This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Please feel free to modify, use and distribute freely non-commercially all its contents, with the proviso that any works obtained or derived from this website be freely distributed under the same license.
I am working on a new, more user-friendly and easily searchable version of this website. It should be up in beta format by some time in May or June. On the new site, you will still be able to browse the directory hierarchy, but you will also be able to do more focused searches, e.g., searching by date, difficulty, key, title, composer or about 22 other parameters in any combination. More on this later. Meanwhile, I am beginning to reorganize this site, so there may be some broken links, for which I apologize.
Here you will find more than 7000 lute pieces in French tablature in the following formats: Fronimo (ft3), from , TAB from , midi, and PDF (which you can read using Acrobat Reader). (Why the different formats?). I apologize to those who prefer other formats, such as Spanish or Italian, but I believe French is the most widely used format, though it is easy to change to another format -- even German tab (not that anyone would really want to do this…)!
I have collected these pieces over the years from the internet or have entabulated and/or arranged or realized them myself. I have edited all of them and formatted them to fit nicely on US letter size paper (8.5 x 11 in), though some are formatted for US legal size (8.5 x 14 in). I have not formatted any for A4, as life is too short. Again, if you have Fronimo, it is pretty easy to reformat these to taste. I have tried to create performable copy in all cases. These pieces are mostly for renaissance lute, but quite a few are for baroque lute and archlute, and a very few for theorbo, cittern, bandora, guitar etc. Other pieces include songs and continuo pieces, listed by composer. Under Lute ensemble in the list of composers, you will find pieces for two or more lutes. Source facsimiles are now grouped together in one place.
This material is now mirrored at www.lute.ru/gerbode , thanks to the good offices of , who has also translated the site into Russian at www.lute.ru/gerbode/ru. I will try to keep the mirror site as updated as possible, but gerbode.net is likely to be the latest and greatest. If anyone wants to contribute stuff to my site, I now have an ftp directory dedicated to lute. Details here. I also keep a compressed tar file (very large) of the entire composer list in this location, with the date in the filename, for those who might want to download it (latest was 16Jun09). I feel more secure with these data in several different places.
Here is a list of links you may find useful. I have just started on this list. Please let me know if you want to trade links with me.
Note -- I am in process of reorganizing files to group things under their sources and to get rid of the needless "ft2" directory. I will keep copies of everything I have posted so far in the same place for a little while, but any new stuff is going to the new location. Sorry about any broken links. Check the Excel spreadsheet to find stuff. I am also getting rid of the TAB files, because of lack of interest. Existing TAB files are collected my FTP directory as "tabfiles.tar.Z", but I will not be making new ones. More such changes will be forthcoming as I streamline my site.
There will be three main directories under http://gerbode.net:
This is a listing by composer, but some items that were under "composers" (like "Besard") actually belong under "sources", because they are anthologies or compilations. The intention is to gradually eliminate this directory and its contents and post everything under "sources". Once the database is up and running, you will be able to search by composer (or any other parameters). Until then, I will hang onto this directory.
These are facsimiles of source documents.
These are complete Fronimo editions of sources.
16May13: Completed edition of Melchior Newsidler's Intavolatura, v. 2, containing 12 vocal intabulations, 2 passamezzi, and 4 ricercars. All fairly hard. The last ricercar is particularly interesting.
10May13: Completed edition of Melchior Newsidler's Intavolatura, v. 1, containing 16 vocal intabulations, 2 passamezzi, and 4 ricercars. All high quality stuff. Many errors were corrected on the original by an unknown helpful person, blotting out what was in the original. However, the corrections seem valid. Next: v.2
01May13: Posted cleaned-up facsimile of Melchior Newsidler's Intavolatura, v.1 and v. 2 (1566).
22Apr13: Posted French tab edition of Melchoir Newsidler's Teutsch Lautenbüch., containing a number of religious and secular vocal intabulations, three fantasies by Newsidler, and three very inventive passamezzi/saltarelli. Although the source is very clear, the letters Newsidler uses in his German tab bear little resemblance to ordinary letters. t looks like l, h like g, d like nothing in particular, e quite like o, g like p. r, s, and v look quite alike. He also has a way of intabulating for 7-course lute, which took me a little time to figure out. Fortunately, the original contains relatively few errors.
30Mar13: Posted cleaned-up facsimile of Melchoir Newsidler's Teutsch Lautenbuch (1574) in German tab. A French tab edition is upcoming.
12Mar13: CUL Dd.5.78.3 completed. A lot of wonderful favorites, here. I would like to give special thanks to Neil Morrison, who gave me a great deal of help with pieces by Daniel Bacheler, many of whose pieces are uniquely represented here.
20Feb13: Half way through CUL Dd.5.78. 77 of 155 pieces. The source is posted online. Many fewer mistakes in this source.
08Feb13: Completed my edition of CUL Nn.6.36b. It contains excellent stuff, including many Daniel Bacheler pieces of exceptional quality not found anywhere else. I am working on providing an even better version of the facsimile of this MS. Next major project will be CUL Dd.5.78., of which I expect to post the facsimile soon, once I have neatened it up.
16Jan13: Completed my edition of CUL Dd.9.33c.
05Jan13: Posted facsimile of Thomas Robinson Schoole of Musicke.
20Dec12: Posted facsimile of CUL Nn.6.36b. The original version of this had the top line of each page mostly or entirely blotted out. Thanks to the good offices of , I got hold of a better copy of this, and in this copy the MS is almost all there, so I have posted a cleaned-up copy of it. I am working on a Fronimo edition of Nn.6.36. Neil has been very helpful in clarifying some sticky points.
04Dec12: I just finished a little more than half of CUL Dd.9.33c (ff. 1-50v of 95), including 74 pieces, so far. MS is in terrible shape (worse than Dd.2.11), with edges and bottom sometimes torn off or illegible, so I had to work with concordances and sometimes guesswork to fill in the missing bits. But the quality of the material is extremely high.
21Nov12: To complete my facsimile collection of Albert de Rippe, I have just posted a cleaned-up copy of his Second Livre de Tablature. I am now working on CUL MS Dd.9.33. About ¼ of the way through, now. Does anyone have any requests for what I should work on next?
03Nov12: After a long hiatus due to a move, I completed Cambridge University Library MS Dd.3.18, which mostly consists of English consort and duet parts, though there are a few solo pieces as well.
25Jun12: From the San Francisco Early Music Renaissance Workshop, I posted a couple of cool d'India songs, a 2-part Machaut ballad, and a three-part ballata by Johannes Ciconia arranged for lute and voice.
13Jun12: Completed the remainder of Cambridge University Library MS Dd.2.11, folios 91-101.
03Jun12: Completed folios 81-90 of Cambridge University Library MS Dd.2.11. Now 293 pieces done. 31 to go.
23May12: On request from Charles Browne, I have posted Molinaro's Libro Primo, encoded by Douglas Towne. These are pieces of the highest quality. The ones by Molinaro himself are mostly rather difficult but worth it. They include some very interesting fantasies and a number of passamezzo-galliard pairs of extreme complexity and inventiveness, as well as a few vocal intabulations. Molinaro is obviously a master of polyphonic writing. These pieces can readily be played on an 8-course lute. Almost half of the pieces are by Molinaro's teacher, Giovanni Battista dalla Gostena. These pieces, including fantasies and vocal intabulations, are somewhat simpler, but still quite sophisticated, reminiscent, to me, of Francesco da Milano's stuff. They appear to have been originally written for 6-course lute, as additional courses are used quite sporadically. I'll be taking another look at these when I have the source facsimile in hand.
15May12: Started working on Cambridge University Library MS Dd.2.11, and have completed folios 1-10 , 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50 , 51-60, 61-70, and 71-80, out of 102. 265 pieces so far, 59 to go. A lot of the favorite English repertoire is contained therein, including several pieces for bandora, which I have arranged for lute as well, usually transposed to make them easier. The document is damaged and often hard to read. Fortunately, the English Lute society has put out a readable color facsimile with a meticulous, note by note physical analysis of the MS by the late Ian Harwood, who has made some educated guesses and a few reconstructions of missing passages. That has made this edition possible.
28Mar12: Did an edition of Bakfark's Harmoniarum Musicarum (1565). I also have the source online. I am grateful to Jacob Heringman and Art Ness for elucidating the issue of split courses in Bakfark.
14Mar12: Completed work on British Library MS Add. 31392. A typical English MS with lots of old favorites by Dowland, Ferrabosco, Allison, Bachelor, etc. I also have the source online. It also contains a lute treble and ground.
04Mar12: Completed work on Luis de Narváez' Los seys libros del Delphin (1538). I also have a cleaned-up version of the source. The first two books consist of an exploration of the 8 Modes. Highly contrapuntal and interesting stuff, and fairly easy, reminiscent of Francesco da Milano, which is not surprising since Narváez studied with Francesco. Book 3 has three intabulations of masses and five French chansons. Book 4 has two sets of variations on Hymns. Book 5 contains Spanish pieces: romances and villancicos. Book 6 has three sets of variations. Books 3, 4, and 5 have melody lines in the tab highlighted in red, with underlying text, much more carefully done than in Fuenllana. I have put these melodies into mensural notation.
18Feb12: Completed work on Book 6 of Orphenical Lyra, which completes the entire work. Book 6 consists of a hodge-podge of stuff : liturgical intabulations, villancicos, ensaladas, fantasies, tientos. The three ensaladas are the longest lute works I have yet encountered. Book 6 also includes works for 5- and 4-course instruments; for each of these, I have added an arrangement for 6-courses. For the vocal pieces, I have added a mensural part, as I did for Book 5.
28Jan12: Completed work on Book 5 of Orphenical Lyra, again, adding mensural parts to the tab, following the red tab characters. Book 5 consists entirely of intabulations of secular vocal pieces -- strombottos, sonetos, villancicos, villanescas, and romances (ballads) by French, Italian, and Spanish composers. The pieces are uniformly of good quality and amazingly free of errors. Although there is no errata sheet, it looks as though some knowledgeable person has written in the corrections, perhaps a long time ago. Often, as was the case elsewhere, Fuenllana has chosen to highlight the bass part (e.g., in Tant Que Vivray) and, rarely, one of the inner parts, maybe because he thought everyone should know the top part anyway. To make a proper lute song, one would need to tease out the top part. I have not tried to do this, but it would be a good exercise. Most of his stuff is strictly contrapuntal, which should make the job easier.
01Jan12: Completed a new version of Book 2 of Orphenica Lyra, adding mensural vocal parts to the tab. This was quite an undertaking. In most cases, I did not have access to the original vocal models, which did not necessarily match the tab or text very closely, and the duration of the notes and the text underlay, particularly the latter, required some judgments which the reader might not agree with, but I gave it my best shot. On note durations, I believe I came pretty close, although sometimes a note restruck in the tab is meant to be held in the vocal part, and (rarely) the reverse is true. The text underlay is fairly arbitrary, so there are a lot of judgment calls.. I tried to give more duration to accented notes than unaccented ones. Anyway, for someone who wants to sing these religious motets, it's a start. I also attempted to translate the Latin texts into English, with varying success. It was fun trying to dust off my Grammar School Latin. Between my Latin dictionary and the internet, I think I did OK.
24Dec11: Quite awhile back, I did a partial edition of Fuenllana's Orphenica Lyra. I have now completed work on Book 3 of this tome, consisting of 5- and 6-part motets. In this edition, I have rendered in mensural notation the parts given in red tab numbers in the original, as well as the mensural parts contained in the original. Since Fronimo does not, as yet, produce colored tab characters, this edition places a dot next to the notes colored red in the original to indicate a part that may be sung, as in Daza, but I have also added a mensural part made out of these dotted tab characters. The text underlay involves considerable guesswork, as the positioning is very approximate in the original. In most cases, I have not had access to a vocal model to check note durations and text positioning, and where I have found a vocal model, its notes do not exactly correspond to those given by Fuenllana, but I have given it my best shot. I have had some valuable help in deciphering clef signs from Art Ness and David Tayler, as well as from a useful article by David Ward in JLSA v.15, which argued convincingly that these signs bear no relation to pitch and exist only as an assist to transposition. I have also posted the original facsimile on my site, so it should be easy to spot any errors I have made in my edition.
30Nov11: Edition of Estaban Daza's El Parnasso (1576) posted. These are amongst the best Spanish pieces, in my opinion. For each piece, Daza has placed dots next to a particular voice in the piece, in case someone wants to sing that line. He places text more or less under the dotted notes, but the exact duration of each note and the positioning of the text, where present, is somewhat indeterminate. Also, some dots appear to be missing and others extraneous, requiring a lot of judgment calls. Otherwise, there are almost no errors in the entire work (maybe five, total), after correcting with Daza's quite exhaustive errata sheet.
Book 1 consists of fantasies by Daza; Book 2 consists of motets by various composers, and Book 3 consists of songs by various composers -- a romance, villanescas, villancicos, one Spanish cancion, and two intabulations of French songs. In Book 3, I have attempted to reconstruct the vocal line from the tablature. In Book 2, I punted on trying to reconstruct it, as it was too indeterminate, and I lacked a crib sheet consisting of a separate vocal model. I contented myself with placing the text under the line of tablature, as it was in the original. Someone with access to the vocal models could take it from there.
19Oct11: Source for Estaban Daza's "El Parnasso" (1576) posted.
18Sep11: Sources for Cambridge University Library MS Dd.3.18, as well as CUL MS Dd.9.33.c posted. Fronimo editions should follow in awhile. I am slowly cranking my way through the more legible and complete microfilm sources.
16Sep11: Complete Cosens Lute book posted. This contains a host of excellent lute pieces, mostly by English composers. These were written for 7-course lute, but I am also made arrangements for 8 courses, where it seemed appropriate. And I have made the sources available as well.
07Jul11: Fronimo edition of the John Sturt Lute Book, posted, by request of Sylvain Bergeron. This contains 85 high-quality pieces, including six duets. The last of these is an allemande with a very strange tuning. I struggled with the tunings until , kindly did the detective work and solved the mystery for me. I also have the Sturt sources for comparison.
Although I have tried to be as accurate as possible, I'm sure many errors remain. I have cited the original source (MS or otherwise) whenever I knew it, and the original contributor/entabulator, though over the years much of this data has been lost. If you feel you are the one that originally contributed a particular piece and have not been acknowledged in a footnote for having done so, or if you know the source of a particular piece for which a source is not cited or wrongly cited, please email so I can update the footnote. Also, if you find errors in any of the pieces, can you please email me and, if possible, attach the modified version? Click here to see the Corrections Honor Roll.
I hope you get and give a great deal of pleasure from playing these pieces!
You can email me at: with any comments, corrections, or special requests.
If you are curious about my other identity as a psychiatrist and philosopher, you can find out more about me by clicking here.