10-course lute after Raillich

10-course lute after Raillich 1640’s by BC luthier Clive Titmuss, built 1987
$5,500 CAD
$4,100 USD


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61.5 cm string length;  Amazon rosewood back, neck and pegbox veneer; 100-year old German spruce soundboard; boxwood pegs; pear bridge; maple purfling; neck veneered in the same style as the back; wide string spacing.. Built in the Venetian Mannerist style, with lengthened neck and flattened body, this instrument is perfect for Kapsberger and the transitional tunings of Dufaut and Mezangeau. This is a mature and set-up instrument, constantly improved by years of playing, in excellent condition. Comes with a heavy-duty case.

Following trends in architecture, painting and interiors, the lute makers of Venice and Padua in the first half of the the 17th C. re-cast the lute as a luxury decorative object, as much as a musical instrument, changing from native materials to imported rosewood. The prevailing aesthetic changed its shape, increasing the number of ribs, making the neck shorter than lutes of the previous generation, and flattening the body extremely. This experimentation in shape was a reflection of the direction taken by music itself.

The performance of vocal music gained priority, and theatrical rhetoric and declamation, popular poetic forms, changed the style of music. Instruments that had been used only outdoors came inside, and the music of the lute was dominated by a cult of amateur players. German influence in composition, seen in the work of Kapsberger and Galilei, gave new life to the lute, as noble patrons found it attractive to employ a lutenist, and many court-employed lute players produced fine books of lute music until the end of the century.

The lute became a portrait painter’s dream, and many pictures attest to the widespread playing of lutes that look just like this Raillich, including two pictures by Vermeer from around the middle of the century. Experiments in tuning at this time, mainly in France, swirled around the lute world, as the (restored) original of this instrument in Nuremburg is now seen with eleven courses, renovated at a later date by adding a chantarelle rider for the top string, making the second course single (thus simplifying ornaments), and adding a new bridge with two added holes. It is the prototype of nearly a century of 11-course lutes that followed, making it an important early form of the genre.


All instruments built by Clive Titmuss come with custom-fitted cases.
Prices do not include shipping and insurance.


If you have any questions about the instruments, please contact me.

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