A Brief Introduction to the Lute 'Now divine aire, now is his soule ravisht, is it not strange that sheepes guts should hale soules out of mens bodies?' —William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing. Shakespeare was only one of many writers of his day who attributed to the lute the power to transport the listener into a kind of ecstasy; for throughout the Renaissance the lute's ravishing tone made it the most esteemed and admired of all musical instruments. The fame of the greatest players spread through all Europe, and the doors of royal courts and palaces were open to them (a number were consequently employed as spies) while instruments by the most famous makers could fetch astronomical sums. The origins of the lute, however, lay outside Europe. The lute derives its name, as well as its distinctive shape, from the Arabic 'ud, an instrument which is vey much at the heart of Arabic musical life to this day. 'Al 'ud' means 'the wooden one', a name perhaps coined to distinguish the 'ud from instruments made from gourds or with parchment soundboards. It came to Europe in the Middle Ages, perhaps brought back from the Crusades, or via Moorish Spain, or Sicily, where the thirteenth century King Manfred von Hohenstaufen was a keen player. Throughout the Mediaeval period the lute, which then had only five 'courses' or pairs of strings, was played with a quill plectrum—again like the 'ud. Playing with a plectrum limits the kind of solo music that can be performed, and so the lute was often played in consort with other instruments, perhaps improvising over a drone or ground, playing dance tunes, or being used to accompany song. The lute really came into its own in the late fifteenth century when it was realised that it could be played with fingertips instead of a quill. This meant that music properly composed in parts could now be played on the instrument. With the addition of a sixth (bass) course, the development of a more elegant, elongated body shape, and the invention of a system of tablature for notating its music, the lute attained a new classical perfection, and the stage was set for a musical craze that was to last over 150 years.
Cincinnati Early Music The Skakespeare Band specializes in early music performed on historically accurate instruments -- especially the Renaissance Lute, giving our audiences a chance to not only listen to but to also see instruments they might only have seen in videos and photography. We are also happy to explain them as people are often curious. Our performances are well suited to Museums, libraries, churches, schools feasts, events, entertainment,and private homes. We are from Cincinnati and are happy to travel to your area. Unique Early Chamber music in Cincinnati. Renassaince music group in Cincinnati
Early Music in Cincinnati. The Shakespeare band specializes in Music from Shakespeare's plays and music of the English Renaissance England. We are an Early music group based in Cincinnati, Ohio. we perform at Concerts series, Museums, universities, Libraries, Schools, churches and the occasional tavern and we will travel to your location!
Cincinnati lute players and renaissance England chamber music