lute

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lute. Fretted str. instr. of great antiquity played by plucking with the fingers (occasionally with a plectrum in earlier types). The ‘long lute’, with neck longer than the body, dates back at least to 2000 BC. The short lute, with neck slightly shorter than the body, dates from c.800 BC. It was transformed into the European lute, with distinct neck and central soundhole, probably in Spain in 14th cent. Has a round body, like halved pear, flat neck with 7 or more frets, and separate pegbox usually bent back from neck at angle. In 16th cent. had 11 str. in 6 courses, tuned to convenient pitch. Up to 6 bass courses were added in 17th cent., unalterable in pitch. In mid–17th cent., new system of tuning (called nouveau ton) was introduced by Denis Gaultier. Lutes were much used for solos, acc., and in ens. Their mus. was played not from notation but from tablature which in the 16th and 17th cents. took the form of a staff with a space for each str. and small letters placed within the space to indicate the fret to be used. Small marks above the staff gave the duration of the sounds.

Many varieties of lute were used in the 16th and 17th cents., when it was the chief domestic inst. They incl. mandola, mandolin, angelica, and larger, deeper lutes called archlutes, of which the ‘long’ was the chittarone and the ‘short’ the theorbo. All have the characteristic round back, differentiating them from the flat-back guitar family. In the 17th cent., lute music was chiefly cultivated in Fr., Ger., and Eng. (Dowland was probably the greatest lute composer) while Sp. and It. turned to the guitar. The literature of lute mus. stretches from 1507 to c.1770, among the latest composers to compose for it being Handel, J. S. Bach, Reusner, and Weiss. It came to be used in orch. mus., and there is a part for lute in Bach's St John Passion (1723). With the 20th-cent. revival of interest in early mus. the lute has regained considerable popularity, especially through the agency of virtuosi such as Julian Bream and Nigel North.

The term is also used generically for a large group of str. instr., e.g. fiddles, viols, vielle, etc.

lute

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lute1 / loōt/ • n. a plucked stringed instrument with a long neck bearing frets and a rounded body with a flat front that is shaped like a halved egg.

lute

lute2 • n. (also lut·ing) liquid clay or cement used to seal a joint, coat a crucible, or protect a graft.• v. [tr.] seal, join, or coat with lute.

lute

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lute Plucked stringed instrument most popular in 16th- and 17th-century Europe. It has an almond-shaped body and fretted neck and originally had 11 gut strings. Often played to accompany songs and stylized dances, recently it has been revived as a concert instrument.

lute

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lute1 stringed musical instrument. XIV. — F. †lut (mod. luth), prob. — Pr. laüt — Arab. al-ˈūd (see AL-2).

lute

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lute2 clay or cement to stop holes, etc. XIV. — (O)F. lut or medL. lutum, spec. use of L. lutum mud, potter's clay.

Lute

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Lute

a flock of mallard.