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NickA

Theorbo !!

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TAS: Theorbo Acquisition Syndrome. 

I really need one of these babies to add to my bassy instrument collection.  The 7 extra strings have a longer scale than my 4/4 double bass.  Never mind your 6 string basses, this has 14 "courses".  The idea is that you fret the top 7 strings and pluck the bottom 7 with your thumb to create a bass line.  This particular one appears to allow some of the "bass" strings to be fretted too.

image.thumb.png.681d4b10f4aff0bf01bea60eb5d73bf5.png

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Love them, me, and have done so since the early 70s - a period when we could just walk into our local music shop and try and buy Renaissance instrument copies. What a wonderful time!

Based on my experience with the viola da gamba, I'd say: "Do it! Do it!" 🙂

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Have you seen the orchestra of the enlightenment? I’d never heard of a theorbo until I saw them. I believe the neck is hinged.

 

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Just downloaded Elizabeth Kenny's solo works from linn records!  I used to go in the the early music shoppe at every opportunity but never saw an actual theorbo.  Did have a go on a Racket tho, but last year when I decided to buy myself the " build your own racket" kit for Xmas found they'd discontinued it 😞

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How do you tune it? 

I don't know which is more mad, this or the bass balalaika our mandolinist keeps trying to make buy 

Edited by Maude

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I went to a concert in Norwich Cathedral a few years back featuring the superb Norwich Baroque group. Their theorbo player is blind..!

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Stops him looking at his fingers I guess. 

But he must have an incredible memory for sequences of notes.  I need a chord chart for an 8-bar blues and once forgot the opening bass line to Miles Davis' All Blues (the pianist had to play it to me so I could join in)!

As I struggle to learn 5-string bass after decades playing but four strings ... I am increasingly amazed at these people's skill.

Image result for baroque lute

(not a Theorbo but an 18 course baroque lute with 24 individual strings to tune)

On 27/07/2019 at 20:18, BassTractor said:

Based on my experience with the viola da gamba, I'd say: "Do it! Do it!" 

... my experience with (my Dad's) viola da gamba is that it has too many strings, which are tuned in unequal intervals (not even the same intervals as a guitar) and all the music is written in the one clef I never previously had to read and POLYPHONICALLY so you have to read lots of notes in a strange clef at once.   It was my, retired professional 'cellist, Dad's retirement project and out-witted even him!

Theorbo and lute music seems to be mostly written out in Tab - which is something else I've never mastered. :¬)

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Found this quite interesting: the same R. de Visée prelude played on four different instruments: theorbo, lute, baroque guitar and harpsichord.

 

 

Edited by BassTractor
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Lutes and theorbo’s et al are such glorious instruments! They sound so warm and “olde”, unlike the modern classical guitar. I play lute, not terribly well.  There isn’t a great deal of consistency in the written music as there are at least four ways of writing a score - French, German, Italian and then modern piano. If I have it right the French and German methods use letters instead of numbers for the frets (a = open, b= 1st fret etc) and the Italian method uses numbers. They were not always written the same way up, either! Generally, the Italian method could be written “right way up” (high string = on top of the tab staff), or upside down, and you don’t know until you start playing the piece which way up you are supposed to be reading.

Note values are written once at the first occurrence of that value and stay in place until the value changes - it makes so much sense when you play it! Much better than the modern piano nonsense.

Tuning - well, my lute is in Renaissance tuning. From low to high it runs ... D F G C f a d g. 8 courses but fifteen strings. Octave pairs until “f” then they are unison until “g” which is a single string. Many guitar chord shapes work very well in this tuning, thankfully, as the G-d strings are a tone down from standard guitar tuning.

Lutes with free floating ie no neck, bass strings are generally tuned in some kind of scale. I don’t know enough about this has I can neither afford nor justify one of these baroque lutes, but I’d like one!

Needless to say, it’s a bugger to play and tune!

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On 11/08/2019 at 19:03, BassTractor said:

Found this quite interesting:

Yes, very.  Theorbo best .. but the guitar and harpsichord grew on me.

Been playing Bach and correlli on my 5 string bass guitar .. now have to find some Visee to play

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Don't watch the videos and it sounds like a piano

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