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Thread: The Baroque Theorbo

  1. #1
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default The Baroque Theorbo

    Interesting instrument

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: The Baroque Theorbo

    I conducted a performance of Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610, we used one of those. It was 20 years ago in New Jersey; I can't remember the player just now but I remember he insisted I not refer to it as a "bass lute," which is a different instrument. Wonderful sound, very 1610!

  4. #3
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Baroque Theorbo

    They're really cool. The baroque group I play with is fortunate enough to have a theorbo. If you're sitting to the player's left, watch your head! Very cool sound. Here's another example of one—some of the comments are pretty entertaining.


  5. #4
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Baroque Theorbo

    So a theorbo is sort of like a Pete Seeger model lute. Taken to an extreme.

    I have been watching eBay for over a year now waiting for a beat up theorbo to surface. If I see one for $50 or so, I'm gonna snag it.
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  6. #5
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Baroque Theorbo

    Those are very cool.
    I played one at an early music festival in London back in the 80s.
    It was a little bit overwhelming in size, but cool none the less.

    I played Renaissance Lute in my teens.
    This family of instruments are lovely to play.
    The tone is angelic, with a sort of built in reverb.
    Very delicately built though.
    You have to be very gentle with them.
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  7. #6

    Default Re: The Baroque Theorbo

    Quote Originally Posted by CWRoyds View Post
    This family of instruments are lovely to play.
    The tone is angelic, with a sort of built in reverb.
    Very delicately built..
    I enjoy playing oud for this reason - it's a sound we don't get from our other (modern) stringed instruments.

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  9. #7

    Default Re: The Baroque Theorbo

    Good stuff. "Almost thou persuades me to buy a theorbo." (Acts 26:28, paraphrased) Sting does a good job. His axe looks different--shorter--than the theorbo I saw on the vid on FB. Still nice.

    I want an oud too, catmandu2. I lived in Lebanon as a kid and had one as a decoration. I want one to PLAY now. It has that earthy Middle Eastern sound that I love.

  10. #8
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Baroque Theorbo

    Henry, I wonder how much the shipping would be on a six-foot long $50 theorbo. Will USPS or FedEx even take something that long? You would want at least a seven-foot box for it.

  11. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Baroque Theorbo

    Quote Originally Posted by HonketyHank View Post
    So a theorbo is sort of like a Pete Seeger model lute. Taken to an extreme.
    Really a Pete Seeger harp lute. It is a lute with bass extensions.

    We were joking about this instrument back in 2006 in the Classical section of this site and I put this photo of Victor K playing a teorbazooka.

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    Jim

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  13. #10
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Baroque Theorbo

    BluesPreacher, Sting's theorbo is a bit different and shorter because the one in the first video is a period piece (or a fairly accurate reproduction of one). I was watching a series of videos on period instruments used by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment when I found that one on the theorbo.

    LouiseNM, as a cellist, you might be interested in watching some of the other videos (baroque cello, baroque viola, etc.). I've enjoyed the series thus far; the giant old contrabassoon is something to hear.

    The entire series playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...KRg8Ft-ttK4_Eh
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  14. #11

    Default Re: The Baroque Theorbo

    Pro tip: don't play an instrument that you can be hanged from—unless you can really pull it off!

  15. #12

    Default Re: The Baroque Theorbo

    I remember with joy and laughter Jim's theorbazooka montage. I also recall managing an event at Lincoln Center during my arts management days. Auditions season had started and a theorbo player was expected to arrive any minute as part of some early music ensemble. Suddenly, the intercom rang from the security desk downstairs, asking to speak to me. "A gentleman is here to see you", said the guard. "He has, ah... something with him. He says it's an instrument."

    And I thought I've had a rough life, playing the double bass professionally over the past 40 years...

    Enjoy your nifty, portable mandolins, friends!

    Cheers,

    Victor
    It is not man that lives but his work. (Ioannis Kapodistrias)

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