Lutenists and Lute Music
Fronimo: Dialogo sopra l'arte del bene intauolare, et rettamente sonare la musica negli strumenti artificiali si di corde come di fiato, & in particulare nel liuto
(Venice: Scotto, 1584)
Vincenzo Galilei (late 1520s–1591) is best known as an influential music theorist and as the father of the pioneering scientist Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), who made numerous discoveries in astronomy and physics. He was also a lute player, composer, and singer. In 1568 he published a lute treatise, Fronimo, and in 1584 he produced a second edition, which we see here. In addition to its instructional material, it contains numerous pieces arranged for lute. Our copy is bound together with Galilei’s most famous book, the Dialogo della musica antica e moderna.
Lachrimae: Or, Seaven Teares Figured in Seaven Passionate Pavans
(London: Windet, )
John Dowland (1563–1626) was the foremost English lute composer of his era. He composed numerous solo lute works as well as four books of songs with lute accompaniment. Lachrimae: Or Seaven Teares is composed for an ensemble of viols as well as lute. It is printed in choirbook format: that is, the musicians read from it while sitting around a table, each viewing their part from a different angle.
Dowland’s most famous composition, Lachrimae, originated as a pavane for solo lute. In his Second Booke of Songs or Ayres (1600), he added words, turning it into “Flow My Tears,” a song for voice and lute. Lachrimae: Or Seaven Teares (1604) begins with a straightforward arrangement for viols and lute of the same piece, now called “Lachrimae Antiquae,” and then follows with a series of variations, bearing titles such as “Lachrimae Tristes” and “Lachrimae Verae.”
Lacrimae is a Music Library holding that is now on deposit at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. We are grateful to E.C. Schroeder, Rebecca Hatcher, and Moira Fitzgerald (all of Beinecke) and Paula Zyats (Conservation) for their help.
Instruccion de musica sobre la guitarra española
(Zaragoza: Heredos de Diego Domer, 1674)
Gaspar Sanz was a guitarist and priest, and he wrote on both musical and religious topics. Active in Spain in the late 17th and early 18th centuries (his birth and death dates are not known), Sanz is best known for his important guitar treatise Instruccion de musica sobre la guitarra española. The Gilmore Library has the original 1674 edition (displayed here) as well as two copies of the 1697 edition.
Adam Falckenhagen (1697–1754), or Adamo Falkenhagen, as he is styled here, was a German lutenist and composer. A student of the renowned Silvius Leopold Weiss, Falkenhagen composed for lute in an era when that instrument was beginning to go out of fashion.
This engraving is one of three items on display from the Guitar Iconography Collection, which comprises four boxes of images of lutes, guitars, and banjos, as well as the musicians who played them, ranging from baroque engravings to sheet music covers and magazine illustrations from the 19th and 20th centuries.