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Music dictionary in the stories. The Letter L


"The most important and interesting in a musical-historical relation to the instrument," so say the lute many musicians interested in the history of musical instruments.

Angel with lute
Piero della Francesca. Christmas (1470-1475,)
National gallery, London

The lute was widespread throughout the ancient world - Mesopotamia, India and China, Egypt and Assyria, Ancient Greece and Rome, the Persians and Arabs. Arabs believed lute the most perfect of all musical instruments and called her the Queen of instruments. It was through the Arabs lute came to Europe: it appeared in Spain in the eighth century, when it was invaded by the Moors.

Angel with lute
Melozzo da forlì (1438-1494). Angel with lute
The 1480 fresco, Vatican city. Pinakothek

Over time from Spain lute penetrated into Italy, France, Germany and other countries. Many centuries continued her dominance in the musical life. In XV - XVII centuries it was everywhere. Used it as a solo instrument and accompaniment.

I. S. Bach. Suite in C-minor for lute

Lute large size were performed in ensembles and even orchestras.

The lute player and harpist
The lute player and harpist
Figure with engravings Dutch artist Israel van Meckenem
The end of the XV century

Dirk Hals Musicians 1623
Dirk Hals. Musicians (1623)
National gallery, London

Gradually she had to give up her seat stringed instruments: they had a more powerful and bright sound. And at home playing the lute replaced the guitar. If you ever see the picture of Caravaggio's Lute player, then imagine what it looks like this tool.

Caravaggio. The lute player
Caravaggio. Lutenist (about 1595)
The Hermitage

Body, resembling half of a melon or armor turtles, fairly large in size, wide neck with groves for string tension. Lower deck, that is, the convex part of the body, for beauty is often padded pieces of ebony or ivory. In the middle of the upper deck - neckline, made in the form of beautiful stars or roses. The large, so-called archlute such cut-roses was three. The number of strings on the lute used range from six to sixteen, and all but two of the most high, were doubled at the unison or octave.


Played on the lute sitting, laying it on the left knee. The right hand was pinched together the strings, while the left fixed them on the neck, extending or shortening.

Jan Mijtens Girl playing the lute
Jan Mijtens. The girl playing the lute (1648)
National gallery of Ireland, Dublin

A few decades ago it seemed that the lute is an instrument. gone from us forever. But in recent years, there has been interest in ancient music, ancient instruments. So now in the concerts of early music ensembles you can sometimes see the lute and its variations - archlute and theorbo.

Image theorbo Renaissance
(Ludovico Lana. Portrait of Girolamo Valeriani (about 1630).
Unlike the lute, theorbo two pale mechanism and 2 of the resonance box. The number of strings 14.

Has 14 strings and 2 cervical
(one of them attached strings bass).
From theorbo is smaller

Music dictionary in stories
Printed materials of the eponymous book by L. Mikheeva (Moscow, "Soviet composer", 1984)

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