Guitars and Lutes

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The Bate Collection during the 1970s was known as a collection of historical wind instruments, but Baines took an interest in all musical instruments. Folder 51 L10 relates to stringed instruments from around the world, particularly to the materials they were made from: metal and gut strings, and wood.

This page is one of five pages of notes Baines made using Franz Jahnel’s Manual of Guitar Technology. Baines copied from p. 240 the note: ‘That Tension stands in direct relation to the Mensurlänge [scale length] has been till now too little noticed. Only the harp-maker knows this.’ First published in 1965 and not published in English until 1981, around which time Baines retired from the Bate, it is likely that Baines read this book in German and translated the relevant passages as he made notes.

In the same folder is this drawing comparing the shaped backs of a mandolin (purple) and a lute (green). Such diagrams are relatively common among Baines’s notes: he clearly liked to understand the mathematical principles behind sound production, as well as understanding the materials used in the instruments. Other folders (notated music, photographs of musicians) indicate that he also took an interest in the use of these instruments and the people who played them.