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  • Writer's pictureegradcliff

Lute Dreams

Recently, I fulfilled a dream of mine. I purchased a lute.

She’s a beautiful baby. Seven courses, lacewood and rosewood variegated back, gorgeous engraving on the pegbox and the rose. The sort of instrument that makes you happy just by looking at it.

Of course, this means that I can now fulfill another dream of mine: learning to play the lute.

She’s a tricky baby. But I can play a simple arrangement of Greensleeves, and Tumbalalaika (a touch ironic, that one is, since my lute is very much not a balalaika), and Nowhere Warm by Kate Havnevik. I cannot play any of these *well,* but given that I started learning a month ago, I’d say I’m proud of myself.

The truth is, holding my lute feels like holding a slice of history. My instrument was, of course, crafted recently, but lutes in general hail from an earlier age. Descending from the Arabic oud, lutes first appeared in Europe in the medieval age, where they evolved through the music styles of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Lute music has been making a comeback recently, especially with the bardcore movement. Because people are phenomenal. And for every single one of these periods, I would argue that lute music is some of the sweetest-sounding music you’ll ever hear. If you don’t believe me, check out this video of the immensely-talented Daniel Estrem playing Greensleeves.

The truth is, I’m blogging about this just to share my excitement. I have the privilege to learn one of history’s most influential and most breathtaking instruments, and I cannot get over how thrilled I am.

E.G. RADCLIFF IS A PART-TIME pooka and native of the Unseelie Court. She collects acorns, glass beads, and pretty rocks, and the crows outside her house know her as She Who Has Bread. Her fantasy novels are crafted in the dead of night after offering sacrifices of almonds and red wine to the writing-block deities.

You can reach her by scrying bowl, carrier pigeon, or @egradcliff on social media.


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