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.

modernlutescals

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

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