Walter Bitner

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The Lute : A Bibliography

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The Lute Appendix i

This is a list of text sources consulted for my series of articles, The Lute. It is a work in progress, and is not meant to be comprehensive. I will be adding to it through the process of developing the series.

I didn’t initially set out to write about the lute in such detail – I just found after the first few articles that I really wanted to. Beyond the instrument’s exquisite repertoire – which rivals those of the much younger keyboard and string instruments in its diversity, expression, technical and intellectual challenge, and power to move the musician and listener alike – the lute has a rich and colorful history that is intricately woven with many other threads into a tapestry that tells the story of not only music history, but of the development of what we think of as modern human society.

I don’t believe a deep appreciation and understanding of the history of our art is possible without a much deeper acquaintance with the lute and its repertoire than most musicians and music lovers acquire.

The story of the lute is like a puzzle whose pieces are hidden in drawers and boxes and closets all over the house and in the basement and attic of music history. Some of the pieces have fallen behind furniture and turn up when I’m not looking for them. Some pieces are hiding in plain sight and some I am still looking for. A few of them were borrowed by friends or students who haven’t returned them.

I am intentionally not citing references in these articles beyond quotes attributed within the body of the articles themselves – the vast majority of writing about the lute currently exists in academic and scholarly accounts. My goal with The Lute is to tell a good story well: the story of our instrument, those who played it, and the music they made with enough context from both contemporaneous history and hindsight that even the casual reader can make his or her own connections.

In writing these articles I draw on all of the resources listed below to varying extent but I am especially indebted to:

  • Douglas Alton Smith’s A History of the Lute
  • Matthew Spring’s The Lute in Britain
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians
  • the Petrucci Music Library at
  • the liner notes that accompany many of the recordings in my CD collection, most of which are listed in The Lute: A Discography
  • and the Journals and Quarterlies of the Lute Society of America.

With a few exceptions, this list does not yet include facsimiles of original prints and manuscripts or modern editions of the tablatures discussed or described in the articles.

*       *       *

The Lute, Its Exponents, & Its Repertoire

Abbott, Thea, 2013. Diana Poulton: The Lady with the Lute. Norwich: Smokehouse Press.

Campbell, Margaret, 1975. Dolmetsch: The Man and His Work. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Gale, Michael and Tim Crawford. John Dowland’s ‘Lachrimae’ in its Continental Context.

Gombosi, Otto, ed. 1983. Vincenzo Capirola Lute Book (circa 1517). New York: Da Capo Press.

Heartz, Daniel. 1964. Preludes, Chansons and Dances for Lute Published by Pierre Attangnant, Paris (1529-1530). Neuilly-sur-Seine: Société de Musique d’Autrefois.

Holman, Peter. 1999. Dowland: Lachrimae (1604). Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press.

Meyer, Ernst H. 1982. Early English Chamber Music. Edited by Diana Poulton. Boston: Marion Boyars.

Ness, Arthur. 1970. The Lute Music of Francesco Canova da Milano, 1497 – 1543. 2 volumes. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

North, Nigel. 1987. Continuo Playing on the Lute, Archlute and Theorbo. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Pilkington, Michael. 1989. Campion, Dowland and the Lutenist Songwriters. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Poulton, Diana. 1991. A Tutor for the Renaissance Lute: for the complete beginner to the advanced student. London: Schott & Co.

Poulton, Diana and Basil Lam. 1974/1978. The Collected Lute Music of John Dowland. London: Faber Music Limited.

Poulton, Diana. 1982. John Dowland. Second Edition. Berkeley and Los Angelos: University of California Press.

Smith, Douglas Alton. 2002. A History of the Lute from Antiquity to the Renaissance. The Lute Society of America.

Spring, Matthew. 2006. The Lute in Britain: A History of the Instrument and Its Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


General Music

Abraham, Gerald. 1979. The Concise Oxford History of Music.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Brown, Howard Mayer. 1965. Instrumental Music Printed Before 1600: A Bibliography. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Heartz, Daniel. 1969. Pierre Attaingnant, Royal Printer of Music: A Historical Study and Bibliographical Catalogue. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Hoppin, Richard H. 1978. Medieval Music. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Reese, Gustave. 1940. Music in the Middle Ages. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Reese, Gustave. 1954/1959. Music in the Renaissance, Revised Edition.  New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Sadie, Stanley, ed. 1980. The New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians. 20 volumes. London: Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Oxford Music Online

Strunk, Oliver. 1965. Source Readings in Music History: The Renaissance. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.


Other Resources

Baumgartner, Frederic J. 1995. France in the Sixteenth Century. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Brown University Italian Studies Department. Decameron Web: (accessed December 2015).

Castiglione, Baldasar. 1528. The Book of the Courtier. Translated by George Bull, 1967. London: Penguin Books.

Hale, John. 1994. The Civilization of Europe in the Renaissance. New York: Atheneum.

Kline, A.S. (accessed December 2015).

Simon, Kate. 1988. A Renaissance Tapestry: The Gonzaga of Mantua. New York: Harper & Row.


updated December 8, 2018

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The Lute:

I ~ Meet the Lute

II ~ Francesco da Milano

III ~ The Medieval Lute

IV ~ Petrarch’s Lyre

V ~ Renaissance Lute

VI ~ Baroque Lute (coming soon)

VII ~ Ottaviano Petrucci and the First Printed Lute Books

VIII ~ The Frottolists and the First Lute Songbooks

IX ~ The Capirola Lute Book

X ~ Music Printer to the King: Pierre Attaingnant

XI ~ Attaingnant’s Lute Books

XII ~ The Lute at the Court of Henry VIII


XIII ~ Diana Poulton



i ~ The Lute: A Bibliography

ii ~ The Lute: A Discography

iii ~ The Lute Society of America Summer Seminar West, 1996

iv a ~ Dowland on CD: A Survey of the Solo Lute Recordings: Part I

iv b ~ Dowland on CD: A Survey of the Solo Lute Recordings: Part II

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