Music for the Lute

Lute, about 1630, probably Italian. Museum no. 1125-1869

Lute, about 1630, probably Italian. Museum no. 1125-1869

The lute, which derived from the Arabic Ud, came to Europe in the 13th century via Islamic Spain. The lute was adopted throughout the whole of Europe, becoming the most important instrument in Western music in the centuries that followed. Lutes were relatively cheap to make and were the most popular instruments in the Renaissance, though they were also made with the most expensive materials for rich households and patrons.

Many Renaissance paintings and prints show lutes being played in different circumstances: in church, in palaces, in a domestic environment, in street processions and in taverns. The lute was an instrument that many amateurs played and was certainly not only for professional musicians.

Audio: Washa mesa, Der Hupff Auff, Gassenhauer

This instrumental piece of music is from a book published in 1536 by Hans Neusidler in Nuremberg, Germany. This recording was made by the Royal College of Music especially for the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries thanks to an award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Download: mp3 | ogg

International Training Course

The Victoria and Albert Museum welcomes applications for ‘Creating Innovative Learning Programmes’, its new one week intensive course. This is a unique training opportunity for museum professionals from overseas who are interested in attracting and programming for a range of museum audiences.

Find out more

Shop online

Taboo DVD

Taboo DVD

 Boy George's hit musical Taboo is a glittering, funny and audacious spectacle celebrating the exotic fashions, the exuberant lifestyles and …

Buy now

Event - Solo Disco Scarf

Sat 21 March 2015 10:30–17:00

PRACTICAL WORKSHOP: Join Codasign to design an audio scarf into which you can plug in your own music player and headphones.

Book online