- After Magno Dieffopruchar, Venice c.1610 (Vienna Kunsthistorischesmuseum C45)
String lenght: 64-67 / 130-140 cm
Archlute is a generic term to describe any kind of double strung lute-family instrument tuned in the “Renaissance tuning” with a neck extension to accommodate a number of single or double courses that widen diatonically the lower register of these lutes. They came in all shapes and forms. Some of them had bodies as small as a typical alto lute (commonly called “liuto attiorbato”) whereas others were almost as big as theorbos. The main feature that distinguish archlutes from other extended neck instruments is the lack of re-entrant tuning.
Archlutes were not only used for solo music (of which quite extensive repertoire exists) but also for continuo accompaniment, specially in the last quarter of the XVII Century and the first half of the XVIII.
A very versatile instrument suitable for continuo as well as solo repertoire. It can be built with a string length ranging from 64 to 67 cm. The shorter version (64cm) retains 8 tied frets in the fingerboard and has the double advantage of having the possibility to be tuned at both a=440 and 415 Hz and also making the solo repertoire more manageable specially for those players with smaller hands. Its body is big enough to have a robust projecting sound while retaining the refinement that the solo repertoire requires.
The second neck has a string of 140 cm and which is necessary for a full sound of the gut diapasons. This length may be reduced if special gut strings with a brass or copper wire inside (made by Kürschner, Gamut and Kathedrale). This may be handy for travelling musicians that do not wish to carry a full sized instrument for their engagements.
After Martinus Harz, Rome 1665 (Edinburgh University)
String lenght: 67 /144 cm
With a large full body and long diapasons this is an ideal choice for those who mainly are interested in continuo playing and have hands large enough to handle it. Although the Dieffopruchar model above has the sound potential of being heard in a whole orchestra, this archlute provides an extra “punch” in the bass register that almost rivals that of a theorbo.
Some pictures of this instrument will be posted hier soon.
After Mattheus Buechenberg, Rome 1614
(London, Victoria & Albert Museum No.190-1882)
String lenght: 85-89 / 160-178 cm