From Roman to Romanesque Lutes. An Archaeomusical Research on the History of Western Lutes Before the 13th Century.


  • Olivier Féraud


Archaeomusicology, organology, lute, King David, Theophany


On the basis of iconographical studies and musical experiments, this paper aims to give an organological description of the necked plucked musical instruments that can be observed in Western medieval sources before the diffusion of the arabo-andalousian lute in 13th-century Europe. Underlining common traits with lutes represented in greek and roman iconography allows to draw an organological filiation between ancient and romanic lutes. Furthermore, the observation of the geographic distribution of the representations of lutes in the Early Middle Ages gives reason to reflect on the cultural relationships between the Carolingian and Byzantine empires in so far as they both could have encourage the diffusion of these not well-known instruments. Theses lutes also give information about their ties with the fiddles during the introduction of the bow and about its route to Europe.