- After Magno Dieffopruchar, Venice c.1610 (Vienna Kunsthistorischesmuseum C45)
String length: 64-67 / 130-140 cm
Archlute is a generic term to describe any kind of double strung lute-family instrument tuned in the “Renaissance tuning” with a neck extension to accommodate a number of single or double courses that widen diatonically the lower register of these lutes. They came in all shapes and forms. Some of them had bodies as small as a typical alto lute (commonly called “liuto attiorbato”) whereas others were almost as big as theorbos. The main feature that distinguish archlutes from other extended neck instruments is the lack of re-entrant tuning.
Archlutes were not only used for solo music (of which quite extensive repertoire exists) but also for continuo accompaniment, specially in the last quarter of the XVII Century and the first half of the XVIII.
A very versatile instrument suitable for continuo as well as solo repertoire. It can be built with a string length ranging from 64 to 67 cm. The shorter version (640 mm) retains 8 tied frets in the fingerboard and has the advantage of having the possibility to be tuned at both a=440 and 415 Hz. This shorter string length has the added advantage of making the solo repertoire more manageable, specially for those players with smaller hands. Its body is big enough to have a robust projecting sound while retaining the refinement that the solo repertoire requires.
The second neck has a string of 140 cm, which is necessary for a full sound of the gut diapasons. This length may be reduced by using special gut strings with an inner brass or copper wire (like those made by Kürschner, Gamut and Kathedrale). This may be handy for travelling musicians who do not wish to carry a full-sized instrument for their engagements.
After Martinus Harz, Rome 1665 (Edinburgh University)
String length: 67 /144 cm
With a large full body and long diapasons this is an ideal choice for those who mainly are interested in continuo playing and have hands large enough to handle it. Although the Dieffopruchar model above has the sound potential of being heard in a whole orchestra, this archlute provides an extra “punch” in the bass register that almost rivals that of a theorbo.
Some pictures of this instrument will be posted here soon.
Video of Eitan Hoffer trying out his new Dieffopruchar archlute
(click to play)
After Mattheus Buechenberg, Rome 1614
(London, Victoria & Albert Museum No.190-1882)
String length: 85-89 / 160-178 cm
After Johannes Hieber & Andreas Pflanzelt.
(Musées d'art et d'histoire, Ville de Genève (IM 0080)
String length: 49 / 76 cm
Prélude et Noël - Étienne Lemoyne played by Jonathan Stuchbery 14c Buechenberg Theorbo
(click to play)