The Balcarres Lute Book [2 volume set]

August 2010
416 pages
25.4x35.6 cm
Music of Scotland
ISBN: 9780852618462
Format: Paperback
Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen

The Balcarres Lute Book [2 volume set]

Edited by Matthew Spring

out of stock

This two volume set includes a facsimile and transcription of an important 17th century source of lute music.
Copied out in Scotland at the close of the seventeenth century, the Balcarres Lute Book is the largest and most important post-1640 British source of lute music. It contains 252 compositions arranged for the eleven-course instrument, among them settings of native Scots airs and of English popular tunes, and French baroque lute music by mid- and later seventeenth-century masters. Possibly compiled by or for Margaret Campbell, fourth wife of Colin Lindsay, third Earl of Balcarres, the manuscript has remained in the Lindsay family, being owned currently by Lord Balniel, son and heir to the present Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, who has deposited it in the National Library of Scotland. It is here published for the first time in a pair of volumes comprising a black-and-white facsimile and a transcription, along with an extended introduction, notes on related musical sources, and an informative critical commentary on each individual piece.

MATTHEW SPRING is Senior Lecturer in Music at Bath Spa University, author of The Lute in Britain: A History of the Instrument and its Music and a wellknown performer on the lute and related instruments.


The Balcarres Lute Book is the largest and one of the most important extant sources of Scottish Lute music; it is the only lute manuscript of this repertoire from the end of the seventeenth century. [...] This facsimile edition is therefore both timely and long overdue in giving [players] access to all 252 pieces in the manuscript. The result is impressive and rewarding to study in detail. [...] a welcome and milestone addition to the growing number of long-awaited important lute manuscript facsimiles. LSA QUARTERLY

A warm welcome to the long-awaited facsimile of the Balcarres Lute Book, the largest and arguably most important post-1640 British source of lute music. [...] An informative, extended introduction and a detailed commentary on the individual pieces complete this excellent edition: Matthew Spring is to be congratulated on this fine contribution to the repertoire of the lute and our understanding of the music of 17th-century Scotland. THE CONSORT

[T]his beautiful publication... comprises two substantial volumes in a handsome case... Fortune hunters today dream of coming across sources of this magnitude. TLS [Peter Phillips]

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