The eighteenth century triple pegbox lute: from instrument to theory and back

01 November 2023 → 31 December 2029
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Musical instruments and instrument design
  • Natural sciences
    • Acoustics and acoustical devices, waves
Instrument making Music History Organology
Project description

The focus of this project is the reconstruction and testing of the thirteen-course triple pegbox lute. This instrument was built and used in the first half of the eighteenth century in the German-speaking world, just before the decline of the lute. Instruments from several families of luthiers have survived to the present day, of which the Jauck family is the most prominent. All these lutes will be measured and analysed in order to document them and work out the underlying principles used in their construction. These measurements and principles will be used to design several prototypes of the most common configurations of this instrument-type. These will then be acoustically tested to see if they provide a better sound than the other, more commonly used, thirteen-course lute types. To understand this instrument type, part of this research aims to gather information on the builders, historical context and music surrounding the thirteen-course lute by examining historical and modern sources on these topics. In addition, the thirteen-course lute and the lute in general in the eighteenth century will be studied through iconography, treatises, manuscripts and other surviving lutes of the period. None of these sources alone provides sufficient information to answer all the questions that arise. The pieces of information will be subjected to a process of cross-examination and the unanswered questions will be filled in through a creative process based on my experience as a luthier.