No. The term "heyday of the
baroque lute" would more appropriately apply to the earlier baroque, decades
before Bach and Weiss, in Paris. These were times when the lute was in fact
the instrument that was played and listened to by all. "The heyday of the
lute", if we don't restrict ourselves to the baroque period, is certainly
the renaissance, the era of the English lutenists, for example: John Dowland,
and the Italian masters. Despite this, Weiss' works are undeniably one of
the all-time high points of lute composition, although the lute had by then
fallen out of favour, replaced by newer keyboard instruments of the
It is again important to make
a distinction between the lute styles of the 18th century and that of the
century preceding it. This involves not only a difference in the musical
conception but a considerable difference in instrument design and tuning.
The renaissance lute had fewer strings in the bass. In the later baroque
period extra bass strings were added. By the time the instrument disappeared
from use, the standard lute had become a 13-coursed giant (two single strings
on top and eleven doubled strings for a total of 24). Other composers for
the baroque lute were, for example: in France: Gaultier and Mourton, and
later in Germany: Hagen, Falkenhagen, Kellner, Conradi.
It is a different instrument
- it's not a guitar. It is related to the so-called modern guitar, but the
development of the plucked instruments involved a myriad of other instruments.
I suppose one could call it the queen of the plucked instruments.
I play a very large 13-course
baroque lute with so-called double-stop neck in the style of the Bohemian
Classical music has always
been built on folk elements... but the folk elements that form the basis
for what we know as baroque music are different from what "folk" music is
in the 20th century. Composers in the past have always based their writing
on folk music sources. The composed "classical" music of this century has
drifted further and further away from these sources and consequently lost
connection to the "folk". As to being different sides to the same coin, I
guess maybe in some sense.
It was certainly a time when
everyone was listening to and playing lots of music. For this reason, many
unknown artists were in fact discovered that would have otherwise been ignored
and lost. The music industry found itself confronted with a seemingly endless
demand, and in the 60s, there wasn't yet such a formulated, mechanized system
to exploit that market. So they were willing to invest money in different
kinds of music to see what they could sell. Those companies were all out
to discover "the new sound" of the week and make a killing. So it seemed
like they were willing to sign up anyone. Then they'd "throw you up against
the wall and see if you stuck to it" as the expression went.
Robert Johnson, Willie Brown,
Charlie Patton, John Hurt, Kid Bailey, and B.B. Fuller.
I met John Hurt a couple of
times. One time I had a lesson with him. Mance Lipscomb, the same. Of course,
I took lessons from Rev. Gary Davis as well. I was a bit young and shy to
try hanging out with everybody that was hanging out at the festivals... but
I was there and certainly did get introduced to a number of musicians that
I would call legendary. It wasn't so hard getting back-stage at folk concerts...
the superstars hadn't been invented yet and the stars were all people who
were playing music I wasn't that interested in. For me it was often enough
to be able to hear Son House or Skip James play back stage or off stage casually.
I don't remember having any really long conversations with any one.
No. It was time for me to listen.
I played privately a couple of times for people like Hurt. But the stage
was their territory. I was just a kid learning about music.
Write your own songs and try
to figure out what you have to offer to the music. Then package it and sell
it as well as you can. Try not to restrict yourself to what Europeans expect
and want from blues. Learn how to express yourself with your voice and your
bodily rhythm. Make your instrument a conduit for that rhythm. Try making
people dance. Find out how to affect others emotionally with your voice.
Try to convert your anger - or other strong feelings - into music.