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Thread: Beginner- Lute

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    Default Beginner- Lute

    Hello! My boyfriend expressed an interest in learning to play renaissance music on the lute. His birthday is coming up so I have been doing some research. Most lutes I’ve seen are way over my budget. I stumbled upon a baglama and I’m wondering if it can be used to create the type of music he is hoping to play. I don’t know much about it yet. Anyone have experience with renaissance music and different types of lutes? Any information would be helpful. Thank you in advance!

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    well, I've performed a lot of lute music on a classical guitar. but what makes the classic sound of a lute is the double courses of strings.

    and you're right that actual lutes that play pretty well are very expensive

    the way I see it, you can either get a student model classical guitar and play renaissance music on that, or look at other stringed instruments with double courses of strings that you might be able to afford

    you may want to consider things like 12 string guitar, a mandolin, an octave mandolin (this is worth a look because they are about the same scale as a guitar) and then there are things like citterns with 5 courses of strings

    your baglama has only 3 courses of strings, so it is primarily a melodic instrument

    with the mandolin family you can play anything written for violin pretty directly and with a guitar you can play music written for lute

    but if you want to get him something that looks kinda unique and with double courses of strings to plunk around on, then the baglama could work. Just be careful with one of the "Mid-East" brand of cheap ones that are all over EBay. not only will it not play worth a flip, but you'll spend half your time tuning and the other half playing out of tune

    good luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post
    well, I've performed a lot of lute music on a classical guitar. but what makes the classic sound of a lute is the double courses of strings.

    and you're right that actual lutes that play pretty well are very expensive

    the way I see it, you can either get a student model classical guitar and play renaissance music on that, or look at other stringed instruments with double courses of strings that you might be able to afford

    you may want to consider things like 12 string guitar, a mandolin, an octave mandolin (this is worth a look because they are about the same scale as a guitar) and then there are things like citterns with 5 courses of strings

    your baglama has only 3 courses of strings, so it is primarily a melodic instrument

    with the mandolin family you can play anything written for violin pretty directly and with a guitar you can play music written for lute

    but if you want to get him something that looks kinda unique and with double courses of strings to plunk around on, then the baglama could work. Just be careful with one of the "Mid-East" brand of cheap ones that are all over EBay. not only will it not play worth a flip, but you'll spend half your time tuning and the other half playing out of tune

    good luck
    Thank you so much!!!

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    Thank you so much!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stapoler View Post
    Hello! My boyfriend expressed an interest in learning to play renaissance music on the lute. His birthday is coming up so I have been doing some research. Most lutes I’ve seen are way over my budget. I stumbled upon a baglama and I’m wondering if it can be used to create the type of music he is hoping to play. I don’t know much about it yet. Anyone have experience with renaissance music and different types of lutes? Any information would be helpful. Thank you in advance!
    I have to ask a couple of questions: Does your boyfriend already play classical guitar? If he does, he can play renaissance music on it. If he doesn't, then a jump to a multiple string plucked instrument might be difficult.

    How strong is his love of Renaissance music? How strong is his love for the particular sound of the lute? It is a beautiful, but limited sound.

    If he is specifically interested in Renaissance music he needs nothing larger than an 11 course lute. The cheapest you can find a 7 to 11 course student lute would be about $600 USD. That's a big investment to make unless one is committed.

    Also, does he have a teacher? While I'm self taught on lute I was trained on classical guitar which was a huge advantage in learning to play. I'm not sure how well I would have progressed on lute without a classical guitar teacher.

    Can he read tab? While a lot of lute music is in standard notation, there is a lot that is also written in tab, which means you also kinda have to understand a little Renaissance harmony as well.

    Just some things to think about. Good luck!
    "He who makes songs without feeling spoils both his words and his music. " ~ Guillaume de Machaut

    "It is insulting to address anyone in a language which they do not understand." ~ Benjamin Britten

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stapoler View Post
    Hello! My boyfriend expressed an interest in learning to play renaissance music on the lute. His birthday is coming up so I have been doing some research. Most lutes I’ve seen are way over my budget. I stumbled upon a baglama and I’m wondering if it can be used to create the type of music he is hoping to play. I don’t know much about it yet. Anyone have experience with renaissance music and different types of lutes? Any information would be helpful. Thank you in advance!
    What a lovely idea - but such a big leap all at once.

    I think you have been given some excellent advice, which I really can't improve on.

    Here's my experience.

    A couple of years ago I went to a summer holiday music school where I played early and renaissance music on my violin. As part of the event, I attended a class called 'Try a viol', which would have been ideal if I'd wanted to move on to the viol. As it was, I was put off. Viols make beautiful sounds, but their string system, bowing position, and the presence of frets on the notes were all alien to me. So I found out very cheaply that it wasn't for me, but at the same time enjoyed my experience.

    Maybe instead of buying a lute, you could look into getting him an 'experience' day, if there are any day schools, early music concerts etc?

    Or (if your boyfriend plays guitar or any other instrument) you could give him a voucher for sheet music books or cds of early music so you didn't unwittingly duplicate something he already has.

    Good luck with it all. I'm sure your boyfriend must be delighted that you take an interest. I can't think of anything nicer than sharing a love of music with someone you love.
    (Without going into details, I have experience of that myself. )
    My fiddle my joy.

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    Lots of good info here:

    http://john.redmood.com/usherguide.html
    "He who makes songs without feeling spoils both his words and his music. " ~ Guillaume de Machaut

    "It is insulting to address anyone in a language which they do not understand." ~ Benjamin Britten

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