BAROQUE 11 COURSE LUTES
Although the French repertoire is the most important for the 11 course lute no convincing French instruments have survived. Several fine German 11 course lutes are in existence but they are rather large for ease in playing the ornaments required and they seem rather larger than the contemporary pictures of French lutes. Therefore:
"French" 11 course lutes:
21.67cm, 11 courses; after the anonymous ivory lute in the Victoria & Albert Museum c.1650 (No.1125/1869) This is probably by Cocho and has triple lines of ebony and ivory between the 9 ribs, as well as an extremely ornate marquetry inlay on the neck and pegbox identical to the inlay on a Cocho archlute in Paris.
22.67cm, 11 courses; after the Francois de Troy painting of Charles Mouton in the Louvre. A small bodied lute with 10 fret spaces to the neck, 9 ribs and ebony veneered neck and pegbox.
23.70cm, 11 courses; after Hans Frei (Warwick County Museum) but with the bridge raised a little from its present position to give 9 frets to the neck. 11 ribs; the original is in figured sycamore and has an elaborate pair of inlays on the neck and fingerboard.
23a.685mm, 11 courses; after Christofolo Cocho (Copenhagen 96A). 11 ribs; the original is in ivory and has elaborate inlays on the neck and pegbox. This version is in plumwood and ebony and has details of rose size and bridge design taken from the famous engraving of Charles Mouton.
German 11 course lutes:
24.69cm, 11 courses; after Joachim Tielke 1696 (Nürnberg No. MI 394) 9 ribs; the original is in figured sycamore and has a very elaborate marquetry scene on the neck in tortoiseshell and ivory with a tortoiseshell panel on the fingerboard and a carved, pierced ivory back to the pegbox. The neck of the original has been slightly shortened but, as this is a very useful size, it is probably better copied as it stands.
25.71cm, 11 courses; after J.C. Hoffmann 1716 (Brussels No. 1559) 9 ribs; the original is in bird's eye maple with ebony strips between, the neck and pegbox are veneered in ebony.
26.72cm, 11 courses; after J.B. Weigert 1721 (Nürnberg No. MIR 898) 9 ribs; the original is in figured sycamore with triple strips between, triple line round the endclasp, ebony veneered neck and a carved, pierced back to the pegbox,
BAROQUE 12 COURSE LUTES
The double headed 12 course "French" lute with four diapasons running to separate stepped nuts, which was common throughout England and the Netherlands in the late 17th Century, has only survived in 5 or 6 examples but appears from paintings to have existed in all sizes.
27.50cm, 54, 59, 64, & 70cm, 12 courses; after Raphael Mest 1633 (Landesbiblioteket Linkoping) 23 ribs; the original is in shaded yew. Neck and curved pegboxes are veneered in triple stripes of ebony and ivory with pierced decoration on the pegboxes. Edging of pernambuco and ivory round the soundboard. Tunings various but with the top course a' or b'.
28.60cm, 65, 70, 75 & 81cm, 12 courses; my own design to the measurements given by the Talbot MS c.1687 with a body based on the Hieber or Gerle lutes, decoration to taste. Top course g'.
28a.62cm, 68, 73, 78.5, & 86cm, 12 courses; after Wolfgang Wolf (Stadtmuseum, Füssen) 15 ribs; the original is in shaded yew with white lines between. Neck and curved pegboxes are ebonised sycamore with exquisite carving and decoration of stamped stars. The original has a green fabric lace round the soundboard but I would normally put a n ebony half edge round the soundboard. Tunings various but with the top course g' or f#'.
29.67cm, 72, 77, 82 & 89cm, 12 courses; after VVendelio Venere 1603 (Darmstadt No. 19) 21 ribs; the original is in heartwood yew with maple strips between. Neck and curved pegboxes veneered in stripes of ebony and ivory. Top course f'.
30.70cm, 74.5, 79.5, 84.5 & 91cm, 12 courses; my own design using a body based on the Laux Maler (Prague No. 654) 9 ribs of figured sycamore with ebony strips between. Ebony veneered neck and ebonised sycamore pegboxes. Top course e' or f'.
BAROQUE 13 COURSE LUTES
These existed in two main forms: one, essentially an eleven course lute with a small bass rider added to carry the extra two courses; the other, a lute with a carved offset double pegbox taking eight fingered courses from the main lower nut and a further five longer courses from an upper nut. Because of these longer extra courses this form was sometimes called a theorbo, but Robert Spencer has argued convincingly that it should be regarded as the standard German baroque lute for D minor tuning. In the 20th century the smaller sizes have been preferred but larger sizes predominate among the surviving originals.
31.71cm & 78cm, 13 courses; after J.C. Hoffmann 1730 (Brussels No. 3188) 11 ribs; the original is in figured sycamore with ebony veneered neck and a carved, pierced ebony back to the pegbox, a sycamore bass rider carries the two lower courses.
32.77.5cm & 82cm, 13 courses; after Thomas Edlinger c.1715 (Leipzig No.497) 11 ribs; the original is in ebony with ivory strips between, ebony veneered neck with three wavy ivory stripes up the centre, pierced ivory back to the pegbox, an ebony bass rider carries the two lower courses.
33.69cm & 96cm, 13 courses; after Martin Hoffmann 1692 (Nürnberg No. MI 245) 9 ribs; the original is in figured sycamore with ebony strips between, ebony veneered neck. The double pegbox is in ebonised sycamore with relief carving in three panels up the back.
34.71cm & 93cm, 13 courses; after Sebastian Schelle 1721 (Nürnberg No. MIR 902) 11 ribs; the original is in macassar ebony with ivory strips between. The neck is veneered in ebony with ten ivory strips matching the back, the double pegbox has ivory foliage panels inlaid on the back.
34a.72cm & 100cm, 13 courses; after Michael Rauche 1762 ( V&A Museum No. 9/1871) 23 ribs; the original is in ivory with ebony strips between. Neck and extension inlaid with elaborate marquetry of panels with instruments and the maker's name and address. Possibly the only historic lute made in England to have survived. Triple rose and ornate bridge and endclasp.
35.74cm & 99cm, 13 courses; after Leopold Widhalm 1755 (Nürnberg No. MI 903) 11 ribs; the original is in rosewood with ivory strips between. Neck is veneered in ebony with two very elegant ivory strips; the fingerboard has three ivory strapwork designs inlaid and the double pegbox has carved, pierced decoration up the back.
36.76cm & 105cm, 13 courses; after J.H. Goldt 1734 (V&A Museum No. 4274/1856) 9 ribs; the original is in rosewood with ivory strips between. Neck and fingerboard are inlaid with elaborate marquetry panels of ivory and tortoiseshell and then engraved. The double pegbox has two pierced ivory foliage panels inlaid and is edged with ivory. Because of their size, both this and the Edlinger (32) may have been for Baron's D minor theorbo tuning in which the top string in f' was simply omitted and an extra note added in the bass. However in actual use it seems to work perfectly for playing Bach and Weiss at A=415Hz. At 415Hz the top string in gut would be 0.40 which is a perfectly normal size. Even the most difficult chord shapes in Bach seem in practice to be entirely feasible, so probably we have been rather too scared of these authentically large sizes in the recent past.
BOHEMIAN BAROQUE 13 COURSE LUTES
This is a development of the German baroque lute in which the diapasons go to two separate nuts in order to give three different stringlengths of increasing size to give a smoother transition between fingered strings and the basses. This seems to have been a Bohemian speciality.
37a.70cm & 84.5cm & 96cm, 13 courses; after Martin Bruner 1764 (Prague No. 450E) 9 ribs; the original is in figured sycamore with ebony veneered neck and an elegant triple pegbox in ebonised sycamore. This is a nice baroque lute of the type also made by Jauck in Bohemia
37b.72cm & 88.5cm & 101cm , 13 courses; based on instruments by Johannes Jauck in Yale, Budapest and Brussels, 11 ribs of birds eye maple with ebony lines between the ribs. Neck and an elegant triple pegbox in ebonised sycamore.
This type of instrument was developed in the eighteenth century as a return to a simpler form of lute mainly for amateurs at a time when baroque 13 course lutes had become quite complex and more the province of the professional. However larger sizes, sometimes called gallichons, were used for basso continuo in orchestral works and may indeed be the "lute" intended for the St. John Passion of J. S. Bach.
37c.64cm, 6 courses; based on a small mandora by Sebastian Schelle 1719 (Salzburg, Carolino Augusteum No. 112; B 6/1) 9 ribs; the original has a striped back with four ribs of plumwood alternating with five ribs of birds eye maple, it has a simple long neck and a closed back pegbox with a treble rider. This version also has some decorative details of endclasp design and moulded edging taken from other mandoras.
37.70cm, 6 - 8 courses; based on one of the most elegant mandoras in the most useful size by Sympert Niggel 1754 (Nürnberg No. MIR 895) 9 ribs; the original has 6 courses and is in ebonised figured sycamore with a simple long black neck and a partially open pegbox with a treble rider.
38.760 and 895 mm, 9 courses (1x1, 5x2 + 3x2); based on a very beautiful but little known Bohemian baroque mandora by Johannes Jauck 1746 (Bruxelles, Musée Instrumental No. 0251) The original has 9 courses of 694 and 834 mm and has a body of 11 ribs in figured sycamore with a simple long black neck with a typical Jauck style extended pegbox with cantilevered nut. It has a triple rose. This is a slightly larger version with a body in rosewood based on Edlinger but it has the same neck, pegbox and general layout as the original.
38a.71cm, 8 courses; after J. B. Weigert 1743 (Paris No. 32032) 9 ribs; the original is in ebonised figured sycamore with a ten fret black stained neck and pegbox with a treble rider.
38b.895mm, 6-8 courses; A large continuo gallichon based on one by Thomas Edlinger 1728 (Narodnì Muzeum, Prague No. 1176E) The original is in maple and has six single courses carried on a very long neck giving a full octave of frets. It would be suitable for general bass continuo work, like a more portable, and cheaper (!) theorbo. 9 ribs, striped or plain in a variety of woods with a 12 fret neck and a sickle shaped pegbox.
Copyright 2000-15 by David Van Edwards
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