What is a lute? Everything You Need to Know about Lute

The origin of the word is Arabic al-ud. It was translated as laouto in Greek and liuto in Italian. From the Andalusian Arab empire, it spread west, and in the following centuries various types emerged. It was used during the renaissance period in Europe. Although its popularity has decreased compared to the past, it is still a musical instrument that is produced and played.

 What is a Lute?

The lute is a stringed instrument. Lutes are made almost entirely of wood. It is played with a plectrum. In later times, different varieties were also made. The type of lute used in Turkish music is separated from the lute by the frets attached to its stem. Tamburi Cemil Bey brought a new feature to the lute by playing it with a plectrum. In this period, it was included in the incesaz groups but lost its popularity in the 19th century. The lute is a musical instrument that is rarely used today. Today, it is rarely used in baroque music and classical Turkish music. 


The Mediterranean lute is played with a tortoiseshell or plastic plectrum. Since the baga is played with a plectrum, a sound very close to the tambour, it has negatively affected the development of Turkish music. The baroque lute and the renaissance lute are played by pulling the strings with the thumb and index fingers of the right hand. In addition, the person who plays the lute is called a lavtavi or a lute player.

History of lute

The primitive form of this instrument was found among the ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans, and Greeks. It was later developed by the Arabs and settled by the Spaniards, and from there it spread to the west during the Andalusian Umayyad Period. It was very common in the 18th century, especially in France. He entered Turkish music in the 18th year. The number of strings can rise up to 18. It was also used as an orchestral instrument in Florence. 

The lute strings are arranged in rows of two strings each, but the highest pitched row usually consists of a single string called the chanterelle. In later Baroque ouds, the two upper rows are single. The courses are numbered sequentially, counting from the highest pitch, so that the chanterelle is the first row, the next pair of strings is the second row, and so on. Thus, an 8-string Renaissance lute usually has 15 strings and a 13-string lute. Baroque lute is number 25.


Differences with similar instruments

Lute vs Oud

The structure of the lute musical instrument is very similar to the oud. Their difference is that there are fewer slices in the body than the lute and that it is fretted. While there is no pitch in the oud musical instrument, there are twenty-six pitch intervals in the lute. The Mediterranean lute has eight strings that are played in pairs. Some lute makers produce lutes with seven strings and seven frets by removing the top string. The baroque lute has eleven strings, which are also played in pairs. The number of strings can be increased by adding harmony strings. It is considered the ancestor of the saz.


Lute vs Guitar

The lute musical instrument is slightly smaller in size than the Guitar. In western countries, it is tuned based on the classical guitar. On the other hand, both musical instruments have frets. Standard classical guitars have 6 strings. It consists of an average of 19 frets. It is played by hitting the strings with nails or with the help of finger nails. The classical guitar has an average sound width of 3.5 octaves. The lute, which was performed with 18 frets during the Cemil Bey period, has reached 26 frets today. It is produced with 7 or 8 strings, generally 7 string lute is preferred. The guitar is a much more popular musical instrument than the lute.

As Sala Music, we are pleased to guide you about every musical instrument you are interested in or play. Do not hesitate to visit our store in Istanbul or view the festivity in our catalog on our website. We believe that you will find the most suitable entertainment for you here at the most affordable price.

You Can Also Like: All About Turkish Lavta


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