From: "Stephan Olbertz" 
Subject: Re: German "lute/guitar"
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 00:12:44 +0200

----- Original Message -----
From: "Hank Heijink" 
To: "Sal Salvaggio" ; "Lute Mailing List"

> The German lute/guitar is in all respects a normal guitar, tuned like
> it and played like it. In the German Romantic music, the lute had a
> much higher standing than the guitar and represented the romantic
> yearning for nature, simplicity, etc. The romantic image of the lute
> fitted better than the guitar's image.
> However, to bring the lute back was not an option: too difficult, too
> impractical. Nobody could play the lute, but everybody could play the
> guitar, so they simply made a lute-shaped guitar, which they referred
> to as 'laute' (lute).
> As far as I know, the Germans are the only ones to make such an
> instrument, but I don't think the lute/guitars are used in folk music
> more frequently than normal guitars.


could it be that this instrument was a reanimation rather than an invention
of the "Wandervogelbewegung"? What about the single strung mandora in that
guitarlike tuning, which at least at the beginning of the 19th century was
still known and even played (see Pietro Prosser's lute-bot article or his
thesis). The only differences I can see so far are the metalfrets and the
guitar machine head - well, exept for that "jugendstil-styling". Richard
Wagner wanted to use a "Laute" in a guitartuning in his opera "Die
Meistersinger von Nürnberg" (1861-67). It was replaced later with an
invention of Wagner, the so called "Stahlharfe" (don't ask). Oskar
Chilesotti played a "guitarlute" in Italy as early as 1889, according to MO
( Any comments?