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Lute (Arab. ‘ūd; Fr. luth; Ger. Laute; It. lauto, leuto, liuto; Sp. laúd)locked

  • Klaus Wachsmann,
  • James W. McKinnon,
  • Robert Anderson,
  • Ian Harwood,
  • Diana Poulton,
  • David van Edwards,
  • Lynda Sayce
  •  and Tim Crawford


A plucked chordophone, made of wood, of Middle Eastern origin ( see ‘Ūd ) which flourished throughout Europe from medieval times to the 18th century. Broader, generic uses of the term are discussed in §1.

In the Hornbostel-Sachs classification system (Sachs and Hornbostel, A1914) the term ‘lute’ covers those ‘composite chordophones’ – string instruments in which a string bearer and a resonator are ‘organically united’ and cannot be separated without destroying the instrument – in which the plane of the string runs parallel with the soundtable (...

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S. Virdung: Musica getutscht (Basle, 1511/R)
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