"Study of the Lute" by Ernst Gottlieb Baron

1727, from the translation by Douglas Alton Smith,
Instrumenta Antiqua publications, 1976
Used by permission

page 121
With respect to posture of the body as well as of the hands, it is necessary to sit somewhat towards the lef and press toe instrument to the beast with the right hand. The thumb of the left hand and little finger of the right contribute the most to securing thelute. For with the thumb, the lute is pressed forward onto the table; the right little finger must be places by the chanterelle or thinnest string behind the bridge where it is slightly curved, and the lute rests somewhat on the right thigh. The thumb of the left hand must always be held in the middle of the back of the neck, so the player will not touch the upper strings with his fingers, which must not rest on the edge of the neck but must be held away from it. The hand is curved and the arm held well away from the body. The fingers are suspended seperated over the fingerboard so that they do not accidentally touch the strings. The right or lower hand, as I will call it, must also be arched and the fingers held curved and apart, because they are hindered in motion if held close together. The thumb must always remain outstretched so that is can easily reach the basses.

As to the question of where to strike the strings of the lute so that the tone will be powerfull enough, it will serve to know that this must be in the center or the space between the rose and the bridge, for there the contact will have the greatest effect. The further toward the fingerboard the strings are struck with the right hand, the softer and weaker will be the tone - it will lose power, so to speak. However the player can certainly also move back and forth, once he has the necessary skill, when he wishes to change [ the tone ] and express something. Those still in the beginning stages will notbe able to do this, for such varaition demands considerable asurance.

(Typed by Wayne Cripps)