This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Performance for hire is, however, permitted.
Here you will find more than 7000 lute pieces in French tablature in the following formats: fronimo (ft3), 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…)! 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.
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.
18Mar15: Posted edition of Ochsenkuhn Tablature auff di Lauten (1558) in German and French tab. Arne Harder did most of the heavy lifting, having carefully and painstakingly encoded the entirety of the 200+ pages in German tab. I have double-checked it against the original facsimile and also cleaned up the facsimile a bit more for easier readability. All the pieces are very high quality stuff, and there are almost no errors in the original. All the pieces are polyphonic vocal intabulations, including several secular works Ochsenkuhn was unique in using the capability of German tab to separate the parts of his pieces by putting each part on a separate line. If 2 or more parts play the same note at the same time, Ochsenkuhn duplicates the note on all the lines that are playing it at that moment. This makes this book valuable in showing how parts in tab are separated, and would, in theory, make it possible to reconstruct the mensural polyphonic model of each piece. It certainly also serves as a useful guide to playing the pieces. If you want to see the German tab, you can find it here, or you can check out the facsimile.
04Mar15: I know it's a bit late, but I posted lute song versions of "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" and "Have yourself a merry little Christmas", a couple of my faves. These were for a recent Christmas gig.
This is a list of recent additions to the website, with commentaries on them.
I feel strongly about making a large quantity of lute music accessible to all for free. See my "manifesto" on the subject", published in LSA Quarterly in 2014. Over the years, I have collected the pieces on this site 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 the fronimo software, it is pretty easy to reformat these to taste. I have tried to create performable copy in all cases. In editing these files, I have tried to use "canonical" composer names and to eliminate spelling variations wherever possible, and have inserted the names of the "original composers", where known, in parentheses under the title. For instance, where Albert de Rippe intabulates "Douce memoire", de Rippe is given as the composer and (Pierre Sandrin) as the original composer. In my footnote credits, I have included credits for encoder and editor. The encoder is the one who actually does the data entry to create the fronimo, TAB, Midi, or Django file that I work from. Other credits, and other important information, are contained in the "Section Annotations" within the fronimo file. For a detailed explanation of these and other editing practices of mine, see my writeup on fronimo formats. Credits, and other information contained in the fronimo files, are also present in the spreadsheet I have created for the website. I update the spreadsheet frequently to reflect the approximate current state of the data. It contains hyperlinks to fronimo, midi,and pdf files for each entry. It also has other data, such as key, type of piece, instrumentation, and difficulty. If you can read the Excel file, that is probably the easiest way of finding things until an actual searchable database is created.
In all cases, I have edited and formatted each piece and take responsibility for any errors therein. 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/encoder, though over the years some of this data has been lost. If you feel you are the one that originally contributed a particular piece and have not been acknowledged 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 me at 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? I maintain a Corrections and Contributors Honor Roll to credit all who have contributed to this effort. You can also email me at with any comments or special requests.
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 pare down the contents of this directory and post as much as possible under "sources". Once the database is up and running, you will be able to search by composer (or any other parameters).
These are facsimiles of source documents.
These are complete fronimo editions of sources.
This is an Excel spreadsheet with a comprehensive list of all the fronimo files on the website. It should reflect the approximate current state of the data. It also contains hyperlinks to fronimo, midi, and pdf files for each entry. For each piece listed, it has 26 fields that contain other data, such as key, type of piece, instrumentation, source, and difficulty. If you can read this file, that is probably the easiest way of finding things. In addition, the following:
This is a list of other websites with related information.
I hope you get and give a great deal of pleasure from playing these pieces!
If you are curious about my other identity as a psychiatrist and philosopher, you can find out more about me by clicking here.