Resources for Scholarly Research on the Lute



  • Music for Lute Instruments, being compiled by Peter Steur, with input from Markus Lutz.
  • Manuscript Catalog of The British Library, with a useful search engine.
  • Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music, a listing of facsimiles of manuscripts of medieval music, some of which are available on line – not necessarily lute music, but some of the pieces are appropriate for performance on medieval lute or gittern.
  • The Motet Catalog, indexing more than 50,000 motets and mass proper incipits in printed and manuscript anthologies originating between 1475 and 1600.  Many, though not yet all single-composer prints are included.


Dissertations & Theses

The Herwarth Lute Manuscripts at the Bavarian State Library, Munich (Part 1) – A bibliographical study with Emphasis on the Works of Marco dall’Aquila and Melchior Newsidler by Arthur J.Ness, February 1984 (PhD Dissertation, New York University) 

The Herwarth Lute Manuscripts at the Bavarian State Library, Munich (Part 2) – A bibliographical study with Emphasis on the Works of Marco dall’Aquila and Melchior Newsidler by Arthur J.Ness, February 1984 (PhD Dissertation, New York University) 

The Late Sonatas of Sylvius Leopold Weiss.pdf  – by Douglas Alton Smith, May 1977 (PhD Dissertation, Stanford University)

Mus. Ms. 1511b: A Historical Review of a Lute Manuscript in the Herwarth Collection at the Bavarian Library, Munich by Douglas William Beasley; a dissertation for the M.M. degree at the University of North Texas, Denton, 2007. (PDF file, 2.03 MB)

La tiorba ed il suo uso in Italia come strumento per il basso continuo,” by Diego Cantalupi; the dissertation for his degree in musicology in 1996 at the Università di Pavia, revised in 2006 for publication on the Internet (in Italian).

Giovanni Antonio Terzi and the Lute Intabulations of late sixteenth-century Italy” by Suzanne E. Court, a dissertation analyzing the lute works of Giovanni Antonio Terzi, which are contained in his two tablature collections published in Venice in 1593 and 1599. The second volume of the dissertation includes 45 transcriptions of intabulations and fantasias by Terzi and his contemporaries.

 English Lute Manuscripts and Scribes 1530-1630
 by Julia Craig-McFeeley; a study of the English Lute Manuscripts of the so-called ‘Golden Age’, including a detailed catalogue of the sources.

The Five-Course Guitar and Seventeenth-Century Harmony:  Alfabeto and Italian Song by Alexander Dean; a dissertation for the Ph. D. degree at the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, Rochester NY, 2009. (Six PDF files)

Lute Realizations for the English Cavalier Songs (1630-1670) – A Guide for Performers
 by Gus Denhard; a D.M. dissertation at Indiana University, 2006.
This project is a dissertation prepared in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Music, at Indiana University, Bloomington Indiana, May 2006.  The study consists of an in-depth look at the theory and practical aspects of providing an accompaniment for English song between approximately the death of John Dowland and the Restoration.  Its preparation was carried out under Elisabeth Wright, Research Director, and Nigel North, Chair of the Committee. 
The text is copyright Gus Denhard, ©2006, and may not be distributed further without permission. Quotations should be referenced appropriately.

Die Lautenbücher Philipp Hainhofers (1578 – 1647) by Joachim Lüdtke; his dissertation, completed at Göttingen, 1999 (in German)

French Baroque Lute Music from 1650-1700 by Robin Rolfhamre; a masters degree dissertation at Agder University, 2010.

The Guitar, Theorbo, and Lute Works of Robert de Visee: a Study of His Process of Arranging.pdf 
– by Catherine Liddell, July 1976 (Thesis, Schola Cantorum  Basiliensis)

The Vihuela Fantasia, A Comparative Study of Forms and Styles – by John Anthony Griffiths, PhD Dissertation, Monash University.

Transformational Practices in Fifteenth-Century German Music – by Marc Lewon, St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford D.Phil. Thesis in Music Michaelmas Term, 2017

Informed Play: Approaching a Concept and Biology of Tone Production on Early Modern Lute Instruments – by Robin Rolfhamre Nordic Open Access Scholarly Publications

The popular lute: an investigation of the function and performance of music in France between 1650 and 1700 – Robin Rolfhamer (PhD) University of Agder.

Educational YouTube Channels

  • Early Music Sources Videos hosted by Elam Rotem to accompany the online database at
  • me:mo Video essays by Lukas Henning about music and art history. “The aim is to present music in its cultural context, offering a glimpse into the lives behind it, past and present.”

General References

  • Handbuch der Notationskunde” by Johannes Wolf (Leipzig, Breitkopf und Härtel, 1919), freely available in many formats, including several for e-readers. Lute tablature is treated in Chapter 2, beginning on p. 35.
  • Taking Care of Your Lute:  simple straightforward instructions compiled by Jiří Čepalák


  • An extensive iconography of the lute, compiled by Mary Rasmussen, University of New Hampshire, divided geographically and chronologically (scroll down to Lute Iconography).


  • The FoMRHI Bulletin on line in PDF format.  This journal contains many articles relating to historical lute construction and stringing. The complete tables of contents are posted on a separate page where they can be searched easily in your browser.