13-course lute

13-course lute after Duiffopruchar 1600’s, renovated by Edlinger middle 18th century, by Robert Lundberg 1978
– used for Prelude and Capriccio, Suonata in D minor by Weiss and Tombeau for Glenn Gould by Titmuss

EMS_LUTE - 09_sm EMS_LUTE - 10_sm EMS_LUTE - 11_sm

Here is another case of an instrument that started life in one form and was later modified to suit another period, with a different neck, pegbox, stringing and tuning, keeping only the body and soundboard. Such renovations of older period lutes was common, since the mystique of the past and the reputations of the famous Italo-German instrument makers caused them to fetch very high prices among connoisseurs. Edlinger of Prague (among others) specialized in such conversions, creating new lutes from old, and making a fortune from them. Occasionally he made outright fakes.

This model of lute began life in the Venetian Tieffenbrucker (Italianized to ‘Duiffopruchar’ on some labels) workshop as a bass lute tuned in D, with a triple gothic tracery rose. Its top was removed, thinned and re-barred, and a new neck and pegbox in the post 1730’s style were added. This lute was designed for the essentially homophonic style of Hagen, Falckenhagen, Kropfganss and others of the post-Weiss generation, the last great efflorescence of the lute music of the 18th century. Unlike the theorbo-lute, there is little problem with excess bass resonance.

Its very flat back, fewer ribs and large sounboard make it ideal for the music of the later generation, but it suits the music of Weiss very well, giving the bass a great clarity of report against a glassy treble. Because the volume of air in the body is not too great in comparison to the soundboard area, it has some advantages over the deep-bodied Hofmann lutes (see the notes for those models) in giving the player smoothness of registration, a sustaining but clear bass, and definition in the middle register where most of the music takes place. Because of the width of the body, the string band can be more spaced out, resulting in greater ergonomic advantages for the right hand.

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