theorbo

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theorbo

(thēôr`bō), large lutelute,
musical instrument that has a half-pear-shaped body, a fretted neck, and a variable number of strings, which are plucked with the fingers. The long lute, with its neck much longer than its body, seems to have been older than the short lute, existing very early in the
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 of the baroque period. It had an extra set of bass strings, not stopped on a fingerboard as the regular set are but plucked as open strings. These made it more suitable for playing baroque music than was the lute. It originated in the late 16th cent. and survived until the end of the 18th cent. Its name was also spelled theorbe, theorboe, or tiorba.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Theorbo

 

a plucked musical instrument; a bass lute. Theorbos vary in the number of strings provided; in the 18th century, 12 paired and two single strings were used. The theorbo was used from the 16th to the 18th century to accompany vocal performances and as the bass instrument in ensembles.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.