Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 21 January 2020

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 ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

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