minstrel: Lute Tuning

Stephen Fryer sfryer at prcn.org
Sat Nov 5 16:10:25 PST 2005

Daði Mánaskröggr Vébrandsson wrote:

> I recently received a Lute from the Early Music Store as a gift from my
> parents and my household.  It was a very touching gift as I have wanted one
> for a long time.

A truly wonderful gift!

> But on the internet I have read different tunings and I
> want to know which I should use for most early music?  Right now I have
> settled on the following tuning:
> D  G   C   F   A   D   G

This was indeed the usual Renaissance tuning for a 7-course lute, though 
you might find an occasional piece for a lute tuned F  G  C  F  A  G.

There is also the question of whether to tune the bass courses as octave 
pairs.  This was common, though later lutenists, such as Galilei and 
Dowland considered it "contrary to reason."

You might consider joining the Lute List (be warned that there are a few 
members who are too fond of snide remarks and flame-wars, though there 
are a lot of very knowledgeable and reasonable people there too); see 
http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/lute-admin/index.html for information.

And have fun luting!

Stephen Fryer
AKA Stephen of Hunmanby

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