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Varietie of Lute-lessons: viz. Fantasies, Pavins, Galliards, Almaines, Corantoes, and Volts: Selected out of the best approued AUTHORS as well as beyond the Seas as of our owne Country. by Robert Doland. Whereunto is annexed certaine Observations belonging to LVTE-playing: By Iohn Baptisto Besardo of Visonti. Also a short Treatise therunto appertayning: by em Iohn Douland Batcheler of M U S I C K E. London: Printed for Thomas Adams, 1610.

segment from Besardo

For the vse of the right hand.

First,let your little finger on the belly of the Lvte, not towards the Rose,but a little lower,stretch out your Thombe with all the force you can, especially if thy Thombe be short,so that the other fingers may be carryed in a manner of a fist, and let the Thombe be held higher then them, this in the beginning will be hard.Yet they which haue a short Thombe may imitate those which strike the strings with the Thombe vnder the other fingers,which though it be nothing so elegant, yet to them it will be more easie. Now choosing one of these kinds,learne first to strike the strings more hard and cleare,whether they be one or more that are to be stricken: and that you may strike them with the right fingers, marke whether one string or more strings then one are to be stricken: if more then one, keepe this rule, let two strings which stand close together be stroken with the Thombe and fore fingers: if two strings be distant one from another so that there be one or two strings betwixt them, strike them with the Thombe and middle finger: stike also three strings,with the Thombe, the fore-finger and middle finger :foure strings with all the other fingers (excepting the little finger,) if more be to be stroken (as oft there be) keeping the same order with your fingers, let the Thombe and the fore-finger stike each of them two strings if so many be to be stroken.

To know how to strike single strings, being found amongst full stops.

Now that you may know with which finger you must strike those notes which are found alone without the Griffes,examine diligentlie the measure that each hath to it allotted,and if a letter be set immediatlie after any Griffe, which letter is of the same measure with the Griffe,then when you have played that Griffe,you must needes begin the Note following with your fore-finger at all times,and afterwards vse the Thombe if you meet a third note, and so goe forwards by degrees,keeping such order with the Thombe and fore-finger, so that as long as you play in the measure you begin nothing with the thombe twise together,nor follow with the fore-finger twise together, till you come to a letter or Griffe where the measure chaunges; which letter (if it were alone) must needes be stroke with the Thombe at all times.But if after the griffe you find a Note with hath ouer it any change of time, then having played that Griffe,begin the Note following with the Thombe, staying a while vpon the said Griffe or Note going before, as the nature of the time shall require. Yet failes that rule when the time going before hath a pricke put to it : for then it must be precisely obserued, that after (which hath a pricke adioyned) the Note following though it be measured with a new measure,must be strooke with the fore-finger, and the other notes with the thombe and fore-finger,one after another. Yet is ther an exception in this exception: for when you finde a Griffe measured with a pricke,as for example [1.] and there may follow it many Notes,the first whereof is [3],or if you meet with such a one [2.] and after is such a one [4], although the measure with a pricke doe go before, yet must that which follows,contrarie to this rule,begin with the Thombe. For example of this Rule and other things which I have formerly propounded, let this suffice : for the better vnderstanding whereof, note that the letters which you shall finde without a pricke added to them,

Wherefore the numbers before the letters scrueth???

must be stroke with the right hand Thombe :those which have a pricke set by them or vnder them,with the fore-finger, the other numberss doe shew the application of other letters played together: the number of 2.signifieth the middle finger : the number of 3.the next finger.
The Example of the first Rule.

 ________________________c_1___c_2___c_2___a_ ___a_ __________________________
 ________________________d_3___d_4___d_4___a_ ___a_ __________________________
 ____________________________________________ ___c_1__________________________
 ____________________________________________ ___a_ __________________________

Example of the second Rule.
 ___a_ _________________________a_ ___||
 _____ ___________________________ ___||
Example of the third Rule.

    3     3           1  
 ___a_ ___c_d_f_d_c_a_c_2_____
 _____ _________________ ___||
 ___a_ _________________ ___||
 _____ _________________ ___||
Example of the Fourth Rule
    2.   3        2
 ___c_ ___________c_ __||

An example of an exception from the fourth Rule.
___________c_2___a___c___d_3___a_ _______a___c_2_____
___________d_4_______.___a_ ___c_2___d___.___d_4___||
___________d_3_____________ ___d_3___________d_3___||
_____________ ___________c_2_____ _____________ ___||
_____________ _____________ ___a_ _____________ ___||
_______________________________________________ ___||
          _a_                               _a_

Of playing with the two fingers.

These things being well obserued, know that the two first fingers may be vsed in Diminutions very well insteed of the Thombe and the fore-finger,if they be placed with some Bases,so that the middle finger be in place of the Thombe,which Thombe whilst it is occupied in striking at least the Bases, both the hands will be graced,and that vnmanly motion of the Arme (which many cannot so well auoide) shall be shunned. But if with the said Diminutions there ne not set Bases which are to be stopped,I will not counsel you to vse the two first fingers,but rather the Thombe and the fore-finger: neither will I wish you to vse the two fore-fingers,if you be to proceede (that is to runne) into the fourth,fift or sixt string with the Diminutions set also with some parts.

A good Note.

Besides you shall know that low letters placed in the Bases,from the fourth Chorus to the ninth,if they be noted with this time [2] may be more fitly,nay must be all strooke with the Thombe,and most commonly so they are stroken,although this time [3] be put to them, as you shall more easily see in the example following:
                1  2     1  2         1     3              1
 ___________________________d_4_______a_ _____ ______________ ____
 ___________________________b_1_______b_1_____ ____________a_ ___|
 ___________________________b_1_______d_3___b_1____________a_ ___|
 __________________a__c__e__   _________ ___c_2____________b_1___|
 _______________c___________d_3___c___a_ _____ _________a__c_2___|
 _____________________________ _________ ___a_ ___c__d_______ ___|

I could with you take as much paines in marking the Measures,as in the other former rules,especially if you are a beginner be not too hastie in handling the {\sc Lvte}, for I dare promise you fathfully and without deceit, that nothing is more fit to second this businesse than patience in the beginning : for nothing can be gotten in an instant,and you must not thinke to play your lessons perfectly at first sight,for that is impossible. Wherefore take no other care but onely to strike all the Griffes and Notes that are in the middle betwixt them well and plainely,though slowly : for within a while,whether you will or no,you will get a habit of swiftnesse. Neither can you get that cleere expressing of Notes, vnlesse you doe vse your selfe to that in the beginnning:which cleane deliuery euery man that favours Musicke, doth farre preferre before all the swiftneese and vnreasonable noyse that can be. This more I will tell you, you must be carefull when you beginne to learne to carry your body comely, and the right hand stedely. Some there be that binde their right hand with a napkin or girdle while they play upon the {\sc Lute}, that they may seeme to move nothing but their fingers \& ioynts,which you must vse so that in running they may seeme scarcely to be moued: in like sort you must vse the Thombe and the fore-fnger.

typed by Peter Dickof, <pdickof@eagle.wbm.ca> Sat, 09 Sep 1995 10:29:08 -0600