Here you will find more than 8500 lute pieces (64,000 files) in French tablature in the following formats:
fronimo (ft3), from
, midi, TAB, and PDF (which you can read using
(Why the different formats?).
I apologize to those who prefer other formats, such as Spanish or Italian, but I believe French
is the most widely used format, though it is easy to change in fronimo to another format -- even
German tab (not that anyone would really want to do this!). These pieces are mostly for renaissance
lute, but quite a few are for baroque lute and archlute, and a very few for theorbo, cittern,
bandora, guitar etc. Other pieces include songs and continuo pieces, listed by composer.
Under Lute ensemble in the list of composers, you will find
pieces for two or more lutes.
The latest fronimo files (since December, 2015) were created with a new version of Fronimo, obtainable now at the
This is a listing by composer, but some items that were under "composers" (like "Bésard") actually belong under "sources", because they are anthologies or compilations The intention is to gradually pare down the contents of this directory and post as much as possible under "sources". Once the database is up and running, you will be able to search by composer (or any other parameters).
These are complete fronimo editions of sources, with midi and PDF versions of each.
These are facsimiles, arranged by source (composer, editor, anthologist, or library), document (book or ms), and volume (if more than one volume). They are further broken out by folio or page number, so you can go directly to the location within the document or volume that you want to see.
These are files in the TAB format, where possible, or midi format where not possible.
This is an Excel spreadsheet with a comprehensive list of all the fronimo files on the website. It should reflect the approximate current state of the data. It also contains hyperlinks to fronimo, midi, and pdf files for each entry. For each piece listed, it has 26 fields that contain other data, such as key, type of piece, instrumentation, source, and difficulty. If you can read this file, that is probably the easiest way of finding things. If you don't have a spreadsheet program installed on your computed, you can obtain a free one from "LibreOffice". LibreOffice does what MS Office does, with just a few differences, and it can open MSOffice files.
This is a list of other websites with related information.
05Jul23: Did the first 26 pieces from the Johann Joachim Loss Lutebook (c.1610). The original was lost, so all we have is a rather poor grayscale photocopy, probably from the 1940's. Parts of it are very low contrast and hard to read although the handwriting, when you can read it, is fairly clear. Some pages are missing; others are torn at the edges. Also, the central bit of each pair of pages (the "gutter") is not well photographed, although someone has attempted to fill in the missing data with white ink, mostly successfully. The pieces are a mixture of vocal intabulations, fantasies, and dances of good quality, once one has figured them out from the poor copy.
09Jun23: Completed work on a short MS, F-Pn Res F 993 (ca.1605). It's kind of a ratty little MS, but it does have a nice Guédron air de cour: "Mon âme est si fort blessée" which, with the help of a 4-part version provided by Jean-Marie Poirier from F-Pn (ex Pc)/Rés 517 , I was able to cobble together into what I think is a decent piece.
06Jun23: Completed work on the Wyssenbach Lute Book (1550), which is a German tab edition of some of the Italian tab pieces in Milano and Borrono (1546). Unfortunately, I do not yet have access to the facsimile of the latter. Can anyone help with this? The first pieces in Wyssenbach, by Borrono, consist of eight pavanes each followed by three saltarellos. The last two, works by Janequin intabulated brilliantly by Milano, are "Le chant des oiseaux" and "La battaglia".
29May23: Completed Rettenwert MS. A couple of pieces I had to leave unedited, due to lack of bar lines and rhythm flags.
23May23: Another 50 pieces done from Rettenwert MS. As we progress through the ms, both the quality and accuracy of the pieces continues to improve. Because the accuracy is so good, this is a good source for pieces that may not be available elsewhere. #205 appears to be a parody on Dowland's Lady Hunsdon's Puffe. We see a few more pieces in alternate tunings.
17May23: Another 50 pieces done. Similar content. Many by Scribe 2 with improved accuracy. 163. Toccata by M Galilei lacks bar lines and is hard to suss out. Don't know if the lack was intentional or an oversight. Anyone figure this one out?
12May23: Another 50 pieces done from Retterwert lute book. About ½ way, now. Again, mostly courantes. I could almost wish that Louis XIV wasn't so entranced with this dance form, as it would be nice to see more variety.
07May23: 100 pieces of the Retterwert lute book are now done (a third of them). Again, mostly courantes. Some of the pieces are in somewhat bizarre alternate tunings (#s 064-067 and 069-070). Several of the pieces written by Scribe 2 are too messed up, rhythm wise, to make a meaningful playable version (#s 049, 090, and 095). I have left the unedited versions for the brave of heart to work on.
26Apr23: Posted another 34 pieces from Aegidius, containing the usual plethora of courantes, plus galliards and a saltarello. About a third of the pieces are written in French tab by a very careless scribe, (Scribe 2) who often neglected to include rhythm flags and often omitted bar lines as well, making these pieces difficult and sometimes impossible to render into a playable form. In contrast, the other scribe, writing in careful Italian notation, has very few errors. Highlights include a lovely toccata by Lorenzino Tracetti, a more divided version of which exists in Thesaurus Harmonicus. Also a good version of "Semper Dowland, semper dolens" and a very lovely Canzonette.22Apr23: Posted first 27 pieces (of about 300) from the Aegidius of Rettenwert lute ms (ca. 1637). These pieces, written for 10-course ren lute, consist mainly of courantes, voltes, and galliards. Most are of medium difficulty, but a few are more challenging. Among these of particular interest is a highly chromatic anonymous galliard that rivals Dowland's most chromatic pieces. I am indebted to , who took the time to find concordances for these pieces.
20Apr23: Posted BSB mus.ms.2986, which consists on just one piece: an intabulation of Lasso's "Hélas, quel jour", followed by the four-part vocal score as well. The intabulation is clearly a fairly literal one and helps in filling in the needed musica ficta.
16Apr23: Completed BSB 1511d, consisting of 23 pieces, mostly vocal intabulations of chansons, as well as a couple of ricercars, passamezzos and a salterello. As with BSB 1511c, there are very few errors in the ms, and the music is of high quality. There is also a Francesco da Milano recercar (Ness #42), with only a few changes from the one in Milano (1547), and those changes do not appear to be errors, but the lutenist/scribe's idea of improvements.
09Apr23: Posted BSB 1511c. This ms has two scribes, the first rather messy, the second much neater. It appears the scrbe was also the lutenist who used it, as almost all the errors are corrected in the ms. There are 10 pieces, mostly quite long. Most of them are intabulations of motets by Nicolas Gombert and others, but there are a few intabulated chansons thrown in the mix. The pieces are of medium to challenging difficulty.
08Apr23: Posted 07. Bassadanza from the Thibault ms. This is a reconstruction by . As well as sussing out the missing bar lines and rhythm flags, Konstantin also felt that certain sections of the piece needed to be reordered, based on some earlier work on the piece by Crawford Young.
07Apr23:Finished work on BSB 1511b. Similar content, but more of medium difficulty, rather than just simple pieces. Moving on to BSB 1511c.
05Apr32: Completed half of BSB 1511b (37 pieces). These are mostly unica. short and mostly very simple dances in duple and triple time, suitable for a beginner.
31Mar23: Completed work on Pietro Paulo Borrone Intabolatura de Lauto (1563). This source contains 4 suites of Pavane + 3 saltarellos, followed by a fantasia and several vocal intabulations of chansons + a Christmas song:"Noe noe noe". All are of medium difficulty.
12Mar23: Completed work on Melchiore Barberiis Intabolatura di Lauto, v.4 (1546). This consists mainly of vocal intabulations of Antoine de FÃ©vis' Missa Ave Maria, with a couple of fantasias and a duo thrown in. Music is of medium difficulty. There are a few more than average errors. I hope I have done a good job of correcting them.
08Mar23: Completed work on Pietro Paolo Melli Intavolatura di Liuto Attiorbato, v. 4 (1616), carefully and accurately encoded by FranÃ§ois Pizette. It starts with a very beautiful cappricio, followed by 15 graceful correntes in various keys, written for 13-course archlute, though many of the pieces can be played on an 11-course instrument. The book ends with a short suite for three lutes in different tunings and a variety of melody instruments. We omitted this piece, as we thought it unlikely that anyone would be interested in putting together this particular combination of instruments for this one piece.
04Mar23: Apologies. I just moved to a new computer and neglected to make links into the directory hierarchy at lutemusic.org accessible. I believe that issue is now fixed, but please let me know if it isn't.
25Feb23: I decided to spend some considerable time with the Thibault MS, ca. 1505. It is thought to be the earliest known lute MS and represents a style of playing that precedes the publications of Spinacino (1507) and the Capirola MS (1517). It is uniquely challenging because of the absence of bar lines and rhythm notations. It apparently served as a "fake book" for a professional lutenist of the time and contains over 100 pieces. These include barzellette, ode, a calata, two exercises, two chansons, ricercars, religious works, pavanes, etc.
Some important pioneers have worked on this difficult but important ms. These include Genevieve Thibault, HÃ©ctor Sequera, Lewis Jones, Crawford Young, and Konstantin Shchenikov. I have extensively consulted their work in order to come up with editions of 30 of the pieces in the ms. The dance pieces might be scoped out because of their known rhythmic patterns, others from concordances, e.g. in Pesaro. Most of the pieces, however, are accompaniments to vocal pieces with the top line missing, and many of the vocal models are not available, so these cannot really be reconstructed. The barzellette are challenging, in that all the music for the represa is there, but it is up to the editor to decide which parts of the ripresa to use for the mutazione and the volta. It is helpful that all the poetic lines have 8 syllables. There are quite a few more pieces from the MS that might be worked out if one is courageous enough to go there.
05Feb23: I have spent the last month adding to my collection of facsimile files. All these files are already available from various online sources, but the files on my site are organized and edited so as to make them easier to use.
First, the organization: Under composers, I have a limited number of entries, mainly for "complete works" of people like Holborne and Dowland, as well as a whole category of Anonymous composers. Most of the edited editions are contained under sources and the original sources are under facsimiles.
Manuscripts are organized by "library siglum", a standardized abbreviation for the library they are contained in, with 2 fields separated by a hyphen. To the left of the hyphen are one or more upper-case letters designating the country. To the right of the hyphen are one or more capital letters designating the city, followed by one or more lower-case letters designating the library within the city, like RUS-SPan, meaning the Library of the Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Books, on my site, are organized by author or publisher. Documents under facsimiles are organized in sub-directories. Each sub-directory gives a list of pages or folios, with the file names = to page or folio designations. So it is easy to find a location by just clicking on the page or folio number. This is easier than paging through a PDF to find what you are looking for.
I have additionally processed each facsimile page to make it more readable. I have aligned and cropped each page and created a white border around the music. The alignment helps because in reading the music, the eye prefers to move in a horizontal direction rather than on a slant. The cropping improves the signal to noise ratio by eliminating extraneous material from the page. Would you rather work from this page or from this one?The facsimiles I have recently added include:
â€¢ Abondante v.1 1563
â€¢ BecchiA 1568
â€¢ Borrono 1563
â€¢ BSB 1511b, c, and d
â€¢ BSB 2986
â€¢ CZ-Pnm Praha_IV.G.18 Aegidius
â€¢ D-DEi ms.12150 (1580)
â€¢ D-KNh Hochschule fÃ¼r Music und Tanz Musicbibliothek ms.R242 _Elisabeth Romerâ€™s Lute Book
â€¢ D-MU_1439_Schenckinck_ms 1582
â€¢ F-Pn Res VMC ms 127 Caccini Lute ms
â€¢F-Pn National Library_of France RÃ©s. Vmd ms.27:Thibault ms (1510)
â€¢ FevinoA Intabolatura de Lautto v.4 1546
â€¢ GB-Lbl Add Ms 4900
â€¢ Hortus Musareum
â€¢ Carminum pro Testudine 1546
â€¢ Carminum Quae Chely vel Testudine 1547
â€¢ Luculentum Teatrum Musicum 1568
â€¢ Selectissimorum pro Testudine Carminum_Liber_1573
â€¢ PL-Kj J150
â€¢ PL-Kj mus.ms.W510 1570
â€¢ PL-WRk ms 352
â€¢ ReymannM Cythara Sacra 1613
â€¢ ScottoG_Intabolatura de Lauto de Diversi Autori 1563
â€¢ RUS-SPan ms O No.124 Swan MS 1614
â€¢ UA-LVu Krakauer Lautentablature c. 1580
â€¢ US-NHub ms 31 Osborne ms
â€¢ US-NYp Drexel_4175_Ann_Twice_Lute_Book_1650
â€¢ Ghirlanda di Fioretti_1589
â€¢ Canzonette 1591
â€¢ Lodi della Musica 1595
09Jan23: Completed work on the Braye Lutebook This is a collection of 49 pieces, the last 19 or which are written for gittern. If you don't happen to have a gittern, you could play them on a baritone ukulele or the top 4 strings of a guitar (same tuning, different key). They are mostly fairly easy, so might be a good start for someone who wants to ease their way into playing the lute. The other pieces contain very accurate copies of Milano fantasias Ness #2 and 3, as well as a few other excellent fantasias, plus a dump, galliards, and pavanes and a few vocal intabulations, all of medium difficulty. This ms presented a considerable challenge because it had very few bar lines and many mistakes in the rhythm flags as well. Fortunately, the notes themselves are generally accurate, with a few exceptions. I hope I have succeeded in creating a plausible edition of this work.
22Dec22: Completed work on arrangements for lute and voice of 33 songs and consort pieces by Henry Tudor (Henry VIII). All are from GB-Lbl British Library Add. ms. 31922 (1515), except for a solo version of "Pastime with good company", arranged from Add ms. 5665 (1612). All must be fairly early works, since he was born in 1491 and thus must have been 24 at the time of the ms. I suppose his life became overfilled with events for him to have composed stuff later. Nonetheless, he shows himself to be a competent, if not stellar, composer. My intabulations are literal ones. I have not tried to insert lutenistic ornaments or passagework, partly because I don't know what would really be appropriate for that time period. The harmonies could be filled out a little, as I have seen being the case for some harpsichord arrangements of the consort pieces. Sometimes, I have had to change the key and put the top part up an octave to make a suitable lute solo.
12Dec22: Completed S-Skma_Music_och_Teaterbiblioteket/ms_Sacks_samling_Tabulaturbok_c.1590. This last half has 9 passamezzos, some that are difficult, and ends with some easier dances and a few vocal intabulations.
05Dec22: Did first 25 pieces from S-Skma_Music_och_Teaterbiblioteket/ms_Sacks_samling_Tabulaturbok_c.1590. This ms has a rich sampling of mostly fairly difficult but rewarding pieces, including dances and intabulations of motets, chansons, lieds, and madrigals.
22Nov22: Completed work on BSB mus.ms.267. Rainer Boldhaus and I have not chosen to transcribe ff 42v-45v and 47v-49v, which are blank or filled with fragments. In a different hand, ff. 46-47 contain an intabulation of Jean Richefot's motet "Peccata mea" and ff. 50-53 contain intabulations of chansons. In a third hand on ff. 54-54v there is an untitled cara cossa and another untitled piece.
18Nov22: Completed work on another German tabulature source, CH-SAM Ms. FP M2 (1550). It contains 8 easy pieces, 6 intabulated lieder and 2 dances with a drone on the 5th course, retuned to Bb.
10Nov22: Completed work on a German tabulature source, CH-SAM Ms. FP M1 (1563). It contains many popular dances, similar to those found in the Hans Newsidler volumes, as well as some vocal intabulations and a few preludes. Most of the 45 pieces are easy to medium difficulty.
10Nov22: Completed a very early MS, the Amerbach Lute ms, ca. 1520, encoded by Rainer Boldhaus. It required some substantial editing. The MS contains only 3 lute pieces. Notable is an early version of "Amy Souffrez".
04Nov22: Completed Pseaumes de David.
31Oct22: Posted the next 25 pieces from Pseaumes de David.
27Oct22: Posted the next 25 pieces from Pseaumes de David.
27Sep22: Posted the next 25 pieces from Pseaumes de David.
22Sep22: Posted the next 25 pieces from Pseaumes de David.
15Sep22: Added 9 pieces that kindly pointed out that I had inadvertently skipped in Herbert of Cherbury's Lute book, #s 207-215. These have now been done and include some really nice fantasias by Jakub Reys, Vincenzo Pinti (the Knight of the Lute), and Diomedes Cato.
28Aug22: Completed work on a short lute ms from the German National Museum in NÃ¼rnberg, encoded by Rainer Boldhaus. This ms is beautifully calligraphed in two different colors, with all lines drawn with a ruler, extremely easy to read. However, several of the pieces are extremely flawed, with rhythm flags thrown in rather haphazardly, to a point that they cannot be rendered into playable form. The ones that I could "fix" have the original version in an appendix; The ones I couldn't fix I left in unedited form for other, more stalwart, souls to try to deal with. Also, it appears several pages are missing, and the original numbering of the pieces does not folow the pagination of the ms. Most of the pieces are simple vocal intabulations of Lutheran hymns.
25Aug22: Completed work on the Bottegari Lute Book, except for #129: "Tre leggiadre ninfe", where I have not yet figured out the text underlay. These are all quite simple pieces. The lute part is not challenging, the melodies simple, but the words are enchanting. One in particular, #111: "Sciacchier' Ã¨ diventato lo mio core" describes how Love is playing chess with his heart and using each piece to undo him.
19Aug22: Completed another 25 songs from the Bottegari Lute Book. The text underlay on one of the pieces, "Dura legge d'Amor" was especially challenging. I got some useful help from John Griffiths in sussing it out.
15Aug22: On Rainer Boldhaus's suggestion, I posted my translation of MatthÃ¤us Waissel's rather extensive lute tutorial, which seems to have gotten lost somehow, under sources/waisselM. This ia a very detailed account of German tab and left and right hand fingerings.
12Aug22: Completed work on D-KA:Badische_Landesbibliothek/Mus.A.678_Karlsruhe_MS_c.1600. These are pieces in German tab consisting of vocal intabulations of many hymns and several lieder, encoded by Rainer Boldhaus. They are mostly fairly simple pieces. A surprise, though, is the presence of an intrada in the form of a lute duet that imitates antiphonal choirs.
08Aug22: Completed another 25 songs from the Bottegari Lute Book. Of particular note is an excellent song, "", by Ippolito Tromboncino.
05Aug22: Completed another 25 songs from the Bottegari Lute Book. These are a mixture of religious and secular works.
01Aug22: Did a fairly extensive reorganization of the site, mainly checking all files for accuracy in the citation of source location (source, document, page. I also moved some stuff from composers to sources, notably Bach and the Dowland songbooks. Collected Dowland solos remain under composers, as do collected Milano, Holborne, and Cutting pieces and lute ensemble pieces.
Also, completed the first 25 songs from the Bottegari Lute Book. These are somewhat difficult to suss out at times because of some illegibility in the source document. Also, some pieces appear to be arbitrarily transposed into unexpected keys. I have rewritten the vocal parts to fit a lute in G. As is my policy on vocal pieces, I have gone ahead and done the text underlay for all the various verses, which in most cases has been easy to do, as the pieces appear mostly to have 11 syllables per line. The lute part for all these is quite simple.
01Jul22: Completed the first 31 pieces (some are collections of fragments) from BSB mus.ms.267, ably encoded by Rainer Boldhaus. Contents consist of several motets, a ricercar, and some intabulated chansons. Also, the scribe seemed to spend a lot of time trying to work through the Battle, as there are numerous fragments that seem to be sketches of parts of it. All in slack tuning. We have converted these into a 7-course version. One of the motets is also arranged for 7 courses. The ms was quite a challenge to suss out, but most of the pieces are written competently.
27Jun22: I finally managed to find and post a readable copy of the Bottegari Lute book, thanks to the considerable efforts of John Griffiths, AndrÃ© Nieuwlatt, and Francesco Tribioli. To Dinko Fabris also for his thorough introduction and contents. This is a very rich source of Italian lute songs from the mid 16th century, which will nicely complement our already rich collection of English, Spanish, and French ones.
12Jun22: Posted the next 25 pieces from Pseaumes de David.
05Jun22: Completed the first 26 pieces from the 1620 edition of "Pseaumes de David". This book contains a total of 166 pieces, starting with a prelude and followed by psalms. Each psalm is presented in a relatively simple fashion first, then a second section is more ornamented. Unlike in the 1619 edition, no vocal part or text is included, but the ornamented part has certain chords marked with an asterisk underneath them to indicate that the top note is part of the vocal line. I have chosen, for greater claity, to instead follow the practice of certain Spanish composers by highlighting these notes in red. Where there is an asterisk but no apparent top part in that chord, the next note or the note after that is usually the psalm melody note and should be highlighted. This can be checked against the simpler version in the first part of the piece.
Vallet explains in his preface that it would be too tedious to include a separate vocal part, the text of which would have to be translated into different languages. At the beginning of the piece he shows the first two or three words in Latin, French, German, and Dutch. Text underlay is left up to the singer, who presumably could read the tablature, or perhaps the lutenist could helpfully sound out the notes for them. Presenting the psalms in this manner is certainly a space saver, but since the top part is highly decorated, it means that it perhaps leaves less room for the kind of enhancements of the other parts that we see in the 1619 version. Judging from that version, it seems that the top part would be left unadorned for the vocalist. In any case, a mensural part can easily be constructed from the tab, and the text in the language of your choice could then be underlaid.
The pieces are mostly of moderate difficulty, although a few have very rapid passagework in places.
31May22: Completed the 1619 edition of "Pseaumes de David", which includes the vocal part and lute accompaniment. The superius part of Claude Le Jeune's mensural version of 1627 is almost identical to Vallet's vocal part. Probably they both follow the same earlier vocal model. The music in quite easy for both parts, but also quite beautiful.
12May22: Completed "Le Secret des Muses", v. 2 (1616). The pieces in this volume are fairly easy. Vallet skips the left hand fingering in this one. Contents are mainly dances -- courantes, galliards, passamezzos, pavanes, and ballets -- but there is an excellent fantasia by Charles de Lespine and an even more interesting "response" to it by Vallet. At the end of the volume are six lute quartets, for D-descant, A, G and D-bass 10-course lutes. Several of these can be played with 8-course lutes on some of the parts, with a little creative tuning. I made a very few changes to these to avoid some of the more egregious cross-relations. In one case (the galliard) I had to add a bar to the superius part to make it come out right. At the very end of the volume is an interesting version of variations on Luther's "Vater unser im Himmelreich", like the one in the Hove MS.
04May22: Completed "Le Secret des Muses", v. 1 (1615). On to v.2(1616).
02May22: Posted another 25 pieces from "Le Secret des Muses", v. 1 (1615). These are all courantes, and all meticulously notated by Vallet for right and left hand fingerings, barrÃ©s, tenuto lines, etc. Some of the left hand fingerings were difficult to read, as the dots are very small and often difficult to read. I did my best with them. I am sure most are correct, enough to give a very good idea of fingerings of the time, which I find quite logical and doable. I note that most of the courantes have a last bar in which the final beat is missing (half note instead of a dotted half). At first I thought it might be laziness or carelessness on the part of the scribe, but after an interesting discussion with Francesco Tribioli, we came to the conclusion that this indicates an indefinite number of repeats of the piece. If dancers were involved, one time through would make for a very short dance, so it seems likely that these pieces were played many times through.27Apr22: Posted the next 26 pieces from Nicolas Vallet "Le Secret des Muses", v. 1 (1615). These consist mainly of dances, including some brilliant passamezzos, as well as some excellent variations on a few Dowland pieces. Some of the later pieces in this batch are exhaustively notated with left and right hand fingerings, and tenuto lines, including noting when one should use a barrÃ© (the only place I have seen this noted in Renaissance sources). First and second fingers of the right hand are all noted, and the composer states that any notes not so marked should be played by the thumb. In his preface, Vallet states that this volume is intended for beginners, so that explains the didactic nature of these notations, which should also be useful for any lute students in our time.
19Apr22: Posted the first 25 pieces from Nicolas Vallet "Le Secret des Muses", v. 1 (1615). These are mainly simple to moderate difficulty preludes and fantasias for 7,8,9, and 10-course lute. They share with the Milano ricercars the quality of being wonderful but not too difficult. One piece, "La mendiante", is of particular interest in that it rivals Dowland in its chromaticism. GÃ¶ran Crona encoded this one years ago.
12Apr22: Posted A-Wn_Austrian_National_Library_Music_Collection/mus.hs.8967 (1565). This German tab source has only 5 pieces in it, but they are of good quality, though containing a number of errors. They include an intabulation of Arcadelt's "Quando io penso al martire", two fantasias, and a fragment of a motet. The pieces are fairly difficult, with frequent use of upper positions.
06Apr22: Posted the remainder of the pieces in Hove ms. These are mostly fairly easy passamezzos, galliards, and vocal intabulations of ballettos by Giovanni Gastoldi, with a few other dances thrown in.
04Apr22: Posted the remainder of the BSB mus.ms.272. More vocal intabulations of chansons, motets, etc., plus a few popular dances.
25Mar22: Posted another 25 pieces from the Hove ms. Included are two remarkable and virtuosic intabulations of Striggio madrigals: Hove's intabulation of "Nasce la pena mia" and Lorenzino Tracetti's intabulation of "Chi fara al cielo".
22Mar22: Posted the next 25 pieces from the Hove ms, mostly consisting of dances: courantes, galliards, pavanes, but there are a couple of toccatas and some vocal intabulations. Mostly very high quality pieces, and mostly of easy or medium difficulty.
18Mar22: Posted the first 25 pieces from the Joachim van den Hove autograph ms, most of which appear to be his own compositions. The ms is remarkable for its complete lack of errors. I have never before encountered such a meticulously written source. It has an unusual format, consisting of long, narrow pages, each having only 3 systems on it. The quality of the music is high, consisting (so far) of fantasias, toccatas, many courantes, voltes, a couple of galliards, and a few vocal intabulations. One remarkable piece is a set of six variations on Luther's hymn, "Vater unser im Himmelreich".
14Mar22: Posted the first half of BSB mus.ms.272, skillfully encoded by . The music is of moderate difficulty and includes ricercars and vocal intabulations, mostly of familiar songs. Many of the titles are somewhat mangled. We have identified most of the titles and composers with help from Markus Lutz and Tristan von Neumann, but a few are still shrouded in mystery, namely #s 21. 22. and 24. Any help on these would be most appreciated.
06Mar22: Completed The 1525 Blindhamer Lute ms. It consists of 20 pieces, mostly vocal intabulations, but also contains 2 preambles and a fantasy. This is one of the very earliest German tab sources. It represents significant challenges because of the generally poor quality of the ms, the lack of bar lines, and the somewhat inconsistent use of rhythmic symbols, especially in the very long preamble that starts it off. I spent most of my time on this one piece, in fact, relying heavily on the work of Martin Kirnbauer and Dick Hoban, who did careful editions of the entire ms and wrote extensively on it. Their work is much appreciated. I checked everything against the original ms and hope to have eliminated all the errors, but, as always, I welcome feedback. For any errors that may remain, I take full reesponsibility. I had to get a little creative in some places where there were missing notes or other imponderables. All of the pieces are of medium difficulty and of relatively high quality, especially for such an early ms. The prelude, in particular, is well worth playing.
19Feb22: Completed Schele lute ms (1615). The source ends with two very interesting untitled fantasias in a very unusual tuning, playable on an 11-course Baroque lute.
14Feb22: Posted another 50 pieces from the Schele lute ms (1615). More courantes and voltes, a few fantasias and several Dowland pieces. I also corrected the endings on several courantes in this source, based on help I received from Ron Andrico, Rainer aus dem Spring, Jean-Marie Poitier, and Matthew Daillie.
04Feb22: Posted another 50 pieces from the Schele lute ms (1615). These include many courantes and toccatas by Joachim van den Hove, Robert Ballard, and others, three "farewells" by Hove, as well as Dowland's La mia Barbara and an amazing intabulation (by Hove?) of Verdelot's Ultimi miei sospiri.
28Jan22: Posted the first 50 pieces from the Schele lute ms (1615). This is a wonderful collection of passaggios, preludes, fantasies, and an occasional courante. It includes a Dowland pavane that is a great piece after some errors have been repaired, Fortune my foe and Une jeune fillette variations by Dowland and some beautiful works by Hortenzio Perla, Antoine Francisque, Diomedes Cato, Joachim van den Hove, and others. It surely one of the best collections of late 16th C lute solo music.
In making the current edition of the Dowland pavane, I reviewed note by note the prior editions by Diana Poulton and John Robinson and also received some very helpful suggestions from Markus Lutz and Jussi-Pekka Lajunen, all of which I believe led to a version of the piece that is well worth playing.
20Jan21: Completed work on the Wickhambrook lute ms. This work contains 25 pieces, quite familiar to aficioados of the English repertoire. Many are by John Johnson, including two duets. There are two passamezzos, labeled as pavanes, and several chanson intabulations.
14Jan22: Completed work on Francescho Bianchini Tabulature de Lutz (1547). This one is similar to the Dominico Bianchini book, but also contains a couple of basse dances, as well as a fantasia by Francescho. All pieces are quite easy.
12Jan22: Posted Dominico Bianchini Intabulatura de Lauto. v.1 (1546), consisting of ricercars, vocal intabulations of chansons and madrigals, and a few religious and dance items thrown in. There are very few errors in this source. All pieces are of moderate difficulty. None are actually hard. The ricercars I find pleasant but not really exciting. The vocal intabulations are good but relatively simple, in contrast to those found in the recent German tab sources I have worked on. One interesting feature of this source is that instead of tenuto marks residing on the notes to be held, they are placed between notes, showing the voice leading. Thus they are more similar in function to the diagonal lines used in other sources, and I have taken the liberty of indicating them in that way.
09Jan22: Posted the remaining pieces from D-DEl, ms.BB.12150. Similar content, but the ms ends with several brief vocal intabulations of lieder.
07Jan22:Posted the first 4 Pavanas with their saltarellos from Borrono Intavolatura di Lauto, v.8 (1548), in collaboration with Robert Barto. That completes the work on that volume.
04Jan22: Posted another 25 pieces from D-DEl, ms.BB.12150. Still very high quality stuff, though the copy was a bit difficult to read in places.
19Dec21: Posted the first 25 pieces from D-DEl, ms.BB.12150. These are of comparable quality and similar to those found in the KrakÃ³w lute ms (c1600). These include vocal intabulations, mostly of Lasso motets, including a highly ornamented version of the anonymous motet Angeles ad Pastores that was found in KrakÃ³w. Also included are 6 ricercars by Melchior Newsidler, one of which is a ricercar on Susanne un Jour.
05Dec21: Posted a version of Jan P. Sweelinck's Chromatic Fantasia, arranged by AndrÃ© Nieuwlaat for two unequal lutes. The piece is truly spectacular.
03Dec21: Posted the last 15 pieces from the Krakow lute ms (c1600). These are up to the usual high standards of this document. Of particular note is a highly virtuosic and amazing intabulation of Pierre Sandrin's "Doulce Memoire" by Valentin Bakfark, hiding under the title "Albo juss dalei". There is also an alternate version of this piece. The scribe has inserted left and right hand fingerings, apparently realizing that this is a difficult piece.
23Nov21: Posted another 25 pieces from the Krakow lute ms (c1600). Many of these have 2-3 layers of emendations scribbled in on the ms. I have tried to show all versions. 15 pieces left.
13Nov21: Posted another 25 pieces from the Krakow lute ms (c1600). Along with the intabulations are a few passamezzos. Some of the pieces are quite long. I am now well over half way through the document.
02Nov21: John Robinson's careful work on the important fantasias at the beginning of the Krakow lute ms (c1600) has inspired me to recheck John's version of them and my own against the original facsimile and correct some errors. I believe that the version of these fantasias on my site is now quite accurate. Also, where I have introduced editorial changes, they are noted, with the original provided for comparison. In a few places, the scribe has included left and right hand fingering notations, which I have also noted. On many or most of the fantasias, someone has scribbled in corrections or enhancements onto the ms. My edition follows the corrected/enhanced versions (although the original bars are included). In one case (#24), there are so many emendations that I have made two editions (one original, one revised) of this fantasia. In many or most of the intabulations that follow the fantasias in the Krakow ms, there are so many revisions that I have had to follow the same practice. The intabulations, so far, are of comparable quality to the fantasias.
30Oct21: Posted another 25 pieces from the Krakow lute ms (c1600). These are the first of many vocal intabulations of madrigal, chansons, and religious pieces, all of very fine quality and mostly rather virtuosic. Half of them have alternate or corrected versions scribbled onto the ms, somewhat challenging to read. The original versions are perfectly fine as is; the alternates appear to be afterthoughts.
15Oct21: Posted first 26 pieces from the Krakow lute ms (c1600). These are all long, magnificent fantasias by Valentin Bakfark, Melchior Newsidler, and many unattributed ones. Most are virtuoso pieces, but a few are somewhat easier. These are amongst the best fantasias I have ever seen.
28Sep21: Completed Uppsala by posting the last 25 pieces, all of which were villanellas.
14Sep21: Posted another 25 pieces from Uppsala . This includes Some fantasias and ricercars by Milano and Albert de Rippe, followed by a number of short villanellas.
31Aug21: Posted another 25 pieces from Uppsala . Many of these are settings of several Psalms of David, by Pierre Certon.
16Aug21: Back to working on Uppsala after a long hiatus. Posted another 26 pieces. All vocal intabulations, of good quality, mostly medium to fairly hard. The last several ones are settings of parts of the famous Arcadia poem by Jacopo Sannosaro. I am not entirely sure of the composer, though they have been attributed to Simon Boyleau.
16Jul21:Posted another 25 pieces from Uppsala HS 87 (c1570). The quality of the intabulations gets progressively more interesting as we go through the MS, with an increasing use of diminutions.
20Jun21: Posted the Arpinus lute ms (c.1600), ably encoded by Rainer Boldhaus. This is a book in German tab containing 80 mostly fairly simple pieces and appears to be directed at students. The pieces are mostly dances of one kind or another, with a few vocal intabulations. Many of the piece titles appear to be in (Renaissance) Polish or Czech.
19Jun21: Posted first 50 pieces from Uppsala HS 87 (c1570). These are vocal intabulations of chansons and madrigals, with a motet by Jean de la Fage thrown in. The document is quite free of errors, mostly because the scribe wrote in frequent corrections and emendations onto the manuscript. One idiosyncrasy of this MS is that the scribe often avoided dotting the rhythm flags and instead inserted a blank space under the following flag instead, making it appear as a rest. To make it more confusing, in looking at the vocal models, some of these are supposed to be actual rests. I have tried to follow the vocal model, where available, in making this judgment. The intabulations are good but not quite as skilled as Hove's, adhering fairly closly to their vocal model, with occasional diminutions and cadential ornaments. One of them is by Francesco da Milano, with an intabulation of the same piece (Martin menoit) by Clément Janequin. Many intabulations are of pieces by Vincenzo Ruffo, with other pieces by Arcadelt, Jacques Clément, etc.
06Jun21: Completed Joachim van den Hove Florida (1601). The remaining pieces are dances (courantes, allemandes, galliards, and pavanes with a spagnoletta thrown in) and a few popular melodies. Hove continues with his skillful diminutions of some Dowland and Bacheler favorites. Most of the pieces in this part of the book are fairly simple.
28May21: Back to Joachim van den Hove Florida (1601). Posted 8 passamezzos with accompanying galliards and three lute duets by Giovanni Gabrieli, Luca Marenzio, and Ippolito Baccusi. All good stuff.
26May21: Posted the complete Tabulatura Nova (1584) by Gregor Krengel, carefully encoded by . Each piece in this German tab book is given in one key, then transposed by Krengel down a second, a third, or a fourth. The transposed versions are almost identical to their counterparts. They are mainly intabulated madrigals and motets, mostly by Gregor Lange, Orlando di Lasso, and Jacob Regnart. At the end are a series of 7 paduanas, each accompanied by one or two lieder that Krengel thinks are a good fit for that paduana. There are a moderate number of errors in the pieces, but these are not difficult to correct. Also, the lieder toward the end have repeats which are notated in a difficult way and require some judgment calls. I hope I have made good ones but am very open to correction if I have screwed up. The pieces are of moderate difficulty, though the intabulations mainly consist of chord after chord with little passagework and thus might be a little tiring, especially for the left hand, and the sound comes out a bit "chunky".
13May21: Posted the remainder of the madrigal scores from Joachim van den Hove Florida (1601). There are 46 in all. Still very labor intensive, partly because there are a few errors in the original and partly because I don't know Italian that well, especially Renaissance Italian, and the word boundaries are not well delineated. I got some good help, in this respect, from , , , and .
25Apr21: Posted Milano and Fiorentino Intabolatura de Lauto, v.3 (1547), which contains many pieces (fantasias and vocal intabulations) by Francesco da Milano but also many by Perino Fiorentino. The Fiorentino pieces were ably encoded and edited by . These latter pieces are of a similar quality to the ones by Milano that we are more familiar with.
17Apr21: Posted first 25 pieces from Joachim van den Hove Florida (1601). The first 8 pieces are very nice fantasias; then 12 madrigals and one motet intabulated. Hove also provided the Basso and Canto parts as mensural staves. The lute part of each contains the material in the mensural staves, often with divisions and other ornaments. These pieces can also be played as lute songs, with or without a viol or bass voice. The vocal pieces have been very labor intensive. It has been a challenge matching up the various staffs and handling discrepancies among them, to a point where they sound good together. I have had to correct many errors in the originals, sometimes correcting the vocal parts by reference to the lute part, sometimes vice versa, and to make the musica ficta match among the different parts, but the result is quite beautiful, IMO. It has been especially interesting to see where the tablature part has illuminated the placement of musica ficta in the mensural parts.
29Mar21: Completed work on Delitiae Musicae. The second half of the book consists mainly of dances, starting with passamezzi antici and moderni with their galliards in several keys, followed by a variety of other dances, including 4 galliards attributed to Dowland but not included in Poulton's collection. These dances are mostly fairly easy pieces, but still of high quality.
21Mar21: Completed the first 50 pieces from Joachim van den Hove Delitiae Musicae. This is a rich collection of preludes, 4-, 5- and 6-part vocal intabulations: madrigals and motets, by Lasso, Marenzio, Nanino, and many others, and various dances, including a unique setting of a Holborne pavane. The intabulator has done a good job of not just slavishly following the originals, but has taken pains to make them playable without losing their beauty. 08Mar21: More corrections to the Craus lute ms (>1540), including a renumbering. Thanks for help from .
07Mar21: Made some corrections to the Craus lute ms (>1540) and added some missing pieces.
03Mar21: Finished the Craus lute ms (>1540). It consists of 53 pieces in German tab, most of which are fairly simple and unremarkable, consisting of vocal intabulations, dances, preludes, a ricercar, and what looks like one fantasia and one motet. Several of the last pieces, oddly, consist of a single line in octaves or, in two cases, just single lines. I am grateful to for identifying an untitled piece for me (#8. Pavana alla Venetiana).
21Feb21:Finished work on a MS from Basel University Library. This is a very colorful and artistically drawn MS that only contains 7 pieces: 5 preambles, one by Wolff Heckel, another by Matthäus Waissel, and three anonymous. It contains two settings by Wolff Heckel of the hymn "Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist", in two different keys. The last setting is incomplete, indicating that the MS may have originally been longer.
20Feb21: I just found out that had previously encoded the Reymann book into fronimo format, so apparently this was somewhat of a duplication of effort. If you want to see Douglas Towne's version, it is available here. It's a lot of work, so I appreciate Douglas' effort, even though I was not able to benefit from it.
19Feb21: Made some corrections, put in some composer attributions, and completed right hand fingerings in Judenkünig's Ein schone künstliche Underweisung (1523). I am grateful to for a correction to "Trop plus secret" in that book.
18Feb21: Finished the Reymann book. The last part contains pavanes, galliards, and choreae with triple sections. These are a bit easier to play, but continue to be of very high quality.
13Feb21: Posted the 12 Passamezzi with variations from the Reymann book. Ordinarily, passamezzi can be dull and repetitive, but that does not apply at all to these. They are in 12 different keys, some quite remote. Each is a gem, yet strictly adhering to the 16-bar passamezzo pattern. Each one has 6 variations, 3 duple and 3 triple time, and a Reprisa, also in triple time. I consider this the apotheosis of the passamezzo.
04Feb21: Posted the preludes and fantasias from Mathias Reymann Noctes Musicae (1598). This is truly an exceptional source: virtually error-free. There is sometimes difficulty in distinguishing c's from e's, but it is usually fairly clear from the context. The material is of exceptional quality as well. All are original works by Reymann and all quite virtuosic and very beautiful. Reymann is shaping up to be one of my very favorite composers. Several are very inventive fantasias on popular Lutheran hymns.
26Jan21: Posted the MS Tänze, Lieder und Lautentraktat (c.1575), compiled by Ludwig Iselin. This is a challenging MS from an editing viewpoint, though less so than the Ulm lute book. The pieces were ably encoded by . It contains mostly German dances, with a few vocal intabulations thrown in. Most of the 41 pieces are extremely easy.
21Jan21: Posted the Ulm lute book (1556). This is a poorly written source, rife with errors. It has no bar lines, and rhythm flags are somewhat random and sometimes absent. My edition is therefore, at times, more of a reconstruction than I like it to be. Pieces are uniformly easy, however.
15Jan21: Completed work on Matthäus Waissel's 1591 Tabulatura Allerley küstlicher Preambulen. These consisted of 16 more galliards, 8 padoanas, 4 pavane-galliard combinations, and 8 branles. Some of the branles are recognizable from LeRoy (1551).
11Jan21: Posted 36 Polish dances, 8 passamezzi and 8 galliards from Matthäus Waissel's 1591 Tabulatura Allerley küstlicher Preambulen. The Polish dances and galliards are mostly quite easy; the passamezzi and accompanying saltarelli are lengthy and more difficult.
05Jan21: Posted the 8 preambles and 40 German dances from Matthäus Waissel's 1591 Tabulatura Allerley küstlicher Preambulen. These are mostly relatively easy pieces, apparently composed by Waissel himself. Also in this book are numerous Polish dances, passamessi, galliards, padoanas, pavanes, and branles.
01Jan21: Posted the Iselin lute book. This consists mostly of very easy pieces, mostly dances + a couple of hymns. The pieces were encoded by .
23Dec20: Posted 5 handwritten additions to Newsidler 1536 v.2.
04Dec20: I posted a good facsimile copy of the Schele Lute book on my site, straightened, cropped, and broken out by page number, as is my custom.
29Nov20: Completed work on Francesco Vindella, Intabolatura di liuto, v.1 (1546). This book consists of 17 vocal intabulations of madrigals, mostly by Arcadelt, but one anonymous and two by Jacquet de Berchem. For some reason, they are numbered 2-18 in the original. I chose to keep this numbering. The pieces are not too difficult ("challenging") and of uniform very high quality, with very few errors.
25Nov20: Completed the rest of the Raimondo Lute MS., which has similar content.
16Nov20: Completed first 50 pieces from the Raimondo Lute MS. These are an assortment of relatively easy dances (branles, galliards, correntes and voltas) with some more difficult fugas and fantasias, and easier toccatas and entratas. All very charming and of good quality .
06Nov20: Completed the remaining pieces from . These consist of several vocal intabulations of chansons, madrigals, hymns, as well as three passamezzi. Some of these pieces are a bit simpler than the others in the book.
01Nov20: Completed first 25 pieces from Sixt Kargel Newerlessner fleissiger Lautenstuck (1586), which were encoded by . This MS starts with 6 fantasias, the first of which is by Francesco da Milano, which are excellent and of medium difficulty. The rest of the pieces in this half of the MS are intabulations of 4- and 5-part motets by Lasso, Meiland, Crécquillon, and others. These are well written but mostly rather difficult to play.
17Oct20: Posted Matthias Waissel's Tabulatura Guter gemeiner Deudtscher Tentze (1592), which was intabulated by . This consists of 8 easy lute duets, each a Tanz and a Sprung for lutes a fourth apart.
14Oct20: Completed remaining pieces in Eysert. These include more hymns and psalms, plus a few Hassler vocal intabulations, and 4 more duets.
05Oct20: Completed another 50 pieces from the Eysert MS. These were mainly short and relatively easy hymns and psalms, many by Martin Luther. Also a set of 8 6-part intratas by Alessandro Orologio, a few madrigals and some dances.
29Sep20: Completed work on Jobin v.2 (1573). This volume consists entirely of different dances: Several passamezzi, galliards, branles and teutsche tänze, mostly quite simple., also based on the labors of .
25Sep20: Completed work on Bernhard Jobin, Newerlessner Lautenstück, v.1 (1572), based on the hard work of . This volume contains mostly vocal intabulations, although there are 4 fantasias at the beginning and 3 passamezzo/saltarello pairs at the end. The vocal intabulations are mostly quite difficult technically though well done (similar to Eysert). They are madrigals, chansons, and lieder, with a few motets thrown in. Many of the pieces are intabulations of Lasso works.
Also, I got rid of those nasty giant PDF icons that everybody seems to have been kind enough not to complain about.
20Sep20: Completed another 51 pieces from Eysert. Many vocal intabulations, a few dances and at the end, 5 quite densely textured duets. Thanks to for help with composer names.
03Sep20: Completed the next 50 pieces from Eysert. Many thanks to and for help with figuring out the meaning of the red notes in this MS. I checked all the pieces and find that the red notes in all the pieces appear to indicate a lute tuned a whole note lower, except that in 18.Verbum caro factum est and 23.Quis novis, the second lute appears to be tuned in unison. The first 50 pieces have been corrected to reflect these changes. The content of the second set of 50 pieces is similar to that of the first, except that there are more madrigals.
15Aug20: Completed the first 50 pieces from the Eysert Lute Book (c.1600). Thus far, what I have mainly seen are vocal intabulations of choral works (mostly motets) by Giovanni Gabrieli, Hans Leo Hassler, and others. These are many-voiced works (several are 8-voiced!). The unknown intabulator, however, has done a good job of creating playable and decent-sounding lute pieces, though the texture is of necessity rather dense. There is also a smattering of intabulations of madrigals and a few pavanes and galliards. Thanks to John Robinson for directing me to John Ward's article, JLSA 10 (1977) Appendix S , pp. 138-139, for help in identifying the English pieces in Eysert.
26Jul20: Completed another Hans Gerle volume: Musica und Tabulatur (1546), again based on the excellent work of . Apart from one Milano Ricercar (Ness #3), a short Josquin piece, and a saltarello, this volume contains many vocal intabulations, a few German lieder, but mainly intabulations of French chansons. These are competent intabulations but they suffer a bit from a rather formulaic approach to ornamentations and especially cadential formulas.
13Jul20: Finished work on v.3 of Hans Newsidler Lautenbüchlein (1544). That completes my collection of Hans Newsidler. This book consists of 9 motets by Maffon, Morales, Senfl, Carpentras, and Isaac, each artfully intabulated by Newsidler. Again, well encoded by .
12Jul20: Completed work on Simon Gitzler's 1547 Intabolatura de Lauto. This is a marvelous collection. It starts with 6 ricercars by Gintzler, followed by intabulations of vocal works: 4, 5, and 6-voice motets by Josquin, Verdelot, Berchem, Jachet, Senfl, Willaert, Lupus, and Arcadelt. These are by far the best intabulations I have found. They adhere closely to the vocal models, yet are inventive and very lutenistic. The intabulations of madrigals by Verdelot, Arcadelt, and Jachet, and of chansons by Sandrin and Villiers are also very well done.
06Jul20: Completed work on the solo works from Wolff Heckel Discant Lautten Buch (1562), again expertly encoded by . The solo works in this volume include mostly well intabulated chansons, madrigals, and lieds. The duets in this volume are for another time.
02Jul20: Completed Spinacino v.2. Similar content; also very high quality.
25Jun20: Having obtained the source for Attaingnant Dixhuit basses dances, I was able to go back and correct my edition of that work, adding a few missing pieces and putting the pieces in the right order.
23Jun20: Completed work on Francesco Spinacino Intabulatura de Lauto, v.1 (1507). This is apparently the earliest printed lute book, printed by Ottoviano Petrucci, also the publisher of Odhecaton. Despite its early provenance, the music is quite sophisticated, and the printing is very clear and relatively error free. The pieces are generally of medium difficulty, with only a few easy and a few challenging items. The book contains many well put together intabulations of songs from Odhecaton, hardly surprising since they share the same publisher. It also contains 5 lute duets, which are rather a nightmare to edit, containing many gratuitous dissonances. I have not tried to correct these, and I present them in all their original ugliness. Perhaps I will take on the project of attempting to make these playable in the future, or maybe someone else has taken on or will take on this burden, in which case I could use the help. There has been a fronimo encoding of these pieces and of those in v.2 that has been hanging around for over 20 years. I have never been able to obtain permission to use these files, so I have decided to bite the bullet and work directly from the source facsimiles without consulting those files, since this is one of the most important lute books, and it's high time it got out into the public domain.
18 Jun20: Completed the solo works from Wolff Heckel's Tenor Lautten Buch (1556). Again these were expertly encoded by . These are mostly quite simple German dances, similar to those found in Newsidler's books, but there are a few other dances thrown in, as well as some fantasias, including one by Francesco da Milano (which Heckel claims as his own) and another that might be by Milano ("Millanew"). There are also 40 tenor duet parts in the book that go with the Discant Lautten Buch (1562), which has the discant parts, as well as many more solo works, but these are for another day.
11Jun20: Completed Antonio Becchi Intabulatura de Lauto, v.1 (1568). This is a high quality work, starting with 4 very long pazzamezzi, followed by a romanesca, a moresca, several intabulations of canzone Napolitane, madrigals, and chansons, followed by 9 fantasias and recercars, one by Milano and three by Spinacino.
04Jun20: Completed 21 lute pieces from Gerle Musica Teusch (1532), meticulously encoded by . Similar fare to Tabulatur auff die Laudten.
03Jun20: Finished Tabulatur auff die Laudten, the last 9 pieces being rather nice 3- and 4-part intabulations of motets by Josquin, Isaac, Senfl, etc.
31May20: Completed the first 41 pieces from Hans Gerle Tabulatur auff die Laudten (1533). These are the secular works from the book and comprise about half of it. They are mostly pretty easy.
did an almost flawless job on the encoding and most of the editing and formatting as well. I just did a proofread against the original and a few little touches. The book starts with 5 quite uninspired preambles, followed by one from Francesco da Milano; the rest consists of reasonably good vocal intabulations of popular lieds and chansons of the time. The other half of the book consists of liturgical motets in 3 and 4 parts, next on the agenda.
21May20: Completed work on Hans Newsidler Ein New Künstlich Lauten Buch, v.1 (1547). This was encoded and mostly edited and formatted by Rainer Boldhaus, who produced an almost error-free edition. Kudos! This volume was mainly directed toward very young students and contains very simple pieces.
18May20: Completed work on Bernadino Balletti Intabolatura de Lauto (1554). All dances, mostly galliards. I have been unable to identify who did the work of encoding these pieces, but whoever it was did a terrific job of producing almost completely error-free editions.
16May20: I corrected my edition of Alonso Mudarra's Tres Libros de Musica en Cifras (1546). The original edition was kicked off from a posting by Michael Graham, for whose work I am grateful. All the pieces have now been carefully corrected from the source facsimile. The vocal parts have all been transcribed to fit a lute in G, which sometimes leads to vocal parts in rather remote keys. Mudarra's work is careful and altogether splendid, and generally of moderate difficulty.
15May20: Posted a beautiful 5-part Thomas Tallis motet, arranged and intabulated for 6-course lute by Jacob Heringman. Also posted: editions by Heringman of Dowland's My Lady Hundston's Puffe, Mistriss White's Choyce, and Lord Strang's March, with thorough fingering notations.
02May20: Completed edition of Robert Dowland's Varieties of Lute Lessons. This consists of 42 pieces of the highest quality, by a variety of composers. It is arguably the best collection of Renaissance lute music in existence. These are also some of the most virtuosic pieces I have ever seen. Mostly English composers, especially John Dowland, but a large number of continental composers as well.
26Apr20: Completed edition of Borrono Intavolatura di lauto, v.8 (1548). This is well known for containing several Milano fantasies, but it also include two by Borrono, as well as some very nicely intabulated French chansons.
23Apr20: Completed work on "Il liuto", by Bernardo Gianoncelli. This was carefully encoded by , formatted and edited by myself, with substantial help from François. It consists of pieces for 14-course archlute arranged by key, mostly courantes and galliards, with one bergamasca thrown in. Each courante and galliard has a "spezzata" section appended, which gives the same piece in style brisé, and many are preceded by one or more "tastegiatas" (which I interpret as "toccatas"). The music is charming and graceful and not overly difficult to play.
20Apr20: Completed work on Hans Newsidler Ein new künstlich Lauten Buch, v.2 (1549). did all of the hard work of encoding into fronimo and some of the editing. I did some of the editing as well. Some of the stuff in this book are also found in other Newsidler books, but much of it is new material: dances, vocal intabulations, and even a Battle. We think there is a v.1 from 1547 with a slightly different title, which could be our next project..
14Apr20: Made some major changes to the site and its software. There may be some broken links resulting from these changes, which I hope to fix soon. These changes were required in order to introduce a change to the spreadsheet, which now gives links to the local source facsimile, where present, next to the link for each fronimo file. About 3/4 of the fronimo files on the site have local facsimile sources. These are useful for easily comparing the fronimo edition against the original. In the future I also hope to put in links to recordings for the pieces, as I discover them on youtube, etc.
07Mar20: Added Hans Newsidler book, 1544, v. 2. did most of the work on this one, a very careful and thorough job which is much appreciated. It contains many dances and intabulations of popular songs of the time. As with all of Newsidler's editions, they are extremely clear and precise, with very few errors, and his intabulations are also very good and playable. This book also contains a couple of blockbuster battle pieces and the obligatory lengthy passamezzo antico variations. The first part of this book contains exhaustive fingering specifications for right and left hand.
02Mar20: Completed Marsh Lute Book.
06Feb20: Another 50 pieces from the Marsh Lute Book. Includes several lute duets by John Johnson. Also very high quality stuff.
21Jan20: Took a break from Marsh to do an edition of the Simancas vihuela MS. The copy I had to work with was of poor quality, the text was hard to read, I do not know Renaissance spanish, and the last piece (la Morada) had no bar lines or rhythm flags, so my edition is fairly iffy. Any suggestions are welcome.
19Jan20: Completed first 50 pieces from the Marsh Lute Book. Very high quality, sometimes virtuosic, material from both Europe and England.
10Jan20: Completed Hans Newsidler Ein newes Lautenbüchlein (1544), v.1. I also have ultra clear facsimiles of both v.1 and v.2. V.1 was a pleasure to do after the hardships of Fabricius. In the entire book, I only found about 7 errors, and 5 of them were an upside down (but otherwise correct) 2 in the German tab. The pieces are delightful, consisting of hofftanz's and accompanying hupff auffs, along with many vocal intabulations of lieds and chansons. This is a rich source of delightful, well written, but easy pieces.
31Dec19: Fabricius completed.
30Dec19: Rechecked and re-posted #s 1-200 of Fabricius. I found a copy of Ralf Jarchow's massive 2013 tome on the subject of this lute book in U.C. Berkeley's library, so was able to add composer names to the files. #s 201-301 still require some editing and database entry but should be out soon.
27Dec19: Completed Fabricius, but I have taken the whole book offline to give it a final checkover. I hope to have it back online soon.
09Dec19: Another 50 pieces from Fabricius. Some decent galliards, padoanas, and pavanes, here.
01Dec19: Another 50 pieces from Fabricius completed.
16Nov19: Finished another 50 pieces from Fabricius.
07Nov19: Finished first 50 pieces from the Fabricius lute book. Mostly intabulations of lieder, but a few dances thrown in. The tab is surrounded by a great deal of text, apparently mostly addressed to a variety of women. Work was slowed down by power outages from the California fires. We were evacuated for a week, but all is good.
19Oct19: Completed Berlin State Library ms. 40588 (1552). A disappointing collection of 62 fairly primitive pieces, but does contain some intabulated Martin Luther hymns. A lot of very easy pieces here, though, for the new lutenist.
14Oct19: Revised Milan El Maestro vocal pieces to show colored notes in the tab and correct a few errors.
08Oct19: Completed edition of the Willoughby Lute Book, containing a version of the "Goodnight" lute duet by John Johnson, and 45 other pieces, mostly of high quality. It also contains 8 consort parts for cittern.
17Sep19: Finished the rest of the Herwarth pieces, bringing the total to 170, most of them of very high quality.
20Aug19: Completed another 50 pieces from Herwarth, mainly vocal intabulations of chansons by Sandrin, Sermisy, etc. Most of these pieces were initially encoded and edited in fronimo by Harald Hamre. On these items, I simply did some proofreading against the original and reformatted them in my favored format. I also received substantial help on locating composer names from Tristan von Neumann, and also from Art Ness's 1984 dissertation specifically on the Herwarth MS, which goes into great depth on the MS.
04Aug19: I have just started work on the Herwarth Lute MS #266. Just completed up to item #50. Most of the MS so far appears to have a minimum of errors compared to Wurstisen. The first part has most of the extant dal'Aquila ricercars, plus other ricercars, miscellaneous dances, popular pieces (like Cara Cosa and La Traditora), etc.. The material is mostly of very high quality. Oddly, all of the Aquila pieces and many of the others appear to have been crossed out in the MS (diagonal lines through them), but I have included them anyway. Fingerings, including occasional left hand fingerings, are in the original.
15Jul19: Completed v.8 of Wurstisen, which consists mainly of hymns and psalms, some by Martin Luther, who apparently was also a lutenist. There are also a few allemands, galliards, and pavanes, which are mostly of high quality. Kemp's jig appears in a couple of places. John Robinson helped me to identify this piece. That concludes Wurstisen.
07Jul19: Completed v.7 of Wurstisen, which consists mainly of galliards, with a few other types of pieces thrown in. In contrast to the less interesting pieces in v.6, many of the galliards are really quite beautiful and mostly unique to this source. John Robinson helped me identify the cara cosas from this volume.
20Jun19: Completed Wurstisen v.6. Mostly German dances/allemands, but a few galliards, pavanes, voltes, etc. 174 pieces.
06Jun19: Finished another 50 pieces from Wurstisen v.6. Same type of pieces.
03Jun19: On a suggestion from Michael Stover, I took a break from Wurstisen to compete work on Robert Dowland's A Musicall Banquet. This contains a Dowland galliard and 20 excellent English, Italian, Spanish, and French songs, many of which were not previously on my site.
21May19: Completed 1st 50 pieces from Wurstisen v.6. This volume consists of dances, mostly very simple ones but challenging to edit because of their many errors. Nothing earth-shattering.
12May19: Completed Wurstisen v.5.
26Apr19: Finished the 1st 53 pieces from Wurstisen v.5, consisting of passamezzos, often paired with galliards or saltarellos. These are generally of moderate difficulty. While these pieces contain a similar number of errors to those in earlier books, they are easier to correct because the strict passamezzo pattern in them gives helpful guidance.
09Apr19: Completed v.4 of Wurstisen, consisting of mostly vocal intabulations of European composers, with a few ricercari, battles, and entradas thrown in. Again, the profusion of errors make this a slow process. It is especially challenging to suss out unica with no or faulty barring and rhythm flags.
16Mar19: Completed v.2 of Wurstisen, consisting of 4 motets, 3 by Lasso and one anonymous. the Lasso ones are particularly beautiful. All the pieces required major error corrections. The presence of many line errors and overstrike errors leads me to believe that they were rather carelessly copied over from Italian or French tab sources.
24Feb19: Completed work on v.3 of the Wurstisen Lute book. This volume, one of 8, contains 22 fantasias by various composers, including some by Milano. This is a massive work of German tab. Although the notes are quite clear, there are many mistakes, reminiscent of the Cavalcanti Lute Book. Most of these are in rhythm flags. John Robinson was very helpful in tracking down composer attributions.
04Feb19: Completed work on Hans Gerle "Ein newes sehr künstlichs Lautenbuch" (1552). Most, if not all, of the pieces in this book appear to have been taken from Italian tab sources and rendered into German tab. Many were taken from Rotta (1546), Crema (1546), Bianchini (1546), Gintzler (1547), and especially Casteliono (1536). But obviously Gerle put a lot of time and thought into his editions, which are not merely copies but display his own hand in adding some embellishments, filling out some chords, and putting in some different musica ficta, as well as correcting obvious errors, so that the Gerle version of many of these pieces are, in my opinion, actually better than the sources they were taken from. The book starts with 31 "preambles", which in other editions are called ricercars or fantasias, and then "Italian pieces", consisting of dances: passamezzoz, padoanas, galliards, and saltarellos, and a couple of pavanes.
12Jan19: Completed work on Sulzbach MS, v.2 (1536), another primary Milano source. This one is in Neapolitan lute tab (Spanish tab with all numbers one higher). The Sulzman sources are sometimes more error free than others, such as the Siena Lute Book, Paris MS.rés.429, and Milano (s.d). Thanks to Arthur Ness, who told me that ties across a bar line are indicated in the Sulzman sources as a simple repeat of the chord in the second bar. He also helped me identify a piece (16.ricercar in Sulzbach) as Ness #95.
04Jan19: Completed work on the Sulzbach MS, v1 (1536), a primary source of Milano works.
31Dec18: Completed work on Benedikt Drusina, Tabulatura continens... (1556), a German tab source. The source is extremely clear and relatively error-free. Arne Keller and Jason Kortis intabulated the work in fronimo format several years ago, saving me a great deal of work. For my part, I proofread the work against the source, did some minor editing, and changed it over into the preferred format for my website. So kudos to Arne and Jason for this and their many other major contributions to getting lute music out.
16Dec18: Corrected version of Thistlethwaite, based on the John Ward's inventory, which identifies most of the pieces and gives a careful account of each. Many thanks to Andre Nieuwlaat for turning me on to this inventory and for locating a title that is not in the inventory.
12Dec18: Posted the Thistlethwaite Lute Book. Mostly high-quality English stuff. A few anonymous fantasias that are really nice, plus a couple by Francesco da Milano. John Robinson and Art Ness were very helpful in producing this edition..
15Nov18: Completed work on Welde Lute Book, not widely available. This contains iconic English pieces, some very virtuostic. Included are some lovely fantasias by Alfonso Ferrabosco I, and three John Johnson duets.
20Oct18: Completed work on Berlin State Library mus.ms.40632,. This is a MS in German tab, with fairly high quality stuff, including some interesting pieces by Senfl, Lasso, Isaac, Segni, Milano, etc. It mostly consists of vocal intabulations for 6-course lute of sacred works, chansons, German songs, and madrigals, all of fairly moderate difficulty. Particularly of note are a couple of anonymous fantasias, which are quite fun. Helpfully, the rhythm notations are completely regular, and there are only a noderate number of errors. Often, it seems the scribe intabulated vocal works without putting in all the musica ficta, so a large number of my emendations consisted of putting them in.
19Oct18: I've been offline for awhile because I have been downsizing from a 3000 sq ft house to a 1000 sq ft cottage, which is charming but cramped. But now that I am back, I have m ade several corrections on Paris Réservé 429, based on valuable information from Arthur Ness. I have also renumbered the pieces.
19Jul18: Just completed work on Paris Réservé 429, consisting of 494 pp. of lute solo music in Italian tab. The quality of the music is very high, and relatively free of errors compared to many other sources. This source also contains many ricercare by Milano, as well as several intabulated chansons and madrigals, and passamezzi, galliards, and saltarellos. In the facsimile I have, many pages are difficult to read because they are extremely faint, but paying for the effort in eyestrain, and using a very large screen, I believe I was able to suss them out correctly. Again, Art Ness was extremely helpful with this project. Any errors, however, are my own.
31May18: Just completed Cavalcanti. Whew! I received significant help from Art Ness, who corrected several errors in titling and attribution of composers.
27May18: I got some very significant help from Richard Falkenstein on the one missing piece from Bossinensis v.2 (1511), namely "Quando andaratu al monte". That was the one piece that had completely stumped me, but Richard totally figured it out. It turns out to be a very racy dialog between a shepherd and shepherdess. It would be a lot of fun to perform--for an adult audience.
16May18: Posted another 50 pieces from Cavalcanti. This lot contains some excellent fantasias by Francesco da Milano, various dances, and several vocal intabulations with underlaid text. As usual, there are many errors, including many that appear to be due to the fact that Cavalcanti copied from vocal scores and failed to put in the appropriate musica ficta. At other times, he put in inappropriate ficta. I have been greatly helped by , who kindly sent me portions of his 1997 PhD dissertation on the Cavalcanti MS. This dissertation contained valuable information on composer names and the location of vocal models.
22Apr18: Posted another 50 pieces from Cavalcanti. Most of these are vocal, with text underlay below the tab and extra stanzas scribbled in the margins or at the end of the page. The text seems to follow the bass line. The text was very difficult to read. In some cases, I found the text elsewhere, but otherwise I gave it my best guess. The tab and rhythm indications in many of these were fairly unreliable, so more guesswork was involved to try to make sense of them.
28Mar18: Posted the next 50 pieces from Cavalcanti. I had to punt on #63, a contrapunto that appears to be in 12/8 time, but it's hard to make it fit. Again, any help is appreciated. Many pieces in Cavalcanti are noted as being by "Giovanni". Others are probably by Giovanni B. Borrono. Could this be the same Giovanni?
15Mar18: Posted the first 50 pieces from the Cavalcanti Lute Book. As mentioned below, it has been a major problem to edit this material. In one case, I punted on trying to rationalize a piece (Canario, #27) and come up with something plausible. helped me figure this out. Most of the pieces in this first part of the MS are short dances of one kind or another. has been very helpful in providing his table of contents for the MS.
08Mar18: Posted a cleaned-up facsimile of the Cavalcanti Lute Book (c. 1600). This is a 210 p. document, containing many fantasias and ricercars of Francesco da Milano, plus many dances of one kind or another, in Italian tab. Cleaning up the MS was a considerable challenge. Although the notes and staff lines are fairly clear in most places, they are also festooned with multiple random scratches and scribbles, smudges, dots, and inkblots. Rarely, notes are lost off the edge of the page, and the last ½ of the MS looks as though it were subjected to a gray watercolor wash. I believe, however, that my result is fairly readable. I plan to do an edition of the MS next. The absence of bar lines in most of the MS will probably make that more difficult.
This is a list of not-so-recent additions to the website, with commentaries on them.
Over the years, I have collected the pieces on this site from the internet or have intabulated and/or arranged or realized them myself. I have edited all of them and formatted them to fit nicely on US letter size paper (8.5 x 11 in), though some are formatted for US legal size (8.5 x 14 in). I have not formatted any for A4, as life is too short. Again, if you have the fronimo software, it is pretty easy to reformat these to taste. I have tried to create performable copy in all cases.
In editing these files, I have tried to use "canonical" composer names and to eliminate spelling variations wherever possible, and have inserted the names of the "original composers", where known, in parentheses under the title. For instance, where Albert de Rippe intabulates "Douce memoire", de Rippe is given as the composer and (Pierre Sandrin) as the original composer.
In my footnote credits, I have included credits for encoder and editor. The encoder is the one who actually does the data entry to create the fronimo, TAB, Midi, or Django file that I work from. Other credits, and other important information, are contained in the "Section Annotations" within the fronimo file. For a detailed explanation of these and other editing practices of mine, see my writeup on fronimo formats. Credits, and other information contained in the fronimo files, are also present in the spreadsheet I have created for the website. I update the spreadsheet frequently to reflect the approximate current state of the data. It contains hyperlinks to fronimo, midi,and pdf files for each entry. It also has other data, such as key, type of piece, instrumentation, and difficulty. If you can read the Excel file, that is probably the easiest way of finding things until an actual searchable database is created.
In all cases, I have edited and formatted each piece and take responsibility for any errors therein. 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/encoder, though over the years some of this data has been lost. If you feel you are the one that originally contributed a particular piece and have not been acknowledged 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 me at 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? I maintain a Corrections and Contributors Honor Roll to credit all who have contributed to this effort. You can also email me at with any comments or special requests.
I hope you get and give a great deal of pleasure from playing these pieces!
If you are curious about my other identity as a psychiatrist and philosopher, you can find out more about me by clicking here.