Solmund Nystabakk

Singing With the Lute: In search of new tools in lute song performance

Norges Musikkhøgskole

Norwegian Academy of Music


Doctoral defence: 23 June 2020


Veiledere: Førsteamanuensis Jostein Gundersen (UiB) og professor Kate Maxwell (UiT)


Assessment Committee:

Professor Deniz Peters, Kunstuniversität Graz.

Dr Elisabeth Belgrano, Lund University

Professor Eivind Buene, NMH (committee leader)

Singing with the lute is an attempt at bringing new perspectives and work methods to the performance of lute songs. In terms of repertoire, the project has dealt with English and Italian songs with lute accompaniment in tablature from the 16th and early 17th century, with the main focus on English lute songs from the period 1597-1620. My work has also involved translations and adaptations of songs into languages other than those mentioned above, as well as other repertoires that have been relevant to the project, notably solo lute music and vocal music not notated in tablature. Work materials have included printed and manuscript songbooks and modern copies of historical lute instruments. The principal work tools for the project repertoire have been 7- and 8-course renaissance lutes.


My point of departure is Historically Informed Performance, also known as HIP. My main contribution to the field is a widening of the HIP approach to encompass aspects of the performance of music that have received little attention within HIP. More specifically, I have shown how historical sources and concepts can be applied at various levels yielding highly diverse results in terms of style, expression and experience potential. Although the project is no attempt at a comprehensive survey of performance possibilities (historical or otherwise) in lute songs, it shows a wider range of methods and approaches than what I see as the current state of lute song performance.


NMH | Kåre Solmund Nystabakk: Singing with the Lute

Singing With the Lute: In search of new tools in lute song performance