Amherst Early Music Festival 2023: Lute Fest East Class Descriptions

Download a PDF of the full class descriptions: Amherst Early Music Festival 2023: Lute Fest East Class Descriptions

Jason Priset

Broken Consort Ensemble

There is some discussion about what exactly is a “Broken Consort” in late 16th-century England. Morley’s Consort Lessons (1599) and Rosseter’s Lessons for Consort (1609) are for  the very specific instrumentation of lute, bandorra, bass viol, cittern, treble viol, and flute defining what a “consort” is and it wasn’t until Lord Chancellor’s records of 1660 that mention was made of a “broken consort” as the specific instrument ensemble mentioned above. Certainly, during the 16th century, there were consorts of like instruments (lutes, viols, or recorders for example) that were versions of popular pieces. This ensemble class will be open to instruments of all types, including lutes, viols, and wire strung instruments as well as others. We will focus on repertoire of the late-16th century  in the style of “broken consort” music from that time.

Chris Morrongiello

When to Her Lute Corinna Sings 

In the lute songs of the Elizabethan and Jacobean composers, music is at the service of poetry.  This age of Shakespeare, Jonson, Spenser, and Donne saw English verse rise to heights of expressivity still unsurpassed. To sing to the lute is an art barely separate from the art of declaiming verse. It requires clarity and beauty of tone, a natural flow of language, and a delicate sense of dialogue with the lute, the instrument of courtly love. In this course, Chris will discuss the repertoire and approaches to performance practice, including topics such as rhetoric, Elizabethan pronunciation, historical gesture, ornamentation, and varying the instrumentation or voices to better suit individual verses and dialogues. All singers and instrumentalists are welcome to attend and participate.

Interpreting Elizabethan & Jacobean Lute Music

Drawing upon his musicological research into the music of Daniel Bacheler and his contemporaries, Chris Morrongiello will lead students through a broad study of forms common to England’s “Golden Age” of lute music. Fundamental problems of editing, analysis, ornamentation, and interpretation will be explored. Participants are encouraged to prepare pieces for discussion and coaching. 

Fundamentals of Renaissance Lute Playing

In this course, Chris will cover the basic physiological mechanics involved in playing the renaissance lute well. He will deal with the fundamentals of right-hand thumb-under technique, the principles of left-hand finger placement (with special emphasis given to the thumb and little finger), and the “order,” or method, of choosing felicitous fingerings. He will also provide a checklist of problems to avoid, while offering insights into various ways of holding the lute, practicing, producing good tone, and playing in a relaxed, focused manner.

Ronn McFarlane

The Sources of Scottish Lute Music

In this class, we’ll examine the manuscript sources of Scottish lute music, read through some of the tunes, look at aspects of the style and follow the evolution of Scottish lute music in the 17th century.

Beyond the Basics

This class is devoted to describing the various elements that go into playing the lute at a high level of artistry. While there has been extensive writing about the scholarly and historical aspects of the lute, there is still fairly little detailed writing about how to play the lute beyond a basic level of instruction. I will focus on those aspects of lute playing (both technical and musical) that are not usually addressed in lute method books or in basic private instruction.

Grant Herreid

Masque Music

Dances and songs performed in the court masques and other entertainments, arranged for lute ensemble and other instruments. 

The Broadside Ballad

An exploration of the British broadside ballad, with accompaniments for lutes, citterns, bandoras, viols, and diverse other instruments. 

From Lute Song to Continuo Song

The beginnings of continuo accompaniment in England.

Download a PDF of the full class descriptions: Amherst Early Music Festival 2023: Lute Fest East Class Descriptions