Minimum Vital

Progressif Rock since 1982

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Carlos Gonzales theorbo (1997)

Theorbe d'étude

Theorbo

Théorbe d'étude

Theorbo

Playing the classical guitar naturally improved my interest for early instruments. The theorbo is one of those. This fascinating instrument is closely connected to the lute, for it belongs to the same family. Contrary to the lute, it’s got 14 simple strings (and not courses) distributed on two peg boxes. The second peg box is built on the top a very long neck and supports 7 bass strings that you can eventually play like a harp.

This instrument was very popular during the late sixteenth and all the seventeenth century, were it was used to support singers in baroque operas. Compared to the classical guitar, the theorbo has a delicate, moving resonant sound that naturally drives you to deep nostalgic feelings.

I wrote a suite in three parts for the theorbo that you can hear in my solo album (Les Trois dames de Mantoue), humbly trying to pay tribute to great lute composers such as John Dowland or Gaultier le Vieux. Yes, this is undoubtedly not rock… so what? The theorbo also appears in the 2009 Minimum Vital’s album Capitaines, where it’s the leading instrument of what I consider as one our best recorded tune ever, a piece called: La Route.