In Venice circa 1517, an artist named Vidal prepared a manuscript collection of compositions for lute by Vincenzo Capirola (born 1474, died after 1548), an accomplished Renaissance lutenist. This manuscript, consisting of 42 compositions (both sacred and secular) for lute solo, is a beautiful example of Renaissance lute tablature. The Capirola manuscript is all the more important given that the earliest surviving lute tablature dates only from the late fifteenth century. The Newberry Library purchased the original manuscript in 1904 from Florentine dealer Leo S. Olschki. The detail of this illuminated manuscript-including the fact that Vidal used different colors in the lute tablature-makes it not only an invaluable artifact for musicologists, but also for historians of print and art. The Capirola manuscript has recently been made available online by the Programme Ricercar through the Center for Renaissance Studies at the University of Tours, France. This resource is in French with no English translation.
The manuscript is also available as a downloadable PDF file.
Web Resource (2011)