Klaus Martius: A Brilliant Farewell of Lute Making in the second half of 18th century in Germany
After studies in Latin and German Philology and before his retirement Klaus Martius used to work from 1987 to 2020 as conservator of ancient musical instruments at “Institut für Kunsttechnik und Konservierung” of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg. He published on the technology of historical instruments, particulary on lutes, bowed string instruments and conservation of musical instruments and documentation techniques and participated amongst others in Martin und Johann Christian Hoffmann-Geigen- und Lautenmacher des Barock and recently Füssen Lute and Violin Making- A European Legacy.
His presentation will introduce the lute types used during the 18th century: 13 course lutes with different riders, angled and swanneck (double and triple), angelique, mandora and colacione.
Ernst Gottlieb Barons chapter of important lute makers in his famous „Investigations of the lute“ (1727) reads almost like an early antiquities guide to the lute: barely a third of the makers listed there are counted among Baron's contemporaries in favor of their well-known predecessors. This is consistent with the fact that lute making in the 18th century increasingly involved the converting of old lute corpora, where existing lutes were adapted to modern musical requirements. Measured against the stock of historical lutes still preserved until to our days, it is evident that the number of instruments in this way „repaired“ significantly exceeds the amount of newly made lutes.
At the same time the lute makers had to meet increased demands, especially for their professional clientele. While earlier lute players only had the possibility to choose an suitable instrument from the wide range of offered lutes, the lutes (newly made and converted ones) now had to be adapted to the individual needs of the musicians, especially when it came to playability and stronger tone.