Status Report: 30 July 2012

We are in the process of moving the entire site to a new server. The URL will be changing to "".

Status Report: 13 July 2012

A very small but rather important change today: back in the 1980s when I was in grad school, we were taught to abbreviate RISM sigla thus: US:Wc for "United States: Washington, DC, Library of Congress." In recent years, the trend has been towards a hyphen: US-Wc. This does not appear to alter Google searching, but I've made mostly global changes to the new style on the lute part of the site, and will make similar changes to the guitar part of the site next week (Guitar site revision complete 16 July 2012).

And speaking of the Library of Congress, I hope to make another research trip there at the end of this month . . .


Status Report: 22 June 2012

I have now finished with the British Union-Catalogue, adding 226 new sources, mostly anonymous eighteenth-cenutry guitar works. There are now over 5,100 manuscripts and prints for plucked strings listed on the page.


Status Report: 4 March 2012

There is an interesting note in part 9 of the RISM A series, p. 376: "The following categories have been excluded: a) All titles which are included in the British Union Catalogue. . . ." So all anonymous entries in the BUC are not included in RISM. For the past few weeks, I have been going through the BUC page-by-page, searching for lute/guitar references that are not already in my list. So far, I've added over 60 sources and I'm barely 10% through the book. For the next few weeks, look for more sources, mainly anonymous 18th-century guitar works.

In conjunction with this research, I added a few Corelli sources that specifically mention archlute or theorbo, based on the thematic index by H.J. Marx. Corelli bibliography is truly a maze of complexity, but I felt it was too important not to be listed more fully.

In addition, I am still adding sources found in articles in the British and American lute society journals, with only about 10 more issues to go . . .


Status Report: 30 April 2011

After more than a year of work, I have finished adding sources from the printed RISM A and B series.

The totals: 4,652 sources (prints and manuscripts), with 4 for the 15th century, 455 for the 16th century, 715 for the 17th century, 1,333 for the 18th century, 958 for the 19th century, 474 continuo sources (plus others that are already counted elsewhere), and 958 sources with no date. I may have to leave work on sources after 1750 to other scholars; there are simply too many and this is beyond my field of research (Renaissance and Baroque). Still, I hope it will be a start towards a better appreciation of the importance of the guitar in the period from 1750 to 1850.

For the immediate future, I need to bring the guitar pages up-to-date, html-wise, and begin to add more detailed notes on selected sources.


Status Report: 22 March 2011

Several projects are going on at once now:

1) I continue to update the .html of the page so that it is more standardized and readable in all modern browsers. Currently, I have finished with the lute pages but need to start on the guitar portion of the site.

2) I have been in correspondence with Monica Hall about Amat's works and several other guitar related questions. Amat's bibliography is one of the most complex I have come across. Currently, the list reflects her help and I will be adding individual pages as soon as I can get copies of several more sources.

3) In December 2010, I visited the Library of Congress and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. The results of a week's worth of work will be made available on the site soon.

4) Finally, I can't fail to mention that I am still adding sources, although the pace has slowed considerably. I still have several volumes of the RISM series to check, as well as items from the secondary literature and journals.


Status Report: 26 November 2010

Two major changes on the page:

1) The page was not displaying properly in some browsers, so I've updated the html coding and added .css style sheets to make things more uniform. Hopefully, this will fix any display issues.

2) I have updated the RISM VII series entries (the manuscripts) with citations to Sources manuscrites en tablature: Luth et théorbe (c.1500-c.1800), Christian Meyer, ed. The older RISM volume was badly in need of updating and has always been controversial; the SMT volumes do not cover guitar sources and the series is only partially complete, but it is well worth getting copies of it if you are serious about lute manuscripts (you can order from:


Status Report: 29 September 2010

I have just added 664 sources that are late eighteenth- and early-nineteenth century but cannot be dated exactly at this time. This brings the total of items on the Web page to 3,886. I will continue to add sources from the RISM addenda volumes ([HH...). See: List of Undated Late Sources

Status Report: 17 September 2010

I have just finished added anonymous ( [AN...) sources from RISM. I am currently through the letter G ( [GG...) in the addenda volumes, at least for items that could be dated. I still have a long list of sources that are probably 19th-century, but have not been securely dated and will be included in a "No Date" alphabetical list. Much work remains, but the list is already longer and more accurate than any other compiled to this point.

Status Report: 24 June 2010

Currently, I have two different lists that have been combined: the 16th-century plucked-string list and the (mostly) 17th-century guitar list. The contents pages that were done for these lists had slightly different formats and I am now trying to integrate and standardize them, as well as beginning to add new sources. For the latter, I am working in two different areas: early manuscripts that were not in Brown (who, of course, included only printed works) and 17th-century sources that were too late for Brown.

Status Report: 18 May 2010

I have finished a closer look at the 18th-century sources, to 1800. I will be adding a few more anonymous and incomplete sources from RISM and the BUC, and eventually will add the 19th-century and undated sources that are left over. At that point, I will begin what I feel will be the main thrust of this page for the future: continuing the work of Howard Mayer Brown's Instrumental Music Printed Before 1600: A Bibliography, but with only lute/guitar sources and including manuscripts and prints after 1600. More on this work as I continue over the summer . . .

Status Report: 15 May 2010

At present I am working on the dating of later 18th-century sources. My original list was based a bit too much on conjecture and I wanted to use a variety of cited sources to date more accurately these works. I am currently only up to 1795, so this work may take a week or more to finish. At that point, I will be adding an incomplete list of 19th-century and undated sources, left over from the original RISM list.

Status Report: 16 April 2010

I am currently working on the RISM A Series Addenda/Corrigenda volumes, the British Union Catalog, and a few other secondary sources. You might also notice a major change: the title has changed the word "Tablatures" to "Music," reflecting the wealth of 18th-century sources that are in standard notation.

Status Report: 29 March 2010

The initial run through the RISM A Series is complete. The totals: 2,431 sources (prints and manuscripts), with 5 for the 15th century, 438 for the 16th century, 643 for the 17th century, and 959 for the 18th century. In addition, there are 386 continuo sources (minus 45 that were already in the 17th century list).

Still to come: 1) the RISM A Series anonymous entries; 2) the RISM A Series Addenda/Corrigenda volumes; 3) the RISM B Series; 4) other sources such as the British Union Catalog and more recent monographs by guitar/lute scholars.

I'm sure there are still some errors and problems with the entries and I hope I will find them soon (or eventually). If you notice anything, you can e-mail me at:

Status Report: 20 February 2010

At this point, I seem to be making major decisions almost weekly with the list--and then re-considering. I have a growing list of non-tablature sources, primarily for basso continuo or just in standard notation. I wasn't going to add them to the main list, but I will add a separate list of items specifically calling for a lute instrument (theorbo, chitarrone, archlute) as part of the continuo accompaniment.

Late 18th-century sources present another problem: many of them are undated. Checking the approximate dates has led me to conclude that many of these sources from RISM are actually post-1800, and thus outside the scope of this project. But I will try to add the sources in standard notation up to 1799 . . .

Status Report: 22 January 2010

I have now completed the basic list up to 1600, with manuscripts and printed books. At this point, I am moving away from the thematic index and the database. I feel that a good chronological list of print and manuscript sources is useful and the most important thing I can provide at this point. Such a list may never be complete or free of errors, but I know of no other source that lists the information in this way and this completely.

Status Report: 15 December 2009

I have spent the majority of this year trying to have an .xml database designed for the Web site. At some point in the future, all or some of this page may be placed into such a database, but the structure has taken awhile to organize (especially since, for the first time, I am relying on others to do this design). I felt it was better to go ahead and put the information I have been collecting up on the site in the old format until something new can be worked out.

The major changes are the inclusion of manuscripts and the extension of the dates from the earliest sources until 1800. I know that is a huge project, but I feel that the division into two formats obscurs the overall picture; manuscripts are as important or more so for the story of this music as prints. I've also never seen a really complete chonological list that mixed both prints and manuscripts together in this way.

So while the people behind the scenes try to iron out the technical issues, enjoy some old-fashioned Web research, however clunky. I hope the list will be helpful.

Status Report: 24 February 2009

How time flies . . . In mid-career, I once again find myself with some more time to devote to the lute page and to the lute in general. I still would like to complete the initial project of having information about all of the tablatures on the site, not just a few here and there, but am insistent on looking at good facsimile or microfilm copies of before adding complete information on a particular publication. At present, I am completing the Bossinensis 1509 and 1511, Gerle 1533, and Pisador 1552.

Status Report: 12 August 2002

Minor changes to report; a few corrections here and there and continued format changes . . . More to come soon. The big news is that the baroque guitar page is up and running.

Status Report: 9 November 2001

I've made one major design change: no more watermark background. The trend in library Web pages is not to have a textured background as it makes it more difficult to see the text, especially for people with visual disabilities. Also: no more blue titles--they look too much like hyperlinks!

I'll be making more cosmetic changes in the near future, including shortening some of the pages that seem to go on and on. I'd also like to add some type of grading feature to help lutenists or guitarists hunting for repertoire; truthfully, a good percentage of the music here is of historical value only and will not be appropriate for the concert stage. Have patience and I will be adding more substantial information in the near future--including another page devoted to 17th century guitar music (my dissertation topic and an area where I have a good bit of unpublished research to contribute).

Status Report: 31 July 2000

Major changes! As you can tell by my e-mail address, I've accepted the position as Head of the Music Library at Appalachian State University. My Web page moves with me, so please update your links.

Status Report: 21 March 2000

I've begun Attaingnant 1529 and have acquired microfilms for several of the Phalèse editions. Also, I'm going back and entering the thematic indices for the Bossinensis books, one of which will hopefully be ready by the end of the week. I had thought of including only the solo works from these books, not the songs for voice and lute, but the system of transposition used is so important and complex that I think a complete index of the lute parts is necessary. I have omitted the voice part because it is in standard notation.

Status Report: 15 February 2000

I've added some notes about the lost Schlumberger tablature, as well as easier to read and understand tables for the German tablature charts (see, for example, the one for Judenkünig's first book). I should have complete information on both Judenkünig tablatures shortly and have started checking the microfilm of Attaingnant 1529. I've also added further notes to the Phalèse 1568 thematic index.

Status Report: 5 February 2000

The Phalèse 1568 thematic index is now about 90% complete. I now have 20 tablatures and 329 incipits online.

Status Report: 20 January 2000

I'm about half-way through the Phalèse 1568 thematic index. This tablature should prove useful in finding concordances, since a good deal of its pieces are taken from earlier repertoire. I envision the best method for searching as opening two browsers to the page, one with the piece in question and another to look through for possible matches. I assume an ability to read in both Italian and French tablature--sorry to any non-lutenists, but it is the most reliable way of conveying the original music. I have taken the liberty of "translating" German tablature into Italian tablature . . . I'm a purist, but German tablature is just too different visually to be of much use in comparing pieces.

Another change: since I have a search engine now, I've decided to take out the line breaks in the title page information (the "/" marks). This should make title searching more reliable.

Status Report: 14 January 2000

I'm currently working on Phalèse 1568. It's a long book with alot of pieces, so it may take several days . . . I've ordered the microfilm for several other Phalèse books. I only work with facsimiles or microfilms when entering the detailed information for this page; this avoids repeating errors from modern editions and keeps me dealing with the originals as much as possible.

I've also begun to add information about available facsimiles for these works, something I've wanted to do for some time. Other changes: a new search engine, which searches only my site, and, as you can now see below, I've decided to "archive" past updates rather than replace them.

Status Report: 30 December 1999

As the end of the year and of the 1900's draws to a close, I feel the need to pause for a little reflection about this page. I began writing it in 1995 in an era when the Web was in its infancy. Everything was written with HTML tags and laboriously transferred to the main server (by FTP), a process which usually took overnight. Any type of graphic slowed things down to a crawl, so my primary concern was the information itself.

Things have changed considerably in the last five years--now it seems everyone has a Web page. The old days of HTML markup have all but passed and Web-weaving is almost as easy as using a word processor (I still rely on old-fashioned coding when things get complex, however!). Most current pages are laden with fancy graphics; I have added a few (including a much-needed home page icon), but the overall look is still rather spartan and will remain so. The page is at its heart an annotated bibliography of text and tablature--an informal and sometimes personal guide to the repertoire.

This act of "self-publishing" has its rewards and its drawbacks. Rewards include the ability to reach a large audience very quickly, without having to haggle with editors and publishers. The drawbacks are, of course, that editors and publishers perform very useful and vital roles in polishing academic research before it reaches the broader public--they can keep scholars from making fools of themselves. Still, the freedom to write about whatever one wishes in whatever manner is convenient is intoxicating; it is research forever "in progress" and moving, sometimes at an agonizingly slow pace, toward a more and more complex Web of information.

It was this non-linear, "web" concept that attracted me to hypertext scholarship. I have tried to start a Web as broad as a general instrument designation (e.g., the vihuela in the sixteenth century) and as narrow as an individual dance from an obscure tablature. It's a mammoth project and may never really be completed, but nonetheless I've learned much along the way that will help in future projects.

Why should anyone trust the information here? After all, if I wanted I could call day night and make up silly and misleading information that could fill pages. The answer, I suppose, is accountability. Accountability towards Duke University--for which I work and from which I received a Ph.D. in musicology. This is not just a personal Web page, but a part of the Duke Library Web site: having an "edu" after the address means I'm not selling anything and have nothing to gain from fabricating information. But I am also accountable as a scholar and librarian and take those responsibilities very seriously. Finally, I've received enough E-mail from around the world to know that someone out there will be reading critically what is said here and will call attention to any errors.

So pardon the sometimes less-than-perfect prose and the not-so flashy format and hopefully I'll have much more to bring to the page next year . . .

 [ Lute Image ]