Theorbo, Chitarroni and Archlutes

Theorbo based on Sellas, Venice (Paris E.547)

The original rose is shown below

Medium Sized theorbo 85.7 cm/ 168.7cm, body depth of 16cm. The original in the museum is shown below:

Theorbo based on Pietro Railich c1639 (Brussels MIM1569

The string length is 79/162cm, and a body depth of 16.2cm the original instrument is in 3 pieces in the Brussels Museum, the bridge has an unusual dolphin shaped bridge ending which may have replaced the original bridge in 1698 according to the museum. The original rose shown below needed some restoration before a new one was made. The original instrument currently exists in 3 pieces in the museum as seen below.

The original instrument currently exists in 3 pieces in the museum as seen below.

Theorbo based on Sellas (Brussels MIM255)

This is one of the smallest Theorbos the original is 74.3 with 154 basses, the one shown here was made with 76cm string length. The body depth is 14.3cm. The instrument can be heard here

The original is shown below:

Theorbe de Pieces in d' (a=415Hz) (The Lesser French Theorbo) based on Vendelio Venere, Padua c1611 (Vienna KHM C47)

This small Theorbo has a comfortable flat back yet just a wide as other theorboes is also referred to as a Theorbe de Pieces in d' or Lesser French Theorbo, or even a 'Luth a Double Manche (according to B.Narvey). String length 75.7/121cm, or 75.7/160 with a longer Italian theorbo neck as may have been on the original. This instrument has extra holes and nut groves for being strung in single 7x7 or 6x8, or 6x double and 8 single basses (as on the original)

This instrument may have started off life as a Bass lute, the neck on this instrument is narrow for a theorbo so may be the original Bass lute neck. The extended neck is more likely to be a conversion by a French lute maker like DesMoulins hence it's strung as a Theorbe de Pieces. However some early short necked, large bodied 'small' theorboes survive that are said to be original short necks, possibly tuned at standard chitarrone tuning in a' but at Paduan/Venetian Pitch (466Hz or 456Hz, according to E.Segerman 2008) possible at that higher pitch due to the shorter string length of 75.7cm but still justifying a double re-entrant stringing. It's a shallow theorbo at 15.5cm deep as seen below:

The instrument held by Lady Wroth above is very similar to the C47, the double sound hole would suggest it's of Paduan origin as mentioned by Pretorius. The temptation to make the instrument with two sound holes like this was compelling but the original has only one. This small extended neck was before the time of DesMoulins and such makers that turned theorboes into Theorbe de Pieces in d'. So unless Lady Wroth was exceptionally tall (taller than a long necked chitarrone, if the one painted is) then this is a small extended neck theorbo. Possibly tuned the same as a chitarrone in a' but a higher pitch (Venetian/ Paduan pitch) with shorter string length,  indicating the presence of chitarroni/theorboes with smaller extended necks in the Venetian/Paduan areas. It's likely the imported Italian  instrument Lady Wroth is holding was restrung as and an early English theorbo with one re-entrant string in g, the highest being d' (2nd crs).

Student Theorbo based on Sellas (Paris E.547)

This student Theorbo is the most popular the string length is 85.7cm with 168.7cm bass courses with 17 ribs to make the instrument cheaper. The folding version is also shown below. Here the famous Canarios for solo Chitarrone buy Kapsberger played here by Richard MacKenzie, and here playing Biagio Marini in Oxford.

 The picture above shows the only metal parts that can be seen on the side of the extended neck, the front and back has no visible metal, just a line where it folds.

Student Chitarorone based on Magno Tieffenbrucker (RCM 25)

 The picture above shows the only metal parts that can be seen on the side of the extended neck, the front and back has no visible metal, just a line where it folds.Below shows the largest Student Chitarrone based on Magno Tieffenbrucker from the Royal College of Music Collection in London, string length of 93.3 and with 170.7cm bass courses, the body is 18cm deep,  being 17 ribs helps reduce the construction time and cost. 

This instrument can be heard here. The original is shown below

Other instruments to order:

W.Eberle (Vienna KHM C47) Theorbe de Pieces in d'(Lesser French Theorbo), 75.7/121cm, or 75.7/160 Italian theorbo, 15.5cm deep.

Mango Tieffenbrucker (Vienna KHM C45) Archlute, 67.3/142.6cm, 15 cm deep.

Martinus Hartz, 1665 (Edinburgh No300) Long necked Archlute 67.3/142.6cm, 17.3cm deep.
As seen at St Cecelia's Hall in Edinburgh

M. Sellas, 1639 (Bologna Civic Museum No 1748) Long necked Archlute 64.2/134.6cm,14cm deep.

M.Sellas 1630/ Pietro Reilich 16(??) (NMM3383) Liuto Attiorbato (short necked archlute) 56.6/82.7cm, 13.3 cm deep.

M.Sellas, Venice 1638 (Paris E1028) Liuto Attiorbato, 59/ 85 cm.13.4 cm deep. Seen below:

M.Hartung 1602 (Nurenburg MI44) Bass lute for conversion to Chitarrone, 93.8/ 171cm cm, 21cm deep! seen below as it exists today.

M.Hartung 1599 (Nurenburg MI56) Bass lute for conversion, string length 78.2cm. 17 cm deep. Seen below as it exists today.

M.Buechenberg Rome 1610 (Brussels No1570) largest Chitarrone at 98.4/170.5, 44cm wide,
the original instrument as it currently exists seen below:

Magno Stegher, Venice (Bologna Civic Museum No 1754) 10crs Bass lute for conversion to Chitarrone, string length 89.7cm, 18cm deep, 42.3cm wide.

Other lutes that exist as large baroque lutes like (NMM 10213 and 10214) can be made into Archlutes or Theorboes as they may have been originally.

Not available to order is:

This prototype bass lute/chitarrone may have been the first attempt at making the new chitarrone, but extending the body instead of the neck meant a very long body which is quite flat in the middle and difficult to play, thankfully the extended neck design was the way to go, on the right is a 'theatre theorbo' used in performances on stage to mimic the Kithara, the theoretical origin of the chitarrone, I doubt it had much volume due to the tiny body but may have been sufficient in appearance. The strings appear to wire so higher tension may help with sufficient enough volume, I have not made one of these as yet, but wouldn't mind just to hear the sound it makes!