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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…)!
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.
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.
HELP!!! I did a translation into English of Hans Newsidler's intro to his 1536 lute book some years ago, and it has gone missing. If anyone downloaded it in the past, can you please send it to me so I can re-post it? Thanks!!
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. More such changes will be forthcoming as I streamline my site. I have also added a little tutorial on using Fronimo to enter data rapidly.
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.
03Oct14: Completed edition of the de Bellis MS (1615). I also provide a cleaned-up grayscale source for this MS. This MS contains mostly quite easy pieces for 13-course archlute, although many of the pieces can be played on lutes with fewer courses. There are several corantos, allemands, sarabandas, etc. Mostly rather light fare. It was a very difficult MS to clean up and to read, since it is light and of low contrast, and covered with artifacts. It is particularly of interest because more than half of the pieces are meticulously fingered for left and right hand and also contain ornaments and tenuto marks. I have included these fingerings and marks in my edition.
27Aug14: Completed my edition of Piccinini Intavolatura di liuto, v.2 (1639). I have also provided a cleaned-up version of the source. As in the first edition, all the pieces appear to be by Piccinini himself. The pieces in this volume are mostly fairly easy, some being written for 10-course lute and archlute up to 13 courses, but many for lutes with fewer courses. Some of the toccatas and ricercars are quite interesting and beautiful, reflecting a transition between renaissance and baroque styles. These are highly contrapuntal, yet with more baroque-like harmonies.
24Aug14: John Robinson kindly made available a link to an important Italian tab MS in high resolution, the deBellis MS of 1615.
05Aug14: Completed Terzi's v.2 (1599). Also posted a cleaned-up source for v.2. Volume 2, unlike v.1, is thoroughly notated as to right hand fingering and also as to tenutos. Terzi shows the latter by putting a + just to the right of the exact note or notes which is/are to be held. This is more specific than the more general practice of just putting in a line to show a tenuto. In my edition of this volume, I have used lines, but I have made sure that they start on the exact note that had the + next to it and have tried to guess where the note should end. This gives an unusually clear picture of the voice leading in the pieces.
27Jul14: Completed 50 pieces from Terzi's v.2 (1599) (halfway there). Content is similar to v.1.
20Jul14: Added a tutorial on rapidly encoding tab files using Fronimo.
01Jun14: Completed edition of Giovanni Antonio Terzi Intavolatura di liutto, v.1 (1593). Also posted a cleaned-up source for this volume, for those that like to read Italian tab. This volume contains several religious and secular vocal intabulations, mostly in 5 or 6 parts, so the harmony is sometimes rather thick and difficult to play. It also contains several great duets. One part of most may also be played as a solo. There are 11 Merulo canzones, which are excellent, and several fantasies by Terzi. These are not overly difficult, compared to the vocal intabulations. Also, there are several very inventive passemezzi, galliards, allemands (balli tedesci), courantes, and saltarelli.
12May14: Added different intabulations of the Lochamer Liederbuch, done by , mostly for 5-course lute in G.
16Apr14: Completed an edition of Robinson's Schoole of Musicke (1603). This is a delightful collection of mostly quite easy English pieces, some of them exhaustively notated as to right and left hand fingering. I have preserved the fingerings in my edition.
13Apr14: Completed my edition of the Euing Lute Book. It consists almost entirely of famous English lute pieces, 71 of them. The spreadsheet has also been updated to include all recent postings.
07Apr14: Corrected the Lochamer Liederbuch pieces and added pieces from the Buxheimer Orgelbuch and the Breslau MS, all intabulated by for an alternate tuning in C with the 4th course lowered a half-step; I have also arranged these for normal renaissance tuning.
05Apr14: With the kind help of , I have reviewed and corrected my edition of the da Crema pieces against the source facsimiles.
03Apr14: Posted cleaned up copy of Giovanni M. da Crema's Intabolatura (1546). I have moved my Fronimo edition of this work to sources/crema/intabolatura_de_lauto_1546.
31Mar14: Posted cleaned-up copy of the lute solos from the Euing Lute Book. These consist of the first 68 pages from the book. The remainder of the folios are tab chord diagrams for different figured bass notations on theorbo. This copy of the Euing book was one I obtained in the early '60s. I am posting it, as it is much clearer than any I have found online.
25Mar14: Completed Testudo Gallo Germanica.
19Mar14: Another 50 pieces of Testudo Gallo Germanica posted. Not too many left.
15Mar14: Posted some intabulations of keyboard pieces from the Lochamer Liederbuch (1460), done by , for an alternate tuning with the 4th course down a ½ step. These fit very nicely onto a 6-course lute. I have also rearranged these for normal Renaissance tuning.
13Mar14: Posted another 50 pieces of Testudo Gallo-Germanica. Well over ½ way.
26Feb14: Posted first 50 pieces of Testudo Gallo-Germanica. Many errors in this document, particularly in the English pieces. The c and the e look almost identical and have required a lot of judgment calls. Also the rhythm flags are extremely sloppy as to value and placement. More judgment calls.
16Feb14: I posted all the missing pages of Testudo, including the intro.
15Feb14: Wow! several people have sent me the missing pages, specifically Neil Morrison, Arne Harder, and Sigmar Salzburg. Many thanks for this help, which will enable me to complete the project. Arne Harder pointed out that Bayerische Staatsbibliothek also has an online version.
13Feb14: Posted a cleaned-up facsimile of G.L. Fuhrmann Testudo Gallo-Germinica (1615). This is a much clearer copy than anything I have found online, but it takes a lot of work to get rid of spots, etc. According to Julia Craig-McFeely, there should be 6 more pages, #s 185-190. They are missing in my copy and in the ones I have found online. Does anyone have these?
10Jan14: Completed Herbert of Cherbury book. One of the many great finds from this book are some wonderful fantasies by one Cuthbert Hely.
26Dec13: Posted another 100 pieces from the Herbert of Cherbury book. Only 43 left! Merry Christmas!
13Nov13: Posted the first 100 pieces from the Herbert of Cherbury lute book.
28Oct13: Posted complete facsimile of Herbert of Cherbury lute book. This is a rich source of English lute music (180 pages), including many pieces unique to this source by Philip Rosseter, Jakub Reys, Robert Johnson, Daniel Bacheler, Charles Bocquet, René Saman, Diomedes Cato, Laurenzino Tracetti, Vincento Pinti, John Coprario, Gabriel Bataille, Ennemond Gaultier, and others. The copy is sometimes barely legible, with some pages later in the MS missing staves at the bottom, requiring a bit of creativity in the editing. Alain Veylit made a beautiful edition of it in PDF format awhile back. I plan to make my own edition. It's going to take awhile, but it's worth it.
23Oct13: Completed posting a cleaned-up and paginated copy of Gabriel Bataille's "Airs de differents autheurs", volumes 1-7. This is a treasure trove of airs de cour in French tab, several hundreds of them. Preceding the first bar of each piece the tab shows the first note to be sung in the voice part. Sometimes, this implies a lute tuned to A. Or it may simply be transposed.
05Sep13: Completed a major revamp and correction of my nearly 10,000 files. I have standardized the library notation, adding library sigla to my designations. Alternate names for a document or library are now separated by colons. Footnotes are simplified to omit comments. They are in three parts: 1. Publisher or library 2. Document 3. Editor and encoder credits. These are separated by double spaces. Comments and remarks are, along with other data, contained in the Section Annotation part of Fronimo (go to edit/secions/section annotations). This may not make a great deal of difference to many users, but the standardization should make it easier to construct the database for this site.
26Jul13: Completed edition of Margaret Board Lute Book consisting of 192 pieces. The first part of the document is very accurate; a little over half way through, a different scribe takes over, and then it becomes very sloppy, with many wrong notes, absent or incorrect rhythm flags or flags with missing dots, and many line errors. In this section, there are also a number of pieces with alternate tunings. Despite the inaccuracies, though, many of these later pieces are quite lovely, and most are fairly simple.
25Jun13: Posted cleaned-up facsimile of the Margaret Board Lute Book.
08Jun13: Completed edition of Kapsberger's Intavolatura di Liuto, v.1 (1611), consisting of 8 toccatas, 12 galliards, and 12 correntes. All very unusual pieces, especially the toccatas, which are quirky and unlike anything else I have encountered from that time period -- or any time period. None of the music is especially difficult to play, especially the dances, which are generally quite easy and charming. About half are playable on 7 courses; the rest can be played on a 9- or 10-course instrument.
05Jun13: Posted facsimile of Kapsberger's Intavolatura di Liuto, v.1 (1611) thanks to , who kindly sent it to me froim Brazil.
04Jun13: Completed edition of the Barley lute book. This contains the usual flowery dedication, but if I were Lady Lucie Sussex, I'd be embarrassed by it. The pieces are great -- fine versions of popular galliards, pavanes, and allemandes by Francis Cutting and John Dowland. But there were so many errors that it was obviously a quick and dirty job. The right hand fingering is very erratic and often wrong, and there are many line errors -- notes, and even whole chords one line too high or low. Plus many wrong notes. Obviously, printing standards were much lower in the 16th century, and Barley never bothered to proofread it. Nevertheless, the music is great.
02Jun13: Posted cleaned-up facsimile of the lute section of William Barley's "New booke of Tabliture".
30May13: Posted revised version of Mus.ms.1512. This source contains 77, mostly very easy, pieces, originally encoded by , and now proof-checked against the original, with some editorial additions. I discovered that what looks like a firmata sign is actually a sign for a breve or dotted semibreve, depending on the meter of the piece. That explains the oddity of seeing what looks like a lot of firmatas all over the place in these pieces. Also, there is a peculiar + sign over certain notes which I have interpreted as a tenuto mark. This MS is pretty amazing, in that there are no cross-outs or corrections on it, yet there are only a handful of errors in the entire 142-page document. This must have been some copyist, considering that most manuscripts, and even printed works, contain at least an error per page, on average.
24May13: Posted cleaned-up facsimile of Bayerischer Staatsbibliothek Mus.ms.1512.
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.
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.