I am currently, among other things, enjoying converting Lute tablature into modern notation, on various books, this is to help me understand the piece before I have a go on Lute and Guitar. The first book I have tackled is a book from 1610 by Robert Dowland “A Varietie of Lute Lessons” it is a fantastic collection and includes some well known sources. As I worked through I released You tube videos of peices exported from Dorico as an mp3. And I have created the pages below, these include a pdf of the pieces in pdf for you to follow or practise, plus an mp3 for you to listen to.
Here is the link to you tube videos of all of the pieces.
For those of you who wish to tackle the pieces on Guitar, this is not as difficult as it looks. What you need to do is tune your G string (e, a, d, G, b, e) to F sharp, down a semitone or one fret when tuning off the D string. Then if you read the tablature in the book above the pieces play well (although not at the original pitch). for the original pitch it could be necessary to capo the 3rd fret. A Lute is tuned (g, c, f, a, d, g) but most lutes have extra bass strings which are typically F and D below the bottom string.
I have supplied some of the later pieces with guitar transcriptions but not some of the earlier ones, so: if you wish me to supply music at Guitar tuning, let me know via the contact page.
Lute tablature works in the same way as guitar tablature, the rhythm is written above the notes, and the notes are indicated by letters instead of numbers. “a” means open string, “b” is first fret, “c” is second fret etc. on 6 lines which are the strings, the top or highest string being the top line.
Sometimes there are letters off the bottom of the 6 strings shown, these are extra bass strings that some lutes from the 1600 had, typically tuned to F and D below the normal strings. As you get later in the century more strings are added. There are three other main sorts of tablature, for the lute just to make things interesting. I will cover those as we get to them. These pieces uses the French and British style of Lute writing.