top of page

About Lutes

A bit on its history...

The lute has its roots in the Middle-East. The instrument called oud traveled through the Silk Road all the way from Persia to Asia and became an instrument called pipa in China and biwa in Japan. The oud also traveled to Europe and became the lute.

A bit on its history...
silk-road-routes.jpg

It is said that the lute was well accepted in Europe because of its ease in creating dynamics, playing both harmonies and melodies, and singing along to. All of these qualities made the instrument perfectly suitable for expressing one’s emotions. 


As one of the instruments with the longest histories, lute music enjoyed the peak of its popularity between the 15th and 18th centuries. Over 25,000 solo pieces are estimated to be surviving from the Renaissance era alone, and even more from the Baroque era.

capirolaunicornpage.png

Photo: A page from one of the most known lute book, ”Capirola Lute Manuscript” c.1517

The lute was used in various situations throughout history: in royal courts, in theaters, and domestically. Many famous people played the lute; Queen Elizabeth the First played and danced to the lute every morning. Galileo Galilei came from a family of lutenists and was a skilled lute player and composer himself (although he became famous for something else!). Leonardo da Vinci, Martin Luther, William Sheakespear, Louis XIV the Sun King… even the current famous pop star, Sting, all play the lute, and the list goes on!

Queen-Elizabeth-playing-the-lute.jpg

Queen Elizabeth the 1st playing the lute: a miniature by Nicholas Hilliard (c. 1580). Gloucestershire, Berkeley Castle. 

Different type of lutes

Different types of lutes

Lutes are stringed in pairs called “courses” (similar to how mandolins are strung).  There are many different kinds of lutes. Medieval lutes have 5 courses. Renaissance lutes can have between 6 and 10 courses and come in soprano, alto, tenor, or bass sizes. In the Baroque era lutes get larger and have more strings. They can have up to 19 courses and be longer than 2 meters! 

kids lute back.jpg

In the 21st century

 

Today, lute music is having its second peak in history. Interest in the lute and its education for children has particularly grown in the past decades across European countries. France is the most prominent and leading among them. Many types and sizes of lutes are available, and there are a variety of musical styles to enjoy them: medieval, renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, and why not? - pop music. Lessons will be given by both modern and historical lute tutors and include learning various types of songs, tunes, duets, trios, and consort music for all ages and levels. There are endless possibilities to collaborate with other instruments as well.

Click to get a glimpse of different lute music >>>YouTube playlist 

In the 21st century
bottom of page