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