About This List
Compiled by Dr. Gary R. Boye
Music Librarian, Appalachian State University
I believe this is the most comprehensive list of primary sources for lute, guitar, vihuela, and related instruments ever compiled. There are currently over 6,000 individual entries, comprising printed music, manuscript music, and pedagogical materials relating to plucked-string instruments. The list begins with manuscripts from as early as 1457 and continues well into the 19th century. Most of these sources were written for the lute or guitar; there were also a few books for lesser-known plucked string instruments: the vihuela, cittern, bandora, mandora, mandolin, and orpharion, as well as instruments related to the lute such as the archlute and theorbo. Most of the early sources on this site employ a notational system called "tablature." After around 1750, the sources use standard notation, including those calling for continuo accompaniment.
Beginning in 2022, I systematically searched the online RISM database to bring the most current information into the site and add a large number of new manuscript sources. I am currently working on adding these sources and generally updating the information. A major new addition will be adding links to online copies when they are available in stable, library-owned websites. There remains a huge amount of work to be done on this list--especially regarding the 18th and 19th centuries. It is, as it has always been, a work-in-progress towards a better understanding of the many repertoires represented.