Theorbo – Lute On Steroids… Who Knew?

Things you run into when wandering down a chain of videos and selecting the odd stuff…

Seems that there was a big musical revolution happening (opera) a few hundred years ago and the Lute was being left behind. To make up for that, Lute Folks made a kind of super-lute. The Theorbo. WAY long neck. More than a dozen strings. Yet it sounds very interesting. 10 minutes:

As a bonus video, this one has traditional Chinese instruments vs Western Orchestral instruments in a kind of high brow channeling “dueling banjos”… 4 minutes:

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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6 Responses to Theorbo – Lute On Steroids… Who Knew?

  1. Power Grab says:

    Wow! That dueling banjos video was amazing! What fun!

  2. Bill in Oz says:

    Nice video on the Theorbo and it’s origins. Especially good as I had never heard of it before.

    I noticed that she rarely played the fretwork for the long strings. So I guess they functioned as a sort of crone ensemble.. Similar to the dulcimer which used to be so popular in the USA.

  3. Bill in Oz says:

    I dance tango. And in tango the instrument of choice is the bandoneon. But the bandoneon has musical history far beyond tango. He is Astor Piazolla talking about the bandoneon in Spanish while in Germany where it was made in tens of thousands until 1939.

    Lovely talk by an extra ordinary musician !

  4. Another Ian says:


    Looks like a lute with tailfins?

  5. Bill in Oz says:

    And even Bach composed for the Theorbo..

    Just lovely !

  6. tom0mason says:

    To contrast and compare the theorbo and the 10 string guitar.
    So the theorbo is an extended lute …
    J.S. Bach: Prelude in C Minor “pour le luth” BWV 999; David Tayler, archlute


    Then there’s the guitar extended to 10 strings …
    J. S. Bach’s Prelude ‘C-minor’ BWV 999 | the Yepes ten-string guitar

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