French theorbo music

Updated 6.6.2010 / © Arto Wikla 3.3.2009

In the late renaissance (c. 1580-1600) and in the baroque (c. 1600-17??) periods many different types of extended lutes were popular. One group of these was called by names chitarrone, tiorba, theorbo, theorboe, theorb, .... Common to this group was a special way of tuning the two (sometimes one) "highest" strings one octave lower compared to other groups of lutes. This created a little "harp like" sound and sonority to these instruments. Robert Spencer's article Chitarrone, Theorbo and Archlute is a well written introduction to these extended lutes.

To make me practice, I've made some videos of my theorbo performances, which are far from perfect... ;-) To make this page more useful, I've also included the music here. Perhaps it is interesting to see and hear the music - written and played music. Also many of the original vocal or orchestral models of these theorbo arrangements are included! So it is also up to you to play (or even arrange!) these pieces more beautifully and clean than I do ... :-)

Pieces played by French theorbo in a (a'=415 Hz) (Stephen Barber 1986)

Pieces played by "Théorbe de pieces" in d (a'=392 Hz) (My archlute (Stephen Barber, 1987) is stringed and tuned to a high theorbo.)

Piece played by Magno Dieffopruchar theorbo in a (a'=415 Hz) (Timo Kontio, 2003)

See also my pages 11-course lute music / Chitarrone music / Archlute music / 10-course lute music / Chitarrino music.
There are also some other arrangements, intabulations, etc. in my Contributions page.

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