Lars tørressen
lutEMAKER
torressenlutes.com

Theorbo, Tiorba, Théorbe


" Since constant changes take place in these various matters, nothing very definite may be stated about them here".
Praetorius (1619), considering the theorbo.

It has always been difficult to define the differences between theorbo, chitarrone and archlute.  At Pretorius` time it was constantly changing as quoted above, even Mersenne (1637) was confused! 
Between ca 1580 and  1700 there is a wealth of  lute instruments  with  neck extensions and two heads that is just called "theorbo" in modern language.  To sort out your needs,  bear in mind the different tunings and style of musical expression you will find in the music score and sometimes in the composers instructions.   I strongly recommend if you have not read it already,  the article "Chitarrone, Theorbo  and archlute" by the late Robert Spencer, Early Music oct. 1976. 
Without going in detail here discussing different geographical practices in Italy, England , Germany and France ,  these matters have in recent history  boiled down to a question of  two instruments, one for solo repertoire and one bigger for continuo work. As a practical solution one may even be tempted to think one size fits all, but choosing a small instrument, one deviate from the aesthetic reason  behind supporting the tenor voice with a large sonorous bass string instrument with subtle qualities. We know that historically correct performance practice challenge this assumption  and I will gladly serve your needs building a variety of models such as the large Buchenberg chitarrone. 14- course Tiorba inspired by Castaldi

Price from nok 65 500 / export price: ca 5520 euro ex. vat, (without case)

Photo of some instruments  I have made of this model. 

Based on a body shape by Magno Dieffopruchar a Venetia
Wien Kunsthistoriches Museum no: 969
string length and tuning from Bellerofonte Castaldi
SL 76/125 cm   tuned  in  a.
1. and 2. string tuned an octave down
11 ribs choose between maple, walnut, cherry or  Indian rosewood
Top: european spruce
Neck: ebony veneer on spruce core.
Neck 2/pegbox: stained sycamore on poplar core
Pegs: cherry or boxwood
Bridge: pearwood stained black

I have chosen to call this neat instrument "Tiorba"  after the instrument played by Bellerofonte Castaldi. *
(not to be confused by the smaller "Tiorbino")
This is my most popular model and  is made in various materials for the ribs through the years. 
Note: The authenticity of using 7 stopped strings may be argued and is a modern practice. The 7 th  may be omitted for historical correctness.
The instrument with SL 76/125 cm is suited for french and italian solo repertoire   yet  has a good volume and projection for playing in a large hall. It is light,
resonant and has a good weight balance due to thoughtful construction and choice of materials for the neck extension.
Petter Richter, Jarl Stømdahl and Vegard Lund are among the performers that use my theorboes. The Grieg Academy in Bergen
keep one for their students to use.
*)  Bellerofonte Castaldi: "Capricci a due stromenti  cioe tiorba e tiorbino " .    Minkoff Reprint Genéve 1981