The ‘Cohort for Guitar Research’

In April 2017 a new research group, The Cohort for Guitar Research, met in the Old Library of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, to hear a range of excellent papers (and in several cases some fine performances) by scholars and instrument makers. For the titles of the papers, see the Colloquia page. The new group is affiliated to the Consortium and is principally for younger and early-career scholars, (though it is not restricted to them) who have reached the judging stage for election to the Andrew Britton Fellowship. Under normal circumstances, the Cohort will meet in alternate years when there is no Consortium meeting. The photograph shows Sarah Clarke, Miles Henderson Smith, Reggie Lawrence, Samantha Muir, Martin Damian Gil, Jan van Cappelle, Nicoletta Confalone, Jelma van Amersfoort, Erik Stenstadvold, James Westbrook, Thomas Heck, Paul Sparks, Gerhard Penn, Luis Briso de Montiano, Taro Takeuchi, Brian Jeffery and Christopher Page.

Participant Jan van Cappelle wrote an excellent report of his experiences, which can be read here.

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Nicholas Bessaraboff Prize

Consortium member Christopher Page’s new book The Guitar in Tudor England has been awarded the Nicholas Bessaraboff Prize, given annually for the best book in English in furtherance of the purpose of the American Musical Instrument Society to promote the understanding of all aspects of the history, design, construction, and usage of musical instruments in all cultures and from all periods. Congratulations!

A new book by Panagiotis Poulopoulos

Consortium member Panagiotis Poulopoulos has published a book in the series ‘Deutsches Museum Studies’. The book concerns the early history and development of the musical instrument collection at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, particularly in relation to issues of provenance and authenticity of stringed instruments.

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The book is titled New Voices in Old Bodies: A Study of ‘Recycled’ Musical Instruments with a Focus on the Hahn Collection in the Deutsches Museum.

A large number of historic musical instruments that survive in museums have been drastically transformed through a process of ‘recycling’. Although often leading to the loss or distortion of original features, these ‘recycling’ transformations can also reveal a wealth of information about the history of these artefacts and how they were valued and treated by their various owners and users during their lifetime.

This book presents and analyses several representative cases of ‘recycled’ stringed instruments focusing on the Hans Hahn collection, the first major collection of musical instruments that was acquired by the Deutsches Museum in 1906. Using a combination of object-based and archival research, the book provides a comprehensive insight into the foundation and development of the musical instrument department at the Deutsches Museum in the beginning of the twentieth century while discussing issues of provenance and authenticity of historic instruments.

The book is published in print form (ISBN 978-3-95645-885-9, price: € €29,90), but is also available for free downloading (ISSN 2365-9149, PDF-Download) at the website of the Deutsches Museum here:

http://www.deutsches-museum.de/fileadmin/Content/010_DM/050_Forschung/studies-2-gesamtlayout.pdf

For more info on the series and the book see here:
http://www.deutsches-museum.de/verlag/aus-der-forschung/studies/

The Regency Lute

Taro Takeuchi has been doing research on the Regency lute and its music. He recently recorded a CD using a rare original Regency lute by Buchinger belonging to the Butcher Row House Museum in Ledbury, and now he is writing an article on this subject. In this article, extant instruments, the original sources, the repertory and the playing technique are discussed in detail, contributing to a re-discovery of the forgotten lute and its music in the Regency period.

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The Buchinger instrument from Ledbury’s Butcher Row House Museum

Around 1800, the instrument called ‘lute’ or ‘modern lute’ gained popularity for a short period of time. The typical instrument had an egg-shaped body with 10 single gut strings. The most prominent London craftsmen building them were Buchinger, Barry and Harley. Additionally, older lutes from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were converted into modern lutes.

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The ‘natural scale’ of the modern lute

For the Regency lute, several major instruction/music books were published in the early 1800s in London as well as some individual pieces. Many of these works were arrangements of contemporary popular tunes and dances. However, there were also a number of unique and creative pieces, such as sonatas, rondos and lute songs.

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Taro Takeuchi recording on the Ledbury instrument

Book reviews

Christopher Page’s new monograph:  The Guitar in Tudor England: a social and musical history, was described as ‘impeccably conceived, comprehensively researched and exquisitely written’ by John Milsom in his book review ‘Tudor books and guitars’ in Early Music, May 2016.

A review of the same tome in the North American journal Soundboard Scholar read: ‘What Christopher Page has penned […] is an elegant amalgam of social history and musicology mainly in one country. He makes creative and meticulous use of a wealth of the available research materials, many of them unique to England. He writes with elegance and insight, and provides an exhaustive bibliography. For anyone interested in building a library on the history of the guitar, this should be the essential first volume.’ Richard Long, Soundboard Scholar Volume 2, 2016.

The Consortium has a Patron

We are  delighted to announce that Brian Whitehouse has agreed to become the patron of the Consortium.  Brian is director of the Classical Guitar Centre in Birmingham.  He has had a long teaching career, having held appointments in the music departments at many of England’s universities and colleges. Recent publications are The Ramirez Collection – History and Romance of the Spanish Guitar and The Tárrega-Leckie Guitar Manuscripts –  Lessons with the Maestro. Currently in preparation is a further book and recordings relevant to Tárrega and Dr Leckie.

Brian Whitehouse with Andres Segovia in 1986.

Brian Whitehouse with Andres Segovia in 1986.