The 10-course lute represents the pinnacle of development of the single-pegbox instrument of the very late Renaissance and early Baroque. It seems to have been employed primarily by the French, Dutch, English and other northern Europeans, while Italians generally preferred the theorbo during that period, and in the Iberian peninsula the harp and keyboard instruments generally filled the role taken elsewhere by the lute. Click on the picture to view a larger version.
The most common tuning scheme for the 10-course lute is shown below. The first course is normally single, but all the rest are double. The second, third and fourth courses are tuned in unison. The fifth is usually unison, but some sources recommend that it be tuned in octaves. The sixth and lower courses are tuned with one string an octave above the other. The eighth course may be tuned to E or E-flat, depending on the tonality of the piece being played. A number of other tuning schemes were employed for the 10-course lute during the seventeenth century, particularly by the French.