PROJECT: 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 work through I will release a You tube video of the export mp3 from Dorico on the computer and a pdf of the notes. Here are the you tube videos
GUITAR: 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. If you wish me to supply music at Guitar tuning, let me know by email.
TABLATURE: 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. This form is mostly used by the French and British Lute writers.