NeologisticsMusic → Band Slides

Richard would leave his lute with me for as much as a week at a time. I no longer remember why, but as long as it was there, I practiced it earnestly until I learned to play it well enough that I could get through a few renaissance dances I had the music for.

Although quite similar to a guitar, the lute is more difficult to play. The E, A, D, G, and B are all double strings, the high E is a single string, and there is another higher single A string above that, which is the toughest change for a guitarist to get used to. Because of all those strings, the fretboard is quite broad. A full barre chord is just about impossible to play.

It's possible to play a lute well only if the instrument is held properly, in a position where the left elbow can come out, putting the bridge of the hand over the fretboard, and giving the fingers more vertical power. Amateur and rock guitarists are notorious for holding their instruments in all manner of award positions, probably because they think it makes them look macho, but it's a physiological fact that they hinder their playing by doing so. It's just not possible to play a lute that way. The fat body of a lute, like a basket, helps with keeping the instrument positioned.

As I commented in the recording notes toBefore There Was Time, it's possible or even likely that Richard played lute himself on the recording, because it sounds so good, and that I just stood in on this tune for rehearsals. I would love to hear Richard's own recollection of this, but he's not available by email, so our communications have been infrequent.

Lynn playing lute