Day 30


You've made it to the end of this year's lute challenge!

I hope you've had a great time. Considering how popular it has been, I'll definitely be looking to organise another one next year. If you have any feedback, I'd love to hear it.

This piece is from the Craus Lute Book housed and looked after by the Austrian National Music Collection (ms 18688). Although we don't know anything about the composer Georg Forster, we expect the book to have been collated from about 1540.

If you happen know anything about Georg Forster, then do tell everyone about him in the comments.

If you've enjoyed the January Lute Challenge, why not share this piece?


  1. Martin Wall says:

    Hi Alex
    Once again, like many others, I am indebted to you for your wonderful generosity in providing this challenge. Most of the pieces are able to really show the tonalities and sonorities of the renaissance lute without excessive difficulty technically. This is not to say that they are ‘easy’ and easy is not a good word for any music, despite its popularity amongst publishers wishing to sell a lot of books! Anthony Rooley once said that the lute has its own kind of virtuosity and, when applied well, draws the listener in; a quality that I am sure all players recognize and love. Even, possibly especially, the first few pieces here have proven this point anew and you have done us and the lute an immensely important service. Thanks again!

    1. Alex McCartney says:

      Thanks Martin, that’s so kind of you. Hope to see you at the next Challenge!

  2. Tom K says:

    Thanks Alex this was really awesome. Quite a few tricky ones in there (for me anyway) – I got real sense of where I’m lacking, but also how far I’ve come in just a year: I took up the lute last January and this has been a real test of everything from sight-reading to fingering (especially right hand fingering), but perhaps especially in developing a feel for the renaissance mindset. Really enjoyed the entire exercise, much to ponder and much to return to as well.

    1. Alex McCartney says:

      I’m really pleased you had a good time with the Challenge Tom. I’m going to leave it on the site, so that everyone can come back to it at any time.

  3. Adrian Lincoln says:

    Many thanks for the challenge. I can’t wait to do another one. All the pieces were new to me, so it was a real pleasure to have them discussed and also have the benefit of observing your fingering. It was very kind of you to spend the time recording the music. I too, am thinking of signing up for a few online lessons.

    1. Alex McCartney says:

      Thanks Adrian, I’m potentially looking at a wee spring or summer Challenge — I’ll see what I have time for and I’ll let everyone know about it in good time.

  4. Philip Lord says:

    Many thanks Alex – this brought me back to my renaissance lutes from the baroque, and it was very refreshing. I haven’t been able to go through each piece for lack of time, but have them stored up to explore. I wish my hands/fingers were in better condition from all the DIY I am doing at the moment!

    In the process I found my vihuela has got a loose soundboard, and the 10 course needed a new fret – so some repair work to do now.

    1. Alex McCartney says:

      Sorry to hear about your hands Philip! Although it sounds like the Challenge was useful for eking out those repair issues. See you soon!

  5. Pam says:

    Many thanks Alex.
    This challenge has been really great, something to look forward to every day throughout January.
    A delightful set of pieces which I will continue to play for a long time.

    1. michael murtagh says:

      Thank you very much for the month. I’ve really enjoyed it.
      I’m a classical guitar player and have always liked the lute and having gone to some of the informal get togethers for the Lute Society of Ireland became more interested in it. then before Christmas one of the members offered me a loan of a renaissance 8 course lute to try out.
      So your challenge came at a perfect time for me.
      Thank you once again. I’ll continue working my way. slowly, through the pieces.

      1. Alex McCartney says:

        You’re very welcome Michael! I hope this experience has encouraged you to extend the lute-loan 🙂

    2. Alex McCartney says:

      I’m really pleased to hear that Pam, that’s exactly the effect I hoped the Challenge would have.

  6. Marie says:

    Thanks so much for doing this. Good choice of pieces. Good commentary. And good to know some of my friends were looking at the same music even if present circumstances don’t let us get together to play music. Just what I needed.

  7. Susan Sandman says:

    I especially liked your comments on style and musical choices. The pieces were easy for me, but easy pieces are a challenge to play well, so this was a plus. The website worked easily for me. I look forward to the challenge, hopefully next Jan. Thank you!!

    1. Alex McCartney says:

      Great! See you next year!

  8. Theo says:

    Absolutely brilliant! I thoroughly enjoyed these and will be signing up for a subscription to your online lessons. You are an inspiring teacher and I love the insights in phrasing and tips on fingering. Cheers!

    1. Alex McCartney says:

      Thanks Theo!

  9. Ruben Desemprun says:
    Thank you Alex,

    That was great fun, I have enjoyed playing these pieces, some of which I worked years ago. And I appreciate all the work you did and the choices you made of the pieces and the points you made regarding them.


    1. Alex McCartney says:

      Thanks Ruben, I really enjoyed putting it together — hopefully there’ll be something similar coming soon.

  10. Alastair says:

    Dear Alex, the challenge has been great fun, and thanks for such an imaginative choice of pieces throughout the month – several are likely to become firm favourites as I get to know them better. Thank you for doing this and brightening up January for everyone who took part!

  11. Jurgen Frenz says:

    Hi there,
    thank you very much for the effort you put into this. For the last few days I couldn’t log on, there was an error message that “this service is currently not available” or something like it, so I had to jump straight into the daily presentations.
    What I appreciated most is your choice of pieces, many were unknown to me and their difficulty is within reach.
    Thanks again for this month of practice, the weather and the corona thingy were a fitting encouragement to practice.

    1. Alex McCartney says:

      Hello Jurgen,
      You’re very welcome and thanks for your comment about the choice of pieces: I spent a good while trying to find interesting and approachable material for the challenge, so it’s lovely to hear that that time was well spent.
      Sorry about the login issue; my firewall got a little overactive during the last couple of days but that should all have calmed down now.
      All the best,

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