The lute: a thumbnail history

LuteThe lute’s beauty of tone, musical versatility and symbolic association with heaven made it once the most popular instrument in Europe, the ‘prince’ of all instruments. From the Arabian oud to the medieval, renaissance and baroque lutes, this article briefly charts the development and evolution of this versatile, beautiful and enduring instrument.

We begin with a recording of a saraband by Ennemond Gaultier, one of the leading lights of the new French lute style in the 17th century.

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