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The Unusual 17th Century Instrument The Archlute

Jun 3, 2008
Developed sometime during the late 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century, the archlute is a stringed instrument that was played by plucking the strings. It is a necked bowl instrument, named as such because of its shape and design. Before the archlute was created, the theorbo, which was a larger version of the archlute, and the tenor lute were what people played. It is believed that the main reason for the creation of the archlute was to find a compromise between the theorbo and the tenor; the archlute held some characteristics and abilities of both, but it was smaller and easier to carry around. It was the instrument of choice for many soloists during most of the 17th century, though this would change later on as it would be favored over the theorbo.

Near the end of the 17th century, the archlute was becoming more popular all the time. During the first part of the 17th century, the archlute was often played alone while the theorbo and tenor lute were played with other instruments, but in the later part of the century the archlute was being used instead of the other two instruments.

As time went on, the archlute started taking the place of the theorbo more and more until the theorbo was rarely used. The archlute may have had more strings than the other two instruments and may have needed more practice to learn how to tune and play properly, but it was one that could meet all the demands where the others could not. It was more versatile than the others; this was probably the biggest reason why it was favored over the others so quickly.

Today, it is not often that a person will see an archlute. When someone looks at an archlute, they will think of the guitar and focus more on that because the guitar is a more familiar instrument of today. The archlute is something of the past that many people have never heard of and so will not think of playing it. There are a few who have done their research in music or have heard of the archlute somehow and have found an interest in it. It is not an instrument for the faint of heart.

While someone who is an experienced player of the archlute can make it seem very simple to play, someone new to playing it will find it quite a challenge. The sheet music that the archlute uses is also quite unique and would be a puzzle to a beginner in music. Like any instrument, it will take time and patience to practice the instrument until the musician has gained some good understanding and control of it.

The archlute is a unique instrument that can still find its place in the music world today, it just depends on whether someone decides to give it a try and incorporate it into their music. It is also a great instrument for someone who is looking for a hobby.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments. You can find the best marketplace for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments at these sites for used archlute CDs, autographed archlute CDs, and used archlutes.
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