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The lute has a large pear-shaped body and rounded back made from wood of varying sizes, strung with gut strings and played with the fingers or a plectrum. There are three double strings known as courses and one single top string, a fretted neck and sharply thrown back peg box.

There have been several courses added and removed throughout the ages ranging from four or five in the 14th century to six in the 16th century.

The exact pitches varied with the size of the instrument, with smaller lutes being tuned A-d-g-b-e'-a' ("alto" lute) or G-c-f-a-d'-g' ("tenor" lute) and larger bass lutes being tuned D-G-c-e-a-d' or E-A-d-f#-b-e.

Many other stringed instruments originated from the Lute like the Mandolin and Guitar.

Lute Books & Scores
Lute Lessons & Tabulature
Lute Resources & Links
Tuners, Chords & Online Applications
Lute Tutors


Lute Lessons & Tabulature


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Lute Links

  • Air Lute A Short Historical Perspective

  • Arto Wikla's Music Pages includes Lute music

  • Bach Plucked! Mailing list discussing the composer's string music, especially lute and guitar, with specialized articles and links to internet resources.

  • Bay Area Lute Study the lute's history, learn techniques and secrets from visiting masters and local performers,...

  • The Lute Society UK contains information about the society, pictures from recent meetings, an introduction to the lute, summer school listings, 17th century instructions for the baroque guitar, a lute pin up, lute music plus publications, news, journals and registers of makers and lute teachers.

  • Lutes by David Van Edwards includes a lute catalogue, brief history, information on building your own renaissance lute, lute summer schools and other resources.

  • Sources for Lute Strings addresses, links and information on lute string retailers worldwide.

  • The baroque Lute-Harpsichord - A Forgotten Instrument Bach sought, and had custom-built, a harpsichord which sounded like a lute....

  • The Lute Page Information about old and new lutes, makers, music, techniques and organizations.

  • The Lute Society of America is devoted to the lute and its music. Dues are 40 dollars a year ...

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Tuners, Chords & Online String Applications

  • Arto's String Calculator very comprehensive online program with full instructions for calculating where a string can be used by setting the diameter and more. Measures string tension and diameter for a number of instruments, in a variety of settings.

  • Arto's String Diameter/Tension Drawer

  • Bob's Handy String Tension Designer With this Netscape Javascript program, you can see how pitch, tension, string length, diameter and inharmonicity are related. First select an octave, then click on note to select, and enter values in the fields above the COMPUTE button. Select type of string. Click on COMPUTE to find out how much tension is required. This program does not work for wound strings.

  • Java Tuner This Java applet demonstrates various historical tunings and temperaments and allows one to experiment with them. It was developed to accompany a text on Understanding temperaments, and is complemented by a set of MIDI files demonstrating various tunings and temperaments, full instructions and a variety of modern and archaic tuning modes. Also provides selected intervals and a chord player.

  • Lute String & Tension Calculator Calculate string tension for the baroque lute.

  • MPUSTC String Guage & Tension Calculator Check your string tensions based on pitch, guage and type of string, also does the inverse calculation when you type in other string parameters.

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Lute Tutors

A small but growing list of tutors which we hope will aid our users.  We are unable to recommend individual teachers but welcome information and links from any and all tutors in the UK for addition to this section.

  • Richard Lenz - Lute, Acoustic & Classical Guitar Tutor, Cardiff, Wales - Tel: 02920 340 814

  • Al Summers - Lute, Guitar & Bass Guitar Tutor, Westbury, Wiltshire - Tel: 01373 864 721

  • John Hornby Skewes provide an excellent UK guitar, mandolin, lute, banjo & bass guitar teachers list.

  • Music Tutors Section contains links to sites providing searchable databases for UK & Worldwide music tutors.

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