Quarterly No. 124, June 2013

FoMRHI Quarterly

BULLETIN 124 Christopher Goodwin 2


1988 18th Century clarinets in Holland Jan Bouterse 8

1989 Making Cents Out of Fretting Ratios and Vice Versa Dave Dolata 16

1990 The Ikhwan al-Safa Oud Revisited – Further to Comm. 1945

and some other thoughts John Downing 25

1991 Low Cost Infra Red 'X-ray' Imaging – a Useful Research Tool

for Luthiers? - Part 1 John Downing 34

1992 Low Cost Infra Red 'X-ray Imaging - Part 2 John Downing 39

1993 Low Cost Infra Red 'X-ray' Imaging – Part 3 - Post Script John Downing 47

1994 An Unusual Late 19th C. Syrian Oud – a Link to

the 16th C Laux Maler Lutes? John Downing 49

The next issue, Quarterly 125, will appear in September. Please send in Comms and announcements to the address below, to arrive by September 1st.

Fellowship of Makers and Researchers of Historical Instruments

Fellows: Edmund A Bowles, John Cousen, Donald Gill, Stephen Gottlieb, Paul Hailperin, John F Hanchet,

Uta Henning, R K Lee, Jacques Leguy, Pat McNulty, Jeremy Montagu, John Morley, John Rawson,

Ephraim Segerman, Bernard Thomas, Marco Tiella

Secretary/Quarterly Editor: Christopher Goodwin Treasurer: John Reeve Webmaster: Luke Emmet

Southside Cottage, Brook Hill, Albury, Guildford GU5 9DJ, Great Britain

Tel: (++44)/(0)1483 202159 Fax: (++44)/(0)1483 203088 E-mail: Web: www.fomrhi.org

BULLETIN 124 Christopher Goodwin

A subscription holiday for all Fomrhi subscribers

Fomrhi has enough money in the bank to keep producing Quarterlies for the next two or three years even if no further subscriptions were received at all. This was never the intention, and the funds rightly belong to recent and current subscribers. So the Fellows have agreed that all this year’s and last year’s members will be granted a free year’s subscription. So if you have paid up to the end of 2011 (Q 120) your subscription is now credited to the end of 2012 (Q 124) and if you have paid up to the end of 2012, you will be credited up to the end of 2013, and so on. We will send you a subscription form when it’s time to pay again!

This subscription holiday will still leave us with a cushion of funds. But accumulated funds are not the same as annual surpluses – we will discuss the appropriate level for Fomrhi annual subscriptions at the November AGM, the the International Early Music Exhibition at Greenwich.

Conference in Oxford, July 25-29th

I hope many of us will also meet at a forthcoming event of particular interest: the musical instrument conference, ‘Musical Instruments – History, Science and Culture’ to be held in Oxford in 2013, jointly organised by The Bate Collection and The Galpin Society in association with "Making the Tudor Viol" (University of Huddersfield, supported by the AHRC) and CIMCIM (Comité International des Musées et Collections d'Instruments de Musique). It will take place on Thursday 25th–Monday 29th July 2013 in the Faculty of Music, Oxford, and will present a four-day conference covering all areas of musical instrument history and development and their effects on culture and society. The conference will comprise a series of presentations, seminars and lectures on a broad range of organological topics with speakers from all over the world. As well as talks there will be a series of other events including:

 A Lecture/recital in the Holywell Music Room by Dr Matthew Spring on the history

and evolution of the lute

 Informal gamelan workshops

 Museum and gallery tours

 Evening drinks reception hosted by the Faculty of Music

 Gala dinner at one of the University's premier colleges

 A chance to play and examine some of the instruments in the Bate Collection

Conference fees are £75.00 Student delegates will be able to book for £35.00

Delegates who wish to attend only the viol-oriented day (26th July) can do so for £25.00

Bookings can be made online; see details at http://www.bate.ox.ac.uk/conference-2013.html.

The call for papers can be found after our own standing call for papers, below.

Conference at the Horniman Museum: Roots of Revival, 12-14 March 2014

The revival of interest in early music remains a prominent and influential feature of the Western classical music scene. But the revival had roots in the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries with proponents as diverse as Felix Mendelssohn, Arnold Dolmetsch and Wanda Landowska. Without these pioneering and zealous individuals, and the famous 19th and early 20th century collectors of musical instruments, the revival may never have occurred nor reached such a wide public. The Horniman Museum holds one of the largest and most diverse collections of musical instruments in the UK, including over 8,000 objects.

The Museum’s Music Gallery, displaying some 1,200 instruments, is soon to be supplemented by a new permanent keyboard instrument exhibit, including several examples from the Victoria and Albert Museum. A current temporary exhibition, the Art of Harmony, featuring about 40 instruments of all types from the V&A will continue to run during the conference and remain open until the end of March 2014.

Call for Papers

This conference will be a 3-day forum for presenting research on the lives and work of collectors, enthusiasts, craftsmen and musicians who had an impact on the course of the 20th century early music revival. The Museum, housing the Dolmetsch and many other relevant collections, including a small but significant selection of instruments from the V&A, provides an apt setting for such a meeting. Presentations concerning the historic models that builders such as Dolmetsch used as prototypes, accounts of their workshops and working methods, and of restorations that they undertook, are invited. Research into 19th and early 20th century notions about historic performance practice will also be welcomed.

Abstracts of 250-300 words should be sent by email to Please include name, affiliation (if any), postal address, email address, and AV requirements on a separate cover sheet. Presentations should last 20-25 minutes + 5-10 minutes questions/discussion. Proposers of panel discussions (one hour) should submit, together with the abstract, a brief overview of the rationale for the session, together with a list of up to four participants and the topics that will be addressed. Proposals for lecture-recitals (50 minutes + 10 minutes questions/discussion) should include, together with the abstract, full details of the proposed performance and any relevant requirements in their cover sheet.

The closing date for receipt of proposals is 1 November 2013. All those submitting proposals will be notified of the outcome by 2 December.

Further Information: http://www.horniman.ac.uk/visit/events/event/roots-of-revival

The site will be updated periodically as details become available.

Mimi S Waitzman, Deputy Keeper of Musical Instruments

The Horniman Museum

100 London Road

Forest Hill, London SE23 3PQ

direct line: 020 8291-8164


An early Dolmetsch lute at auction in New Zealand

While on the subject of the early music revival – now old enough to merit its own history, and to generate its own precious documents and ‘historic’ instruments – there has been a little flurry in the lute world following the re-appearance of an interesting 20th century instrument.

The first lute made under Arnold Dolmetsch’s direction at Jesses, Haslemere in 1927 (so says the label) and owned or at least played by Diana Poulton (the case still bears her luggage label) has turned up at an auction house in New Zealand. It had been left, abandoned, in storage since 1993, and the storage facility owners decided to sell it at auction to recoup their costs, as is normal with unclaimed stored goods. In fact an employee nearly threw it in a skip but decided it was too interesting to throw away.

Thea Abbott, Diana’s biographer, and David van Edwards, offer the following observations. Diana bought her first proper lute from Robert Morley's shop in Kensington while she was still a student at The Slade School of Art (so between 1919 and 1923). She found later that it was ‘one which Arnold Dolmetsch had repaired himself; though he was not very pleased with the result’. For most of her life she played an instrument which carries a label ‘Dolmetsch number 4’ - and that is the instrument which is seen most often in photographs of her performing; it now belongs to her grandson.

The Dolmetsch family had moved to Jesses in 1924 and the first early music Festival was held in 1925. Diana made her first broadcast for '2LO' (later the BBC) in 1926. She remembered that it was at the Haslemere Festival of 1930 that Dolmetsch heard her playing informally and was impressed with her progress and invited her to take part in future Festivals. She said, ‘From then on . . . he was kindness itself and he did everything in his power to help me.’That kindness included lending her instruments from his own collection; and she in turn was very generous with instruments. Bill Bower who teaches lute in Wellington, New Zealand was one of Diana's first four students at the Royal College of Music in London in 1968.

The sheet of handwritten numbers seen in the case are calculations of the fret positions numbering from the nut. They correspond more or less to the twelfth root of 2 for equal temperament and on that basis the string length would be about 63 cm which was held to be a normal size for a G lute in Dolmetsch's time. Why they continue beyond the 12th fret is a mystery, as further frets are not usually present on lutes. The writing does not appear to be Diana's, the loops in the 2s are not the same as Diana's.

The size and shape of the body and the layout of the pegboxes and relative string lengths point to it being intended to be a simplified liuto attiorbato of the same type as the Sellas instrument which was stolen from Dolmetsch in 1901 (and which David has now discovered is the one in the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague.) However the design of the upper pegbox is entirely anachronistic, quite unlike the Sellas instrument and probably Dolmetsch's own design. It is quite a clever way of dealing with the offset and was later copied by other makers but it it was not authentic. His standard lute pegboxes with their curved sides are similarly of his own design rather than strictly authentic.

The rose is identical to that on the Stegher lute in the Musèe de la Musique (coll. de Mme de Chambure) Paris, E 980-2-332 which was repaired by Dolmetsch in 1893 (Handwritten label: Réparé par Arnold Dolmetsch/ le..09 sept 1893). Joel Dugot, the curator of instruments there, says in his catalogue Les Luths (occident) p. 55 that this rose is inset (unusually for original lutes) and is of inferior work, so it too may be a Dolmetsch design as it doesn't to my knowledge appear on any other original lute. David believes the Stegher lute was also originally owned by Diana Poulton, she certainly did sell one of her lutes to Madame de Chambure and thus the circumstances point to it being the one. This rose design was drawn by Diana Poulton and her drawing was used by Harry Potts to create the woodcut version which appears on the front of the early Lute Society Journals. The main lute she played in her later years was Dolmetsch No. 4, a 10 course lute with three stepped diapasons which also had the same rose design. So it now seems that Diana had at various times at least three and maybe four lutes with the same rose design, all of which had been through Dolmetsch's hands. It is not an easy design to cut, David writes from experience!

Finally it's not 100% certain that the NZ lute belonged to Diana, she borrowed instruments from Dolmetsch and could have written a luggage label on the case while doing a concert tour.

Email round robins

Members of the Lute Society or the Federation of Guitar Societies will know that I send out regular round robin emails by which subscribers can tell each other of their concerts and other activities. I have occasionally also forwarded these to Fomrhi-ites, at least those whose email addresses I have. So don’t hesitate to send an email to and I can circulate it to other members. It costs nothing, takes only a few seconds, and can only help your activities, whatever they may be.


By the time you get this Q, I should have found time to pass on to our indefatigable webmaster, Luke Emmet (of Orlando Lutes) PDFs of recent Comms, up to the end of the 2011 subscription year (Q 120), so that our collective labours will be freely available at the press of a few buttons to musicologists and organologists all over the world, shining forth like a good deed in a naughty world.


The Fellowship of Makers and Researchers of Historical Instruments welcomes papers on all aspects of the history and making of historical musical instruments. Communications or ‘Comms’ as they are called, appeared unedited (please don’t be libellous or insulting to other contributors!), so please send them EXACTLY as you wish them to appear – in 12 point type, on A4 paper with a 25mm or 1 inch border all round, or to put it another way,if you are using non-European paper sizes, then the text area must be 160 x 246 mm (or at least no wider or longer than this). Our printers make a good job of scanning photos.

In naming your Communication, remember that people will search for it online using keywords. So if you are discussing, say, a Ruckers harpsichord in Paris, call it ‘Observations on a Ruckers harpsichord in Paris’, rather than ‘Observations on a curious old instrument.’

You can send contributions EITHER on paper, OR as a Word-compatible or PDF attachment. If you really do not have access to a word processor of any kind, we may be able to retype typed or handwritten submissions. The address to send them to is:


c/o Chris Goodwin

Southside Cottage

Brook Hill


Guildford GU5 9DJ

United Kingdom

and the email address forComms sent as attachments (and other email correspondence) is or

Non-members will be given a year's free subscription if they send in a Communication to the Quarterly.

If your interests have changed, and you don’t now want to be a member of FoMRHI, please let us know, to save postage costs.