BAROQUE LUTES

BAROQUE LUTES

Baroque lutes with 11 courses, 13 course instruments with bass rider or Swan neck. Makers represented include Hans Frei, Sixtus Rauwolf and Hans Burkholtzer, Sebastian Schelle, and Marx Unverdorben


What we now call the Baroque lute was a by product of experimentation with new tunings and construction carried out by the French during the early seventeenth century, in the hope of improving the instrument’s sonority. A variety of tunings and structural changes were tried out, and more strings added in the search for increased resonance.


Many of these experiments were unsuccessful but finally the lute with eleven courses tuned to a chord of d minor emerge around 1650. It was in this form that the lute remained until the second decade of the following century, where in Germany it underwent its final transformation into the 13 course lute.



The general trend in the period is towards instruments with longer string lengths, typically around 66-69 cm for early 17th century French lutes, increasing to 70-74 cm (even more in some special cases) for the later German instruments.