack of nails, and possibly even “thumb-inside” – it has generally been assumed that the left hand was already well trained and needed no real consideration.

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Rogero

Rogero or Ruggiero is an Italian ground bass which was popular from at least the middle of the 16th century (and on into the 17th) as a basis for sets of variations and songs. There are several versions for solo lute in English manuscripts, of which two are presented here.

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Some thoughts on string tension

Like many people, I had always wondered why lute strings look so thin in old paintings. Was it because the artist couldn’t be bothered with showing the details of the strings, or was it because the thickest strings were not as thick as we might expect? We know that lutes were strung with sheep gut (and we have no reason to believe that the density of gut was significantly different in the past),

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Cordefactum 2016

I was honoured to be asked to deliver two lectures at Cordefactum 2016, a festival of instrument making organised every two years by the Centrum voor Muziekinstrumentembouw. It was held at the Stedelijke Conservatorium in Mechelen in Belgium over the weekend of 18th – 20th March. Mechelen is a beautiful city with an illustrious past – it was a regional capital in the early 16th century and has many beautiful historical buildings,

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