Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

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2lost2find
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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by 2lost2find » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:59 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:32 pm
Common 13c keys are Dm, G, Gm, F, C, A, and curiously, Eb.
Thanks, Rob. Playing around with a guitar tuned ADFADF it's also my observation that given a bass string tuned to Bb (and maybe tuning the bass E string down a half step as well) the key of Bb would be a natural fit, as would several others not mentioned above. By the way I just ordered the method you recommended in your video. I haven't ordered a lute yet, but I'm just waiting for the right deal to drop. If I don't find one before Christmas I will probably just order a new la Luthe Dore in January. Do you stand with the recommendation for medium tension strings as per your video?

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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by RobMacKillop » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:15 pm

I think they've changed the string manufacturer since I bought mine. As I didn't like the strings of came with, that's probably a good idea. I bought other strings. But it's up to you, the player, to eventually settle on strings that suit your technique and music. Strings can be bought from Cuerdas Pulsadas - they have a website somewhere. But don't rush into it, as the strings it comes with are probably very good. The lute is indeed of excellent quality, and will serve you well.

After writing the above, I recalled that you are going to use it single-strung, which is what I did. It works well, but ask Miguel Serdoura, the owner of the company, and one of the best lute players, to supply you with a set of single strings, as they must be higher tension if single. Miguel set me a single-course set which worked well.

I eventually sold it, and have a 10-string on the way next week.

2lost2find
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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by 2lost2find » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:31 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:15 pm
I think they've changed the string manufacturer since I bought mine. As I didn't like the strings of came with, that's probably a good idea. I bought other strings. But it's up to you, the player, to eventually settle on strings that suit your technique and music. Strings can be bought from Cuerdas Pulsadas - they have a website somewhere. But don't rush into it, as the strings it comes with are probably very good. The lute is indeed of excellent quality, and will serve you well.

After writing the above, I recalled that you are going to use it single-strung, which is what I did. It works well, but ask Miguel Serdoura, the owner of the company, and one of the best lute players, to supply you with a set of single strings, as they must be higher tension if single. Miguel set me a single-course set which worked well.

I eventually sold it, and have a 10-string on the way next week.
Yes, it'll be single strung. No way am I messing with double courses no matter how authentic they may be. I have several different tunings I'm going to attempt, but I'll start with traditional baroque Dm tuning and see how I like it before I try the others.

Is that 10-string the one that got cracked? I remember my girlfriend showing me a picture of that before I joined the forum. Ouch. BTW, I should say thanks for that as well; I recall that you were particularly helpful with some questions she had.

RobMacKillop
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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by RobMacKillop » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:52 pm

Yes, the cracked 10-string. However, I'm delighted to say that the repair - judging from the detailed photos I've had - it perfect, literally as good as new. They emailed today to say they are posting it next week.

Crazy Rachel, eh? She has livened up this place a bit...

crazyrach97
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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by crazyrach97 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:17 am

RobMacKillop wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:52 pm
Yes, the cracked 10-string. However, I'm delighted to say that the repair - judging from the detailed photos I've had - it perfect, literally as good as new. They emailed today to say they are posting it next week.

Crazy Rachel, eh? She has livened up this place a bit...
Hi, Rob!! I've been a little scarce lately but we're in the busy season at work (which is where I usually post from). Glad to hear your guitar got taken care of... it made me sad. Your book recommendations were terrific by the way... I'm performing one of the pieces from Modern Times in November as part of my first time ever playing CG in front of people! Still not sure what to make of Sor's method tho...

Regarding all of the above: somehow he went from light discussion of getting matching ten string guitars to all this! I think he's nuts (and I can say that, he's right here watching me type it)... he's already ordered a method, he's written two etudes and transcribed three CG pieces for baroque lute tuning, and he's already learning chords, scale shapes, and note positions... who does that when they don't even have an instrument yet?! But its fun watching the way he throws himserlf into a new project, and i admit I'm kind of eager to try out that lute when he gets it.

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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by RobMacKillop » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:11 pm

I think you are both made for each other :-)

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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by crazyrach97 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:09 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:11 pm
I think you are both made for each other :-)
If you're referring to the way I went nuts early this summer and ordered like $300 worth of books and music you might just have a point... :oops:

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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by RobMacKillop » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:30 pm

;-)

2lost2find
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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by 2lost2find » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:12 pm

crazyrach97 wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:17 am
i admit I'm kind of eager to try out that lute when he gets it.
She is operating under the assumption I am going to let her touch it... :lol: :twisted:

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Nephthysalis
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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by Nephthysalis » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:29 pm

Just got a question and thought it would probably fit here better than making a new thread...

Can you string a baroque lute as a 10+ course Renaissance tuning? Hypothetically, is there any reason why you couldn't?

As far as I am aware, some of the baroque lutes in museums are just renaissance lutes that have been adjusted/adapted to fit the addition of new strings (bass riders, altered bridges etc)

Cheers!

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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by RobMacKillop » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:34 pm

Depends on the string length. If your baroque lute has a string length of 74cms, the pitch would be very low, perhaps d for the first course. This would make it a bass lute.

There are some luthiers who would make you a combined 10/11c lute, but 10c instruments usually have a double second course, while 11c lute has a single

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Nephthysalis
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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by Nephthysalis » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:59 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:34 pm
Depends on the string length. If your baroque lute has a string length of 74cms, the pitch would be very low, perhaps d for the first course. This would make it a bass lute.

There are some luthiers who would make you a combined 10/11c lute, but 10c instruments usually have a double second course, while 11c lute has a single
I see. It's just I saw this > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZYzuIGDYGs and noticed he was playing on a 13(?)crs baroque lute, but what tuning (or stringing for that matter) for a renaissance Dowland song? Would it be more likely he has transposed it for the baroque lute? (can that even be done?)


edit: https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/view/MS-DD-00002-00011

That is what he is working from, looks like renaissance compositions to me. Sorry I'm so new at all of this.

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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by pogmoor » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:54 pm

Nephthysalis wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:29 pm
Can you string a baroque lute as a 10+ course Renaissance tuning? Hypothetically, is there any reason why you couldn't?
Jakob Lindberg has a lute: made by a luthier called Sixtus Rauwolf in 1590 - possibly the world's oldest lute in playing condition. Originally a 7-8 course instrument, modified in 1715 to incorporate an extended neck. It has been restored to accommodate 11-course d minor, or 10-course Renaissance tuning/stringing (cribbed from Wikipedia). I don't know if he still does, but when the lute was first restored Lindberg would restring it according to the music he was playing - baroque tuning for later music and renaissance tuning for earlier music. The lute in the recording of Lachrimae is in renaissance tuning, as it David Tayler's archlute here:

Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

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Nephthysalis
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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by Nephthysalis » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:17 pm

Wonderful, thank you for that link!

2lost2find
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Re: Baroque lute tuning: pros and cons

Post by 2lost2find » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:53 am

Nephthysalis wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:29 pm
Just got a question and thought it would probably fit here better than making a new thread...

Can you string a baroque lute as a 10+ course Renaissance tuning? Hypothetically, is there any reason why you couldn't?

As far as I am aware, some of the baroque lutes in museums are just renaissance lutes that have been adjusted/adapted to fit the addition of new strings (bass riders, altered bridges etc)

Cheers!
I'm no expert; Rob is far more knowledgeable than I. I don't even own a lute. But my thoughts are as follows:

First, the French baroque Dm tuning evolved because the mostly 4ths tuning was never a good idea for solo instrumental music on a longer-scale instrument. Look at the guitar repertoire; you either get brutal stretches or a lot of compromises. It may also be possible to improve on the French tuning. Andre Burguete from the Liuto Forte company recommended to me a modified version which tunes the 6th string to Bb instead of A. I'm going to try it.

With an eye to all of this I've arranged several CG pieces for the French Dm tuning, and for the modified tuning I above described. I've only been able to test them with a six string guitar (I have an 8 string on the way) but based on that limited model they all work. I can give you a better report soon, but I'm already optimistic. I find it curious that most lutenists seem to consider the Dm tuning and it's derivatives only suitable for the performance of 17th and 18th century music; I think the potential might expand far beyond that. Consider this: so far I've managed to come up with arrangements for four guitar pieces in the tuning, with 100% note for note fidelity to the original and I believe completely playable on an instrument with as few as 8 strings. By contrast, I have never heard a guitar arrangement of a Weiss piece that did not sound completely mangled.

A logical corollary: if the CG pieces are playable in French baroque tuning, Renaissance era lute pieces ought to be equally transcribable. I haven't tried it yet, but I have a couple of Dowland pieces on my short list of things to attempt. I have further transcriptions on hold till I get my 8 string in a couple of days.

Any tuning is a compromise, but I think some are more so than others. I've been doing a lot of historical research on the lute recently, and have been struck by the extent to which the instrument was in a constant state of evolution, both in the expansion of its resources and the refinement of its tuning. By contrast the guitar has been in relative stasis for a couple of centuries. My theory... and that's all it is: the history of plucked instruments since the middle 18th century has been dominated by the guitar. And the history of the guitar has been dominated by its primary role as a folk instrument. Attempts to expand or modify the guitar's resources have either fallen by the wayside or been relegated to fringe status because nothing that interferes with the ability to play major and minor chords across most or all of the strings in a variety of keys will be tolerated.

Rob or anybody else: if I am full of it on any point, please correct me.

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