Emanuel Wurstisen’s manuscript (CH-Bu Ms. F.IX.70) as a source of German lute tablature

Yavor Genov

The art of playing the lute has its “Golden age” during the 16th century. In that time lute became a symbol of the European culture in general. Development of lute music during the 16th century is widespread throughout whole Western part of the continent; contains a huge number of repertories, rich on varieties in form and style; is embodied by skillful virtuoso players and composers; continuously experiments and changes the instruments themselves. In that period lute music is notated on three main tablature systems, recently known as Italian, French and German tablatures. While the former two systems are “optical” and present pictorial vision of the lute fingerboard, the German tablature follows different mental path. The article in presence comments one of the distinguished lute manuscripts, created and preserved in Basel, Switzerland. The anthology by Emanuel Wurstisen is discussed as a source of late stage of German lute tablature. Discussion itself is preceded by information about the nature and peculiarities of German tablature in general. Based on that are the following observations on the problem of reading and using the manuscript, changes of the tablature, coming from changing the instruments around the time of Wurstisen. At the same time the article comments the manner of notating the book which is probably related to the origin of pieces themselves. Certain paleographical problems are put on discussion, supplied by comparative table of the character in usage. The latter has a certain practical purpose to supply the reader with a tool for easier working with the manuscript itself.

Emanuel Wurstisen’s manuscript (CH-Bu Ms. F.IX.70) as a source of German lute tablature (2015)

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