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Music : Trumbull lute book


<p style='text-align: justify;'> The <i>Trumbull lute book</i> (MS Additional 8844) is a rare example of a personal lute book made and used by an English government official and diplomat. Apart from one item at the end, it was almost certainly copied c.1595 by William Trumbull (1575?-1635), secretary and later envoy to James I and then Charles I at the Brussels Court of Archduke Albert of Austria from at least 1605 to 1625.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The manuscript was never bound and so the edges of the pages are badly eroded and 8 folios have been cut out from the original 33 (66 pages). What survives contains 38 items of music, all but two for 6-course renaissance lute, mainly solos plus 10 duet parts, often only one of the two, and 2 ensemble parts, which permit a glimpse into how William may have used the lute book.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The repertory almost exclusively comprises English dance forms, mainly pavans, and galliards, and only a few arrangements of vocal music and popular tunes. He must have been quite an accomplished lutenist as the majority require an intermediate standard of technical ability. He seems to have copied it during his formative years when he probably took lute lessons as part of his education and hopefully was diligent enough to practise lute solos for personal recreation. His lute book may also have served the important function of providing him with parts to use for social music making, playing duets or in a consort, a practice that he might have continued during the time he was working in Brussels.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>When he was compiling his anthology he seems to have had access to lute music of English court composers spanning much of the reign of Elizabeth I, as the manuscript includes examples by Philip van Wilder (1), Augustine Bassano (1), Alfonso Ferrabosco (fragments only of 1), Nicholas Strogers (2), John Johnson (8), Richard Allison (1), Francis Cutting (1), Anthony Holborne (5), Thomas Morley (1) and John Dowland (1).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>John H. Robinson, Lute Society</p>

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