Lute Tutorial

The aim of this tutorial is to provide an introduction and practical guide to the basic principles for those considering studying the lute. This lesson may also be of interest to the modern guitarist wishing to experience the history surrounding the early lute repertoire. So much academic research and scholarly writing is available, it soon becomes clear that, playing the lute is a big subject! This tutorial is designed to give easy access and an understanding to the right hand thumb/index finger technique, with a few handy tips along the way from a modern lutenist.

The Thomas Robinson’s teaching manuscript of 1603 ‘The Schoole Of Musicke’, has inspired me to write this brief resource. I wish to quote from Robinson’s preface and reference his teachings. I always advise folks to go directly to the original source and you can view a digital facsimile of the full manuscript by following the link:,_Thomas) In the preface, Robinson writes in great detail a method for technique, tuning, holding the instrument and a detailed account of how to read  tablature. (Tablature is the musical notation for the lute.) As mentioned above, in this tutorial, I am concentrating on the expected technique of the right hand. I have provided musical examples and practice-aid recordings to help the student get started on a practical level. I have assumed the knowledge of reading the tablature. This is another very large subject area. To pick up the basics for this, I recommend Diana Poulton’s book ‘A Tutor for the Renaissance lute’. You can also download PDF copies of the musical examples in this tutorial for your own convenience.

School of Music - CoverContents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Tutorial

Subheadings to the tutorial.

  • Guide Notes
  • Before you Start
  • And Now to the Lute
  • Passemezo Galyard
  • To Conclude