As the lute is the king of instruments so hath it few things that are common with other instruments. Its music and its manner of composing is special to itself[,] and as the human body[,] is like a little microcosm that gathereth and comprehends in itself all that is[,] and all that is fine and rare in music.
You will do well to play in a wainscot room where there is no furniture[;] if you can[,] let not the company exceed the number three or four for the noise of a mouse is a hindrance to that music.
The existence of the repertory in a now archaic and generally unintelligible form of notation has also contributed to its obscurity among musicologists in general.The description of the lute repertory by E. D. Mackerness summarizes the overall misconceptions that still exist:
...its complicated tuning made it difficult to handle, though it was impressive when played by a virtuoso ... The Lute and other fretted instruments ... were in demand for accompanying the voice, and instruction books for them began to appear in the middle of the [sixteenth] century.
This impression is almost entirely false, as lute tuning was far from complicated, even after 1630, and it was relatively easy to make a good instrument sound well, even in the hands of an amateur. If one looks only at the published music for lute, it would be understandable to view it solely as an accompanying instrument, but the vast manuscript resources belie this impression, as do the number of lutenists employed at court,and the generally high esteem in which players were held. Even the tutors that survive are directed towards solo performance, consisting largely of instruction on how to e vocal music for solo lute.
One contributory factor was undoubtedly the system of notation of the music; another may also have been the co-existence of early keyboard instruments. The keyboard eventually became the most important solo instrument in the history of music, and one for which the largest body of solo music for any instrument has been written. While the lute declined and eventually all but died out for various reasons, leaving no successor to maintain our interest in its repertory, the keyboard became elevated to a position of total supremacy--a position from which it is difficult to dislodge it, even as far back as 1600. A partial explanation for this type of dismissal is examined by David Englander, Diana Norman, Rosemary O'Dayand W. R. Owens in their introduction to the series of source-readings: Culture and Belief in Europe 1450-1600, An Anthology of Sources.
... scholarly disciplines have stuck equally rigidly to the accepted canon of 'important' sixteenth-century works; that is to say, to works appreciated for their intrinsic worth and for their discernible influence upon the development of later European culture, not because they were of overwhelming concern to contemporaries.
In the past two decades or so, some changes in the scholarly attitude to the sixteenth century, as to past cultures in general, have become apparent. There is more concern to study the past on its own terms, to try to understand what was important to contemporaries--all contemporaries, high and low, young and old, male and female. Vernacular and popular cultures have become a valid subject for study in all disciplines. Scholars are attempting to discover why contemporaries thought, felt and expressed themselves as they did, and are finding the answer in in-depth study of 'histoire totale', even 'culture totale', as well as of texts and artifacts themselves. There has been a desire to disentangle the many threads of the process of change and to understand its uneven pace and pattern. It is a much more complex society which today's scholar perceives, and it is a much more complex understanding of its changing nature for which the scholar strives.
This ideal has formed the backbone of the present study, since the English lute repertory is one that has been particularly badly neglected when compared with other repertories from this period. Contemporary solo music that survives for keyboard has eclipsed that of the lute in a disproportionate manner. Admittedly the keyboard music of this period became the foundation of an extremely important repertory, but at the time, it was an insignificant instrument when compared with consort groups and the lute. Virtually all of the surviving English music for Virginals is contained in a small group of manuscripts: My Lady Nevells Book, the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and smaller sources such as the Dublin Virginal Manuscript, The MullinerBook and Benjamin Cosyn's Virginal Book.8 Because this music has long been available for playing purposes, the idea took root that the Virginals were the most important in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Nothing could be further from the truth. The repertory for Virginals consists of about 400 pieces of music written principally by four composers: , , and , whereas the lute repertory from the same period in England is more than five times that size, and was the work of at least 150 known composers, and probably considerably more when the vast anonymous corpus is taken into consideration.
Another contributory factor in elevating the importance of the keyboard is seen in household accounts and inventories. Where musical instruments are listed, it is not unusual to find virginals since they are more obviously 'furniture', but lutes are often absent, even when we know that there were lutes in the house.
The preliminary chapters explore the origins of the repertory which was brought to such expressive and technical peaks by composers such as and Johnson, , , , , , and , and discuss the features of its many sources.
In the last ten years, the imbalance in consideration of th elute repertory has been gradually eroded, though the music is still to a great extent only known and played by a very small number of lutenists. The significance of the repertory has been eloquently summarized by Victor :
The surviving reliquiæ of European lute music comprise the largest body of instrumental music composed before 1800, amounting to over 30,000 individual pieces preserved in manuscripts and printed books intended specifically for the lutenist, as well as in books of worship, dance manuals, histories, theoretical works, broadsides, tutors, collections for voice and other instruments, and iconographical sources. The importance of this instrument and its impact on the history of European culture cannot be overemphasized. The first books of instrumental music ever published were the lute books by (1507) and (1508), which were also among the first music books of any kind published by Petrucci. Throughout the Renaissance, the lute was considered to have the closest affinity with the ancient Greek instruments. By the end of the sixteenth century, the lute and chitarrone were considered by musicians and poets as substitutes for the Orphic lyre, as well as a link to antiquity; Marino's dialogue between the lutenist and the nightingale is a story that goes back at least 2000 years. ... In the hands of Francesco da Milano, Alberto da , John , and Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger, the lute produced cathartic effects that were described and chronicled by their respective contemporaries. In the hands of Leonardo, Vincenzo , his son , Mersenne, Huygens and other scientists, the lute was used to perform experiments in tuning and temperament.
It was the lute's shape and its supposed origins in antiquity as the shell of a large tortoise which earned it the Latin designation of Testudo. In Europe and the Baltic a few composers seem to have distinguished themselves particularly, but in England the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries saw a plethora of relatively insignificant composers writing for the lute. Many of these composers are known as little more than names, though a large number of them were employed in the courts of Henry VIII, the Royal Princes and Princesses, and the retinues of Queen and eventually James I (VI) and Charles I.
Needless to say, the notation of the lute repertory will probably ensure its continuing obscurity until it is completely and reliably published in mensural notation, a form familiar to all musicians. Until 1957, the repertory was largely unplayed, and its extent almost unknown when compared to that of Elizabethan and Jacobean virginalists and madrigalists. The thesis of David , 'The Sources of English Lute Music (1540-1620)' written by1955, but only finally registered in 1957, brought the repertory quite suddenly into the open, and by cataloging the sources then known he laid the major part of the groundwork for all subsequent research into the lutenists and sources of that period. Lumsden listed the aspects of the repertory that he intended to examine in his thesis in order to provide a basis for 'future enquirers' to examine more detailed subjects within the field:
the composers concerned with lute music, the kind of music they wrote, the notation they used, the lay-out and general characteristics of their books, the problems of dating both music and sources.
In fact, he was unable to do more than skim the surface of these aspects, and his necessarily cursory glance at his sources did not equip him with adequate information to provide unassailable answers to his own questions. In addition, this type of historical musicology was only in the early stages of evolution in the mid 1950s,and the discipline had yet to develop in accuracy, consistency and approach. To today's musicologist, Lumsden's goals were not satisfactorily reached and so they are still applicable to the present study, though more accurate detail and more trustworthy evidence have been used to reach for the final conclusions than were available in 1955.
The dates given in some manuscripts, though they can apply only to one particular part of the book, have been accepted in all cases as the date of the book as a whole. The few remaining sources which cannot be dated in this way are placed solely by reference to their contents, style and lay-out and, perhaps most important of all, by that indefinable sense of atmosphere or 'scent' sharpened by long familiarity with the music.
Hardly surprisingly, some of the dates, and much of this information, are inaccurate, and inconsistencies that exist in the collections are re-examined here in the light of new information and research techniques. The following study emphasizes the firm evidence provided by the physical properties of the manuscripts, and the identification of the scribes, to assign new, more accurate and defensible dates to these sources and assess the original purpose of their compilation. Many of Lumsden's lists provided scholars with essential raw material, and were repeated, but supplemented by the information that has since come to light, and expanded to embrace other material that is now considered essential.
This is the first study of this group of sources to make a detailed examination of the scribes involved in their compilation, and to search specifically for scribal concordances and draw inferences from these results. The facsimile publications of lute manuscripts in the Boethius Press collection have included notes regarding the identity of the scribes where that was deemed relevant to dating or provenance, and have mentioned scribal concordances in passing if they were known. The importance of this aspect of the sources has not, however, been given the consideration that it probably deserves, and as much as 80% of the scribal concordances discussed here are new. Any discoveries of concordances by other scholars are acknowledged at the point in this study where they are discussed--the most notable being the occurrences of the secondary scribe in Sampson, which were listed by Robert Spencer, but not otherwise discussed--the remainder are unique to this work.
Methods of dating are discussed in Chapters 5 and 6, and scribal concordances are discussed in detail in Chapter 4 and the application of that in the case studies of Chapter 7. The remainder of the text deals with a general discussion of the establishment and development of the English school, chronological context, the types of collections to be found among the sources, the types of music used to build up a collection, and a reference framework into which each source can be placed and understood.
Although the present catalogue covers all music in French tablature, the text of this work is intended as an examination specifically of the English repertory, the bulk of which survives in manuscript form only, although on the continent,prints abound.
The majority of the manuscripts were copied between 1580 and 1615, when lute music was written exclusively in vieil ton. The 'Golden Age' label is attached broadly to the period 1550-1630. Apart from the evolution and brief but prolific work of the lute-song writers, the concept of a Golden Age stems from the apparent maturing of an idiomatic English solo style, synthesized from various continental influences,and resulting in an identifiably insular harmonic flavor, texture and group of genres. Before 1580, the music reflects trends principally garnered from Italian masters, as well as features from intabulations of popular secular and sacred models. Although intabulations continued to appear in the solo repertory after 1580, their importance waned rapidly. Nevertheless, their melodic influence persisted in the now-popular and ubiquitous dance music and in settings of popular songs and ballads, becoming an integral part of the English style. After 1625, influences from abroad, particularly France and the Netherlands, diluted the repertory, and this diversification marked the end of this era. What survives today from the Golden Age is a repertory of about 2100 pieces by some 100 known composers, with possibly as many again who composed only one or two surviving pieces and remain anonymous.
It has been necessary to limit the scope of the present study to music composed specifically for the solo lute, although intabulations which appear in the solo sources are shown in the inventories. Only music in French tablature is examined, omitting the generally unconnected repertories preserved in German and Italian tablatures. German tablature had become largely obsolete by c1600, and much of the later German repertory adopted French tablature.
A large group of manuscripts of English origin have been omitted from this study: the Paston Manuscripts.14 Edward Paston employed a number of professional copyists to compile an unrivaled collection of music manuscripts, among them a group of lute manuscripts written entirely in Italian tablature, and containing only intabulations of vocal music, without any generic solo lute music.
Despite these exclusions, the surviving repertory (listed in the table below) is surprisingly large for one so old. Its bulk makes a good grasp of it in its entirety extremely difficult, but once this obstacle is surmounted the resulting wealth of information is startling, both in its complexity and its scope. Intimate knowledge of every source is impossible, though some sources, particularly where they serve as examples of specific problems or present unusual information, have been examined in closer detail. Statistically, the size of this repertory and the diversity of the sources allows generalizations about it to be made with good evidence to support them, even though what survives can only be a small percentage of the original MS sources, without taking into account the vast amount of lute ephemera. Most of the known to have been produced seems to survive, even if only as unica, as attested by stationers' and publishers' registers. It would be unreasonable to suppose that more keyboard sources were lost or destroyed than lute or consort sources. The consort repertory, though, was probably larger than simply the music written specifically for consort groups, as the lute song publications were undoubtedly also used to provide sets of short consort pieces, many in dance forms or easily adaptable to dance measures.
The Italian seventeenth-century manuscript repertory has been described and catalogued by Victor in his thesis: 'The Manuscript Sources of Seventeenth-Century Italian Lute Music: A Catalogue Raisonné' (1989), and the present study has attempted to be complementary to this work where possible. Coelho's thesis and subsequent work is the most comprehensive exploration of the Italian repertory in the English language, and several relevant passages have been reproduced here. There is no comparable work available concerning the German repertory, though most of the manuscripts have been listed in Pohlmann1971, Boetticher 1978 or Schulze-Kurtz 1990. The English manuscript repertory after the Golden Age, that is from 1630 on, has been described and indexed by Matthew , together with some identification of concordances.
In table2, printed and manuscript sources that comprise the entire corpus of solo lute music in using vieil ton are listed, even where the date of these sources places them outside the scope of the present study. All have been catalogued and considered for the present study (the list is alphabetical, and commonly used names are given in inverted commas): those that can be described specifically as English, dating from 1530-1630, and with which this study is therefore principally concerned, are marked with an asterisk. A number of these sources originated outside Britain, but consideration of their contents is essential to the understanding of the repertory as a whole, and of the English sources in particular.
Some of the manuscripts (such as Board, Herbert and Pickeringe) include additions to the original repertory that originateoutside the chronological limits of this study. In the pastwhere this has been the case, the practice has been to deal only with those pieces which are specifically deemed relevant, with the result that many pieces in Herbert that should have been considered in Lumsden's thesis were not. As much of the present study depends on viewing each of the collections as a whole, the entire solo lute contentsof each manuscript have been included in the catalogue and inventories, even where some of the music clearly falls outside the date-limitsof the repertory, or the tuning limits of vieil ton.
did not attempt to explore the origins of the music, treating it only as a fully-formed repertory. Nor did he attempt to fitit into the picture of social existence that we have for theElizabethan period, or explore the motivation behind the compilation of a lute book, or the clues available to tell us how the instrument was taught, and to whom.
Lumsden cannot be considered at fault for omitting to consider some fundamental questions. Essentially, he was dealing with an entirely unexplored repertory, and there were very few precedents on which he could base his research. In his introduction he states that he had hoped to go much further with his research, but found himself hampered by the lack of basic information. The initial workof locating sources and cataloguing them was far more time-consuming than anyone had suspected, and the thesis was perforce shaped by these considerations. Without his work there would not now be a flourishing lute-playing community, two international journals devoted to lute music, and a fine understanding of the original instrument and playing technique.
Having taken this into account though, most of the work on the English lute repertory to be published in the last 30 years has been limited to a discussion of the work of one particular composer, or one small segment of a vast repertory, such as duet music or the contents of one manuscript. This has been pursued even though the extent of the work of each composer is not really known, due to the Elizabethan practices of not ascribing music to any composer, or of ascribing it arbitrarily to someone well-known to assure its popularity or appeal, or re-ascribing it when the divisions were re-composed. We have now reached a situation where thefoundations of much of this research are beginning to sink under the accumulation of so much detailed study, but we areperhaps now better equipped to re-examine the corpus as a whole and in a new light.
A large part of this study is devoted to the analysis of tablature hands and an exploration of scribal concordances between manuscripts. However, these aspects of the sources are peripheral to their main importance, which is as the repository of a flourishing Elizabethan and Jacobean instrumental repertory. In order to discuss this music in even the most general terms, an understanding of its distribution is essential. David Lumsden, the first scholar to attempt a comprehensive study of the lute repertory, compiled a thematic catalogue that took the first steps towards establishing concordances between sources. Lumsden examinedevery source known at the time, and listed each piece of music on file cards to construct a catalogue with concordances that has been used by scholars and players of the repertory ever since. Since his work in the early 1950s, the microchip revolution has made computersavailable to any scholar involved in data analysis research, making it possible to examine a much larger range of sources with a greater degreeof accuracy.
Obviously, any system has shortcomings, and Lumsden's work has suffered from the passage of time in many ways. Firstly, many new sources have come to light: Lumsden surveyed 45 books; the present study takes into account 68 sources knownto be English and a further 44 which are not specifically English sources, but contain English music. Secondly it hasbecome clear through international exchange and the surge in facsimile productions that it is not sufficient simply to catalogue music in English or British manuscripts; foreign sources must also be taken into account, because of the interchange between musicians and copyists in the period under discussion, and later sections of the manuscripts on Lumsden's list must also be considered. Thirdly, file card systems inevitably rely on memory and human fallibility, and subsequent use of his catalogue has thrown up numerous errors and omissions.
|Sources with previous concordance studies used by the author in preparation of Appendices 1 & 2|
2764(2) (RS unpublished)
408/2 (JW 1968)
41492 (identified SM)
4900 (JW 1992)
Ballet (JW 1968)
Board (RS 1976)
Brogyntyn (RS/JA 1978)
Dallis (JW and others 1967)
Dd.2.11 (JR unpublished)
Herbert (MS 1987 partial)
Hirsch (RS 1982)
Lodge (JW 1992)
Marsh (JW 1969, RS 1981)
ML (RS 1985)
Mynshall (RS 1975|
Och1280 (RS unpublished)
Osborn (JW 1992)
Pickeringe (RS 1985)
RA58 (JW 1992)
Sampson (RS 1974)
Stowe389 (JW 1992)
Thistlethwaite (JW 1992)
Trumbull (RS 1980)
Vilnius (JW/AN 1989)
Welde (RS unpublished)
Wemyss (MS 1987)
Willoughby (RS 1978, JW 1992)
- Arthur Ness; JA - Jeffrey Alexander; JR - John Robinson; JW - John Ward; MS -
Matthew Spring; RS - Robert Spencer; SM - Stewart McCoy; VC - Victor Coelho
Sources lacking previous concordance studies
Le Roy 1568
Le Roy 1574
Thus, the new catalogue embraces all music, English or not, written for the lute in French tablature using vieil ton or 'Renaissance-G' tuning. This amounts to approximately 8000 pieces of music, as opposed to the 1600 covered by Lumsden. Inevitably, when writing in a period of political or cultural upheaval, the constant emergence of new sources has made it impossible to present the catalogue in a 'finished' form, though the appendices presented here contain as much detail as is available at the time of writing. tended to scatter information through his thesis in numerous lists or discussions of the same material under various headings, and this approach has been rationalized--although inevitably a complete picture of any single source cannot be wholly obtained through reading the entry regarding it in Appendix 1, as its context within the repertory as a whole is not discussed there.
Any previous concordance work on any source was included in the database to ensure the most complete final output possible. The lists given here indicate which of the concordances lists produced as Appendices 1 and 2 are entirely new, and which contribute only partially new information. The result of bringing all these sources together at one time has meant that even pre-existing concordance lists have been expanded on average by about 50%. The limitations of time, the parameters of this study and the method by which concordances were searched, has meant that contemporary keyboard and viol consort sources have not been included in the database of incipits. This will undoubtedly be the next stage of groundwork in establishing a comprehensive picture of instrumental music during this period.
Concordances with the following sources, from later periods or in other tablatures or tunings, were supplied by concordance studies or isolated notes to personal copies:
|Adriansen 1600 (RS)
Bakfark 1553 (RS)
Balcarres (MS 1987)
Bataille 1609 (RS)
Bataille 1611 (RS)
Bataille 1613 (RS)
Bataille 1615 (RS)
Como (VC 1989)
Danzig (RS, VC 1989)
de Bellis (VC 1989)
Dusiacki (VC 1989)
Galilei 1584 (VC 1989)
Galilei 1620 (RS 1988)
Hainhofer III and IV (RS)
Kremsmunster (RS, VC 1989)
Naples (VC 1989)
|Newberry (VC 1989)|
Newsidler 1566 (RS)
Newsidler 1574 (RS)
Nörmiger 1598 (RS)
Panmure5 (MS 1987)
Phalèse 1571 (RS)
Philidor I and II (RS)
Piccinini 1623 (VC 1989)
Piccinini 1639 (RS)
Praetorius 1612 (RS)
Rosseter 1609 (RS)
Ruden 1600 I & II (RS)
Skene (RS, MS 1987)
Thynne (MS 1987)
Turin (VC 1989)
Vienna17706 (VC 1989)
Werl (RS 1990)
-Matthew Spring; RS - Robert Spencer; VC - Victor Coelho
 Burwell, f.68v. (Facsimile Spencer 1974A) In the private collection of Robert Spencer, Woodford Green, Essex, England. Spelling, punctuation and capitalization are standardized. Commas are only added to the original text where essential, as their placing can alter the intended meaning. Those that have been added are enclosed in square brackets to differentiate from original punctuation.
 Burwell 42v.
 E. D. Mackerness: A Social History of English Music (London,1964), 63.
 See Chapter 1.
 See Le Roy 1574.
 Introduction, pages x-xi.
 My Ladye Nevells Book is privately owned; the Fitzwilliam Virginal book : GB-Cfm Ms.32.g.29, is the largest surviving keyboard source from the period.
8 EIRE-Dm 410/2, GB-Lbl Add.30513 and GB-Lbl R.M.23.L.4 respectively.
 Coelho 1989.
 Lumsden 1957A, i-ii.
 Lumsden 1957A, 33.
 Almost all of the introductoryinformation for these publications has been provided by Robert Spencer, and he isthe only editor to have listed scribal concordances as a matter of course.
 See discussion in Chapter 1.
14 Originally St Michael's College, Tenbury, now Bodleian Library, Oxford.
 SeePhilip Brett: `Edward Paston' Transactionsof the Cambridge Bibliographical Society iv (1968-9), 51. An Oxford DPhil dissertation by Francis Knights: 'The Paston Manuscripts' was, unfortunately, abandoned.
 Such as John Dowland, 'Frog Galliard' from Dowland 1597.
 Spring 1987A.
 See discussion in Chapter 7 for information regarding the date of this source.
 See Lumsden 1957A and Spring 1987A.
 Richard Newton: 'The Lute Music of Francis Pilkington' LSJ i (1959); David Scott: 'John Danyel: His Life and Songs' LSJ xiii (1971).
 Richard Newton: 'English Duets for Two Lutes' LSJ i (1959) and Lyle E. Nordstrom: 'The English Lute Duet and Consort Lesson' LSJ xviii (1976).
 In general these are detailed works, but they rely heavily on Lumsden's work, and thus have clear limitations. Apart from a number of publications in the Journal of the Lute Society (listed in the bibliography)the facsimile editions of a large number of the manuscripts also include an introductory study detailing research into the provenance of the manuscript, but again relying heavily on Lumsden for theexistence and location of concordances.