Chronological List of Tablatures before 1500

There are a few sources of tablature from the fifteenth century, all manuscripts. Note that the list contains primarily music in some form of lute tablature, not music in staff notation or "keyboard" tablature that might possibly have been played on the lute. Therefore, several early sources such as the Segovia Codex, Faenza Codex, or Buxheim Organ Book, are not included here. Some early performers played both keyboard instruments and the lute, such as Conrad Paumann and Bonifacius Amerbach; perhaps it was possible for some lutenists to read from what is traditional thought to be keyboard tablature (with letters naming the notes). For more information, see: David Fallows, "15th-Century Tablatures for Plucked Instruments: A Summary, a Revision and a Suggestion." in Songs and Musicians in the Fifteenth Century (Aldershot, Hampshire: Variorum, 1996): 7-33.

These manuscript sources are from RISM and Frühe Lautentabulaturen im Faksimile/Early Lute Tablatures in Facsimile by Crawford Young and Martin Kimbauer (Winterthur: Amadeus, 2003). "RISM B/VII" refers to Wolfgang Boetticher, Handschriftlich Überlieferte Lauten- und Gitarrentabulaturen des 15. bis 18. Jahrhunderts (Munich: G. Henle, 1978). "SMT" refers to Sources manuscrites en tablature: Luth et théorbe (c.1500-c.1800), Christian Meyer, ed. (Baden-Baden & Bouxwiller, Valentin Koerner, 1991- ). The names of places have been given their modern English equivalent, for consistency, and the modern political names of the countries in which cities are located have been added in brackets.

D-Rp Ms. Th. 98 4° [1457-1476]
"Regensburg Diagram." (Regensburg? [southern Germany])
  • 5-course lute? diagram in German tablature [no actual music]
D-Wa cod. VII B Hs Nr. 264 [c1460]
"Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature" [see Marc Lewon, The Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature] (Braunschweig (Brunswick), [Germany])
  • 5-course lute in tablature similar to the Kassel Lautenkragen
D-B Ms. germ. qu. 719 [1470-1473]
"Königstein Liederbuch." (Königstein, [Germany]) [RISM B/VII p. 17; SMT II p. 19]
  • 5-course lute? and/or voice in German tablature
D-Kl 2° Ms. Math. 31 [1475-1500]
"Kassel Lautenkragen." (Fritzlar, [Germany])
  • 5-course lute diagram with German keyboard tablature [no actual music]
I-PESo MS Pesaro 1144 [1490-1511]
"Pesaro Manuscript." (San Lorenzo in Campo? [Italy]) [RISM B/VII p. 283]
  • 6-course lute in French tablature
  • 6-course lute in Neapolitan tablature
  • 6-course lute in Italian tablature [sample chords only]
  • lira da braccio in Italian tablature