minstrel: guitar lute & others

Lisa and Ken Theriot Lnktheriot at satx.rr.com
Sun Jul 13 15:55:17 PDT 2008

Hugh wrote:

[i've considered a more period instrument like a lute but have never
played one.]

Bull, Red Flag, Red Flag, Bull...  A guitar IS a period instrument.  A
modern lute is no more a period instrument than a modern guitar; they
are both versions of an instrument that existed in period but went on
developing such that it's tough to find a period-style model without
making it yourself.  And as always, you need to decide whether it is
important enough to you to be absolutely authentic to bear the
inconvenience of playing, for example, an instrument with friction pegs
and gut strings (rather than machine pegs and nylon strings) which will
be forever going out of tune.  Modern instruments are different often
for good and practical reasons.

[i met a player who tuned his like a guitar-that would be nice,]

Actually, that would be appalling.  There were originally (see
illustrations in the Cantigas de Santa Maria) two types of guitar, one
designed to be plucked and the other designed to be strummed.  The
plucked guitar died out because it was functionally indistinguishable
from a lute.  If you take a lute, tune it like a guitar (a 12-string,
presumably) and strum it, you'll have neither a period instrument nor a
period sound.  A lute should be plucked, a guitar strummed.  If you're
going to try playing a lute, play it like a lute!

[but what about the volume & being able to play a drinking song outside
with a few people singing along.]

Which presumably you are strumming?  You need a guitar.  Lutes were not
(in general) meant to 1) be played outside, 2) play drinking songs, or
3) accompany groups of singers (one or two singers, fine).  The lute
wants to be the star; the guitar is happy to go along for the ride.

[i really don't like metal strings]

Good, because both lutes and guitars in period were strung with gut.
You can still get gut strings, but they go out of tune at the drop of a
hat; nylon is much more stable.

I'll send you some guitar documentation offlist.


More information about the minstrel mailing list