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What is the

How to
read lute

How to read at
the classical


Lute pitch.


Теория и практика игры
How to read at the classical guitar?

More on topic :

Library «Tabulatures and notes»

«Lute instruments review»

    If briefly: Reconstruct 3 string on half-tone below (in F *) and play according to section "How to read lute tabulatures?".

      The oldest compositions were written for the Renaissance lute, which had 6 strings. Only at the end of the 16-th century the 7-th string was added, later the string number was increased once more. In different countries the lute had different tuning. In Germany it was tuned A d g h e' a' and in Italy, France and Spain it was G c f a d' g'. The intervals between strings are the same as on the guitar with only difference that the third interval is between from the 4-th to the 3-th string, it means if for the guitar with the standard tuning to lower the third string for half a tone (F#).
     As in the modern time there are more guitarists than luteists, mostly the compositions are used which can be played as at the lute as well at the guitar. The guitarist chooses if he'd like to tune the 3-th string down (F#) or to leave as it is. Some things are played easier due to this tuning, the others sound better in the guitar tuning. If the usual tuning is left, the technical difficulties are discovered in middle voices. In such cases some notes can disappear. As a rule, these notes are in brackets. Very seldom guitarists lowered the third string for half a tone, keeping the original pitch and in some cases lightening the playing of original lute compositions. In such cases, notes which can be lost are in brackets. But it is only for those who uses the standard guitar pitch.
Many beautiful things, which require the 7-th string, can't be played at the guitar. Some lovers of this music selected the seven-stringed guitar. In this connection, 8 stands under the bass sound (mainly under D); it means that in accordance with the original this sound should be played an octave lower. The luteist plays here easily quivering bass. At the guitar this note (8-th string) remains out of account.
     Bat it doesn't matter, the lovers of lute music find a way out tuning the 6-th string a tone lower regarding to the existing pitch. As a rule in most cases this is the string 'd' which is open what gives the opportunity to play most of lute compositions at the guitar witch the string tuning. In other cases it should be ignored.
     Leagues for the left hand appear in tabulations only in the middle of the 17-th century. The performer has the possibility to introduce the league because of technical and musical playing causes. In Renaissance music the dynamical nuances (of the type f and p) were still unknown, so the performer could decide independently now to play in these or other cases. The tempos of the most those dances are unknown today.
To understand the character of different dances you can apply the next instructions:

     Example of main themes:

Allemande - - - walking
Ballet - - - - - - walking briskly (a quick Allemande)
Basse danse - walking
Bergamasca - - a humorous dance-song
Bourree - - - - - - lively and accented
Branle (simple) - a lively folk-dance
Branle (gay) - - - a lively folk-dance
Canarie - - - - - - a dance-song
Chorea (choral dance) - lively
Galliard - - - - - - a jumping dance (a cheerful 'second' dance)
Passamezzo - - - walking (an accelerating pavane)
Pavane (Paduan dance) - walking slowly
Ronde - - - - - - a round-dance
Volta - - - - - - - a flowing Courante