People who have purchased lutes from me in the past have all come to me with the common wisdom that the 8c. is the standard. Why would this be? Is it true now? Was it true in the past or something like that? Furthermore, for who? A first time buyer? A graduate school student studying guitar , who will only need one lute to complete the Masters program requirements? A Renaissance Fair performer? I wonder if this notion is a holdover from a time when historical or true lutes were hard to come by and players had to chose instruments for their versatility rather than for their appropriateness for a given period of music. In fact, it seems to me that the greater body of Renaissance lute music is for 6 and 7c instruments. Eight course music seems limited to the very end of the 16th century, and mostly English. French music seems to jump from 7c to 10c beginning with Francisque c.1600. I'm not quite sure about how the dates went for Italy, Netherlands, and Germany, but it would seem that 8c music is a small body of music by comparison, no? If I have made too gross a generalization or am just plain wrong, please correct me. Even as an amateur player, I know that the instrument needs to fit the music---why would you want the sympathetic ring of an 8c when playing Milan? As a luthier, I fined that the popular 58-62cm instruments do best as 6 and 7 courses as a large bridge can choke a small sound board. I would think a 7c at 62-63cm is a good way to go, but appear to be "going against the grain". If an 8c is "the standard", can someone explain this to me?
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