Simplish Lute Pieces for Guitar

These are recordings of what I think are interesting but not too complicated lute pieces from the Renaissance. In some cases I have missed out the more elaborate sections or divisions because, simply put, I can't play them (yet).


I have transposed some pieces into what I consider to be an easier key.


I've written my own tab for a solo version of no. 1, and also for nos. 3, 5 and 9 and can supply them on request. The other tabs are easily available online.


The pieces were recorded on a PC using the free Audacity software. For duets, each part is on a separate stereo channel.


I have found that recording yourself playing is an excellent way to learn how bad you sound, but it does make you improve.


Unless otherwise mentioned, the guitar is tuned like a 6-course Renaissance lute in G, i.e. the third string is lowered from G to F# and a capo is fitted to the third fret.


The guitar is a Hokada, and has served me well for decades, though the action is a little high.


1 The Spanish Pavan

A shortened adaptation of a duet by Alfonso Ferrabosco (c.15751628), edited from a free tab.

2 Drewries Accordes

An anonymous 16th century duet. Lutenist Lynda Sayce has made a pair of excellent YouTube videos playing each part separately. Part 1   Part 2

3 Pavane

By Vincenzo Capirola (1474 c.1548). Played without a capo with the 6th string tuned down to D. There is a very similar anonymous version called The Duke of Somerset's Dompe.

4 Ricercare No. 16

By Francesco Canova da Milano (1497 1543). There is an excellent tutorial on this by Bradford Werner, with a free tab.

5 The Shoemaker's Wife

By John Dowland (1563-1626). I have transposed this from F to C. I have not found out anything about said shoemaker or his wife, but as Northampton, where I live, was a shoe town, maybe they were local?

6 Quadro Pavin Galiard

An anonymous piece, no. 25 in the Lute Society's 58 Very Easy Pieces for Renaissance Lute.

7 The Earl of Essex's Galliard

Another John Dowland piece, here given a bit of an electronic tweak on the repeats. I have unashamedly left out the embellished divisions of the original. I learnt this before I knew about lute tuning and the 3rd string here is tuned as normal for a guitar.

8 Passemeze & Passemeze Pavin

Two anonymous pieces rolled into one, nos. 54 and 55 in 58 Very Easy Pieces.

9 The Frog Galliard

Another  John Dowland piece, transposed from G to F. As with the Earl of Essex I have left out the elaborate bits. Maybe next time.

10 Half-step Hoedown

A modern take on the Passamezzo Moderno. Starts off with a couple of bars from a piece by Diego Ortiz (c.1510 - c.1576) and then varies it somewhat. Done with classical, folk and electric guitars and a bit of percussion.

Rod Shaw, 2022