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I have collected these pieces over
from the internet or have entabulated and/or arranged or realized them
I have edited all of them and formatted them to fit nicely on
This material is now mirrored at lute.omerkatzir.com, thanks to the good offices of and on www.lute.ru/gerbode, thanks to , who has also translated the site into Russian at www.lute.ru/gerbode/ru. I will try to keep these sites as updated as possible, but gerbode.net is likely to be the latest and greatest. If anyone wants to contribute stuff to my site, I now have an ftp directory dedicated to lute. Details here. I also keep a compressed tar file (very large) of the entire composer list in this location, with the date in the filename, for those who might want to download it (latest was 16Jun09). I feel more secure with these data in several different places.
News: I have decided to tackle that blockbuster of a lute book, Bésard's Thesaurus Harmonicus (1603). A lot of good stuff, there, though there are a large number of errors (average about 3-4 per piece), some spotted by the composer in his errata sheet, most not. In most cases I think I have been able to suss out what the composer meant. For now, I am leaving these pieces under "Bésard" in the directory tree, though eventually I will split them out by their actual composers (a minority are by Bésard himself). Included also is a cleaned-up version of the source for Book 1.
Bésard, or his publisher, was not exactly modest. The first part of Book 1 consists of a sizeable collection (in Latin -- sorry; it's not my native language) of poems praising Bésard and his teacher Laurencini. A particularly silly item is a "Dialogue between a Muse and Apollo", in which the writer has Apollo giving up his cithara in shame -- plectrum, strings and all -- because he has to acknowledge that Bésard is superior to him.
So far I have completed Book 1, which
preludes, many by Laurencini and Diomedes, Book 2,
Fantasias, Book 3,
villanellae and madrigals, Book 4,
Airs de Cour, most of which are not in the Verchaly volume, and Book 5,
consisting of passamezzi, one pavan, and one bergamasco. These
amazing "passamezzi on steroids" are somewhat difficult, but they truly
set a new standard for the art form. Now on to the rest of Thesaurus
Harmonicus. I've passed the half-way mark!
Recent posting: Francis Pilkington's First Booke of Songs or Ayres (1613). This is a collection of 21 excellent songs, written in both four-part madrigal format and lute song format. I have included both, as well as versions for lute, viol (playing the bass vocal part) and voice. Pilkington, in my experience, is less often played than, say, Morley, Dowland, or Campion, yet his songs are of equally high quality. They range from the frivolous to the deeply mournful. The quality of the poetry is exquisite as well. I have also included the source facsimile, in case anyone wants to check my work. For more information, see my editorial notes.
I have posted complete Dalza's "Intabulatura de Lauto", Book 4 (1508), including the source facsimile, cleaned up for greater readability. I got a serious boost on this project from , who had already entabulated about half of these pieces some time ago. The pieces are mostly pretty simple, lively and interesting, if a bit crude at times, and the publication is rife with line errors, wrong notes, dissonances, etc., which I have tried to correct to the best of my ability, always noting what the original was, in case anyone who likes such things wants to play them as printed.
I have also posted an arrangement of two clavichord suites by Antoine Lebègue for baroque lute. They are quite beautiful.
I have completed a translation of Mattaeus Waissel's lute tutorial from his 1592 lute book. I got significant help from Douglas Alton Smith's translation in LSA Journal, v. VIII (1975), though I did my own translation of Waissel, which I hope is accurate. I also rendered all Waissel's examples into French tab for the German-tab challenged (that would be almost all of us), with fingering notations in the tab, following Waissel's instructions.
On 21Sep09 I updated all of my
files and made a new Excel
of the files in my site, enroute to a proper database and search
engine. I also updated the footnotes in my files. In the
course of doing that, I seem to have mangled at least some of them.
Please let me know if you discover any errors in the footnotes,
such as errors in citing the source, date, the editor, arranger,
encoder (i.e., the person who rendered the music into electronic
format), etc. Also, the changes have not yet found their way
into the PDF files; only the Fronimo files. Obviously such a
database inevitably slides more and more out of date.
As part of my program for the German-tab challenged (which includes almost all of us), I have completed my editions of Mattaeus Waissel's 1573 lute book and his 1592 lute book, which I understand to be one of the last to be written in German tab. My originals are in very rough shape, but in addition to the normal PDF, Fronimo, Midi, and TAB files, I have put online a cleaned-up version of the 1592 book source and an un-cleaned-up version of the 1573 source. I also finally completed my work on Hans Newsidler 1536 lute books, v.1 and v.2, as well as his later book dated 1540. Luckily, I found the first two of these already entabulated by , who also tracked down the vocal scores for most of the vocal entabulations and lined them up with the lute versions -- surely a massive project. I was able to check his entabulations against the originals and found remarkably few errors. I also cleaned up the facsimile editions for all three volumes and have posted these as well so you can check the entabulations against the source if you so desire.
Although I have tried to be as accurate as possible, I'm sure many errors remain. I have cited the original source (MS or otherwise) whenever I knew it, and the original contributor/entabulator, though over the years much of this data has been lost. If you feel you are the one that originally contributed a particular piece and have not been acknowledged in a footnote for having done so, or if you know the source of a particular piece for which a source is not cited or wrongly cited, please email so I can update the footnote. Also, if you find errors in any of the pieces, can you please email me and, if possible, attach the modified version? Click here for correction acknowledgments.
I hope you get and give a great deal of pleasure from playing these pieces!
You can email me at: with any comments, corrections, or special requests.
If you are curious about my other identity as a psychiatrist and philosopher, you can find out more about me by clicking here.