Music Outfitters, Inc.

Music Outfitters, Inc.
134 N. 1st Ave E, Ely, MN 55731
(218) 248-6988



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Lutes

Lutes are stringed instruments played by plucking with the fingers. Their oblong, rounded and pear-shaped body have a flat soundboard on which the strings are attached to a fretted neck. Normally, the lute has five sets of double strings plus a single, longer highest string. Other types of lutes include the small mandora and a bass lute, pandora, and the very largest lutes, the chitarrone and the Theorbo.

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. Lutes 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 Medieval period lutes, which then had only five 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, playing dance tunes, and being used to accompany song.

Lutes really came into their own in the late fifteenth century when it was realized that they 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. At the end of the sixteenth century experiments and innovations began to be made. A seventh pair of bass strings was added, then an eighth, then a ninth, eventually getting up to fourteen pairs; the intention being partly to increase the range of the instrument, partly to be able to play in a low register when accompanying male singers. By the end of the seventeenth century though, the days of the lute were clearly numbered.

Lutes and their repertoire were never quite forgotten, and from the end of the nineteenth century a revival began. The lute is rich not only in repertoire but in symbolism. Its refined sound has given it courtly associations in East and West. For Arabs, the lute was amir al - 'alat, the sultan of instruments. In the hands of angels it symbolized the beauties of heaven; it was further used as a symbol of harmony, while a lute with a broken string (as in Holbein's famous painting 'The Ambassadors') stood for discord. From ancient times it has symbolised youth and love. What could be more romantic than a man singing to the lute outside a lady's window? Conversely, it could be an emblem of lust or lasciviousness: in the hands of an older man it symbolized scandal and degeneracy. If the lute's sensuous and delicate tones evoked the pleasures of love, the fleeting nature of its sound, and the physical fragility of the instrument made it a fitting emblem of transience and death. It is often included, sometimes alongside a skull, in Dutch still life paintings of the Vanitas variety, illustrating the vanity of worldly existence.

Page 1 of 2. Check out our Lute accessories, too.

SPECIAL NOTE - No Warranty on Strings: Whether you purchase an instrument on-line or in a neighborhood store, manufacturers recommend that you change the strings on your instrument as soon as you receive it. Your instrument has completed a long journey to your home. During this time the strings WILL oxidize and this may shorten their life expectancy and may reduce their sound quality. On occasion instruments may arrive with a broken string, therefore, it is recommended that you purchase a replacement set of strings and consider changing your strings as soon as it arrives. Learning to change strings should be the first lesson learned when embarking on the journey of playing a new instrument. See our lute string sets page for strings.

Roosebeck 7-Course Travel Lute ( LTT7R ) Roosebeck 7-Course Travel Lute
The sheesham travel lute has a body made of eleven solid sheesham staves, a sheesham neck and sheesham fingerboard. The peg box is solid sheesham attached at an angle of 135 degrees to reduce the depth of the instrument. The tuning pegs and end pin are sheesham. The soundboard is made out of European spruce. There are eight nylon frets and four sheesham frets. The recommended tuning is G2 G3 A2 A3 D3 D4 G3 G3 B3 B3 E4 E4 A4 (Gg Aa dd' gg bb e'e' a'). A nylon gig bag is included. Made in Pakistan.
Only:
$520.00
Qty:
Roosebeck Descant Lute, 7-Course, Lacewood ( LTD7L ) Roosebeck Descant Lute, 7-Course, Lacewood
Our Descant Lute is a beautiful short necked lute that has a bowl back of lacewood staves. There are eight tied nylon frets on a lacewood neck that features a rosewood fret board. The peg box is lacewood with tuners of rosewood. The soundboard is made of European spruce with a rosewood bridge and rosewood end pin. It has 13 nylon strings in 7 courses with a scale length of 19.75" (500mm). Made in Pakistan.
Only:
$610.00
Qty:
Roosebeck Lute-Guitar, 6 String, Lacewood, Taylor ( GLCZT ) Roosebeck Lute-Guitar, 6 String, Lacewood, Taylor
The lute-guitar is an attractive instrument of a similar size to the guitar but with a body like a lute. With a neck shaped like that of a guitar and a 51mm (2 inch) nut of ebony, it will appeal to those who are familiar with normal classical or acoustic guitars. It is tuned like a guitar with six strings, three of plain nylon and three of nylon wound in nickel. If used for lute music, the 3rd string may be tuned a semi-tone down to F# to enable the application of lute fingering. Spruce is used for the unpolished soundboard in keeping with original lutes and its soundhole has a carved rose in an attractive geometric pattern. In keeping with the lute, the characteristically bowl-shaped body is achieved by edge-gluing together slats of thin wood bent to a specific shape with no internal structure to retain its form. The overall length is 953 mm (37.5 inches) and the scale length is 648 mm (25.5 Inches), similar to a normal guitar. A hard case is included with this instrument. Made in Pakistan.
Only:
$665.00
Qty:
Roosebeck Lute-Guitar, Rosewood, Gears, Double, Flame ( GDNRGF ) Roosebeck Lute-Guitar, Rosewood, Gears, Double, Flame
The double bowl guitar is an attractive and lightweight instrument of a similar size and scale to a standard classical guitar but with a body like a lute, with a twist. The double bowl-shaped body is achieved by edge-gluing together staves of uniformly thin hardwoods bent to a specific shape with no heavy internal bracing to retain its form. The bowl is made of sheesham rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo) that affords a warm, mellow tone. Made in Pakistan.
Only:
$665.00
Qty:

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Ethnic Musical Instruments