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date: 17 October 2019

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


(Arab. ‘ūd Fr. luth Ger. Laute It. lautoleutoliuto Sp. laúd )

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.

Klaus Wachsmann

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 ( figs.1 and 2 ). This definition excludes harps and zithers but includes pluriarcs (or bow lutes) ( see Gabon ), lyres of various sorts and ‘handle lutes’ proper. The following excerpt from Hornbostel and Sachs (from the GSJ translation, with minor alterations) shows the classification of handle lutes (for their complete classification of lute types see Chordophone ):

321.3 Handle lutes: the string bearer is a plain handle; subsidiary necks, as e.g. in the Indian ...

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M. Praetorius: Syntagma musicum, i (Wittenberg and Wolfenbüttel, 1614-15, 2/1615/R); ii (Wolfenbüttel, 1618, 2/1619/R; Eng. trans., 1986, 2/1991); iii (Wolfenbüttel, 1618, 2/1619/R)
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Analecta musicologica
W.L. von Lütgendorff: Die Geigen- und Lauten-macher vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart
Journal of the Lute Society of America
R. Vannes: Essai d'un dictionnaire universel des luthiers
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Kraków, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Biblioteka Jagiellońska
Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft
Journal of Musicological Research
Pesaro, Ente Olivieri, Biblioteca e Musei Oliveriana
Chicago, Newberry Library
Washington, Folger Shakespeare Library
Rivista musicale italiana
Cambridge, University Library
Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Lute Society Journal
Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association
Studien zur Musikwissenschaft
S. Virdung: Musica getutscht (Basle, 1511/R)
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Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
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Miscellanea musicologica [Czechoslovakia]
Musical Quarterly
Warsaw, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka, Gabinet Zbiorów Muzycznych
London, Royal Academy of Music, Library
Nuremberg, Germanisches National-Museum, Bibliothek
Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Music Dept
Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale
Acta musicologica
Embrun, Trésor de la Cathédrale
Berlin, Stadtbibliothek, Musikbibliothek [in D-Bz]
Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich
Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society
M. Mersenne: Harmonie universelle
Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Carl von Ossietzky, Musiksammlung
Enna, Biblioteca e Discoteca Comunale
Oakland (CA), Mills College, Margaret Prall Music Library
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung
Cambridge, Trinity College, Library
Beverley, East Yorkshire County Record Office
Galpin Society Journal
Proceedings of the Musical Association
Revue de musicologie
Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, sezione Musicale