Review of 12th Meeting: 25th October, 2014

A new venue this time, due to the old one being closed for the next two years. It is likely that this had an effect on turn out, with only four members in attendance. The venue was the arts apartment belonging to Chris Elmes, who is a medieval lute specialist.

Rob MacKillop started with some 19th-century gut-strung banjo music by Frank Converse. Rob gave a spoken introduction to set the scene, then played three delightful pieces, two of which would not have been out of place in a program of 19th-century guitar music: The Dell Schottische, and The Blue Bells of Scotland.

Bill Samson SLEGS

Bill Samson played his own-made 4c guitar: Les Buffons (Morlaye, 1552) and Bransle Simple (Le Roy, 1551). I am always pleased to note that Bill just gets better and better in his SLEGS performances. Very-well played, maestro!

Philip Lord SLEGS

Philip Lord had not prepared anything, but sight-read three pieces from Lute Society publications, and did a pretty good job, including Galliard “Roch el fuss” and Gagliarda di Santino.

Los Trois Diminutions

Stuart McLuckie played two pieces by Carolan, arranged by Alan Alexander: Captain Kain and Eleanor Plunkett. It was good to also hear some lute music, in the form of a Canaries from the Straloch Lute ms.

Chris Elmes SLEGS

Chris Elmes improvised some pieces on a 5c lute by Bill Samson, then refused to let Bill take it home with him! I don’t think the luthier was at all displeased :-)

Solo Trio

Black and white photos by Rob MacKillop. Colour photos by Bill Samson.

4c Guitar_edited-1










Next Meeting: 25th October 2014

There is a new venue for our next meeting:

1F1, 25 Haddington Place, EH7 4AF (the left side of Leith Walk between Annandale St and MacDonald Rd). Parking is unrestricted off Leith Walk on weekends; MacDonald Rd or Hopetoun Cres is the best area.

There is a charge of £1 a head for the use of the venue.

The date of the next meeting is 25th October 2014 at a time to be arranged, but probably the same as usual.  We’ll let you know details nearer the time.

Review of 11th Meeting: 12 July, 2014

The best meeting yet? Some are claiming that, and it’s hard to disagree. We were graced by a visit from the American lute maestro, Ed Martin. Ed is very self-effacing, but is definitely a high-quality player with a lot of experience and knowledge. More about Ed later…

Dorothee O’Sullivan Burchard kicked off proceedings by playing a beginner piece from Diane Poulton’s tutor. Dorothee has been playing but a short time, but makes a beautiful tone, which some seasoned players fail to match. Well done, Dorothee, and keep at it!

Eric Thomas is another player with exquisite tone, and is our Resident Thumb Inside player. He played three pieces from the Rowallan manuscript, including “I never knew I loved thee”, eliciting a strong round of applause.

Bill Samson played two pieces by Attaignent on his self-made 6c lute: ‘Tant que vivray’ and the base danse, ‘La Roque’. Bill’s last few performances have been growing in strength and confidence, this one continuing the trend. Great stuff, Bill.

Rob MacKillop gave us a four-movement suite in Dm by Robert de Visee. Rob seemed relaxed, and drew forth some beautiful tones from his Bill Samson 11c lute, kitted out in all-gut strings by Damian Dlugolecki. There were a few remarks about how even the lute sounded from treble to bass.

James Jackson played a 12c hire-lute from The Lute Society, made in David van Edwards’ lute-making workshop within one week. It’s a fine, strong instrument. James played two pieces from the Balcarres manuscript. Nice to hear more Scottish lute music. James will soon be moving to Scotland permanently, so we hope to see and hear more from him.

Stuart McLuckie always entertains, and today gave two confident performances: Ricercha (Ness 84) – Francesco da Milano, and
Cessez mortels de souspirer – Pierre Guedron, arr. David van Ooijen. Great stuff, Stuart.

Philip Lord read Wilson’s Wild from Poulton’s book, and gave his best performance to date – a lesson for us all in not preparing, just turn up and read something! Sometimes we prepare too much, and worry about what we will play like. It was refreshing to see someone completely unprepared read something perfectly. Well done, Philip.

Chris Jupp continues to sound more proficient every time he plays, and today he was relaxed enough to allow some beautiful moments of sensitivity in Francesco’s no.40, to float around the room.

Chris Jupp and Eric Thomas then gave a wonderful duet performance of La Rossignol and a Canon by Milano. It is really wonderful to see members get together for small ensembles. Another couple next time, lads!

Ed Martin – What can we say about Ed Martin? He gave an excellent performance of a group of pieces in D Major by Kellner, on a lute he hadn’t seen before that morning. He also gave an interesting introduction to the music, full of fascinating insights into Kellner’s life. Thanks, Ed, and feel free to pop by any time!

Philip Lord and Bill Samson chaired a discussion about a future venue, as St Cecilia’s Hall will be closing for over a year. No decision was made, but it is a matter of urgency, which will hopefully be resolved soon.

Finally, the entire membership worked on our first ensemble piece: Awake Sweet Love by John Dowland, arranged by Rob MacKillop. After a shaky first read-through, we managed to make a fairly musical sound! I was impressed, and encouraged to arrange more pieces. Well done everybody. Watch this space for more ensemble music.

Also in attendance was Angus Robertson, a one-time lute and harpsichord maker. It was great to see Angus, and maybe one day he could give us a talk about his exploits.

All photos by Bill Samson, save for the one of Bill Samson, which was by Rob MacKillop:































Group Playlist

We now have a SoundCloud Group Playlist which you can contribute to. It is on our MP3 Page.

How it works:

Record an mp3 of your playing.

Join SoundCloud – it is free (until you require extra space)

Upload your file

Join the SLEGS Group:

Each file will have an icon which you can click to contribute your file to the SLEGS Group.

The group is moderated by me, mainly to stop people uploading irrelevant files, and remove spam, if we get any.

Any questions, ask me: robmackillop AT gmail Dot Com

Next Meeting: Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Our 11th meeting will take place at the usual venue, The Laigh Room of St Cecilia’s Hall, Cowgate, on Saturday, 12th July. We will gather from 1pm, for a start at 1.30pm.

It is hope that as many members as possible will be tuned to A=440 (modern pitch) so that we can attempt ensemble playing.

Please go to the Ensemble page, and download the music for the Dowland ensemble piece (choose a part) and the Grounds and Spices pdf – try to memorise The Buffins.

Any questions: robmackillop AT gmail DOT com.

Scottish Lute Recording Project

Some of you might be interested in Rob’s Scottish Lute Recording Project – already about 4 CDs-worth of sound files available for free.

Check it out at:

It’s an ongoing project to record most of the tunes from the Scottish lute manuscripts.


Review of 10th Meeting – 19 April, 2014

A lower turnout than usual due to the Easter holiday weekend, but certainly enough people to create a lively and interesting meeting.

Importantly, the decision was made to have an agreed pitch of A=440 , with Renaissance lutes tuned to g on the first string, where possible. The reason being: we are going to attempt some ensemble playing. Rob MacKillop will be arranging some four-part music for members to play at the next meeting. Keep looking at this website, as the parts will appear in tab soon. The music will be in four parts. Choose the part which suits your playing, and let Rob know – robmackillop AT gmail dot com. Any parts not selected will be covered by Rob.

To today’s meeting…

Stu and Philip

Stuart Mcluckie (on the left, above) started proceedings with two items from the Lute Society’s curiously named, 58 Very Easy Pieces  – very easy they are not! Stuart gave a good account of numbers 34, the Spanish pavin, and 52, the Pars A Measures Pavion by Lodge. I liked these pieces, and always look forward to Stuart’s contributions.

Rob MacKillop played some vihuela music on a 7c lute made by Bill Samson: the Fantasia del quatro tono, from Narvaez’s Book Two; then two “duo”s by Miguel de Fuenllana, one composed by Fuenllana, the other taken from a Fecit Potentiam by Josquin. This is great music, which the performer enjoyed playing, and everyone appeared to enjoy hearing.


Eric Thomas (above) played Arthur’s Dump – one of the one’s from the Marsh lute book. It is a long and interesting work, with some harmonic twists and a good driving rhythm. Eric seems to be the only dedicated thumb-inside player in the membership, but the tone he produces is bound to get others thinking about it. Fine playing.

Bill sq

Bill Samson played his “new” 5c lute – some bits of the lute were made in the 1970s, some in the 1980s, and some just last month! It was originally made as a 6c, but Bill felt it might be more comfortable as a 5c. It was really interesting to hear late medieval/early Renaissance polyphony, with pieces by Richard Loqueville (? – 1418), the teacher of the great Guillaume Dufay. Some really interesting rhythms and ear-tingling harmony. Good stuff! Bill also brought along his one-day old 6c lute – a fine wee beastie!


Philip Lord played Robert Johnson‘s Princes Almaine, and despite a faltering start, gave a good account of it. Philip played a vihuela de mano by Paul Thomson, and it sounded magnificent.

Reyyan Philip

Reyyan Ozer performed a very interesting soundtrack to a poem called 33 Bullets . Her saz playing is delicate, and haunting, with it’s microtones really sounding beautiful, if unusual among the other music we had been hearing. But I wonder how much of what we had played might originally have sounded closer to the saz interval placements? Anyway, it was a very welcome, and beautiful performance.

After the playing, Rob MacKillop gave a demonstration on how to play grounds, and all participants created a cacophony of different pitches and temperaments, strumming the buffins, and  la Romanesca. We might try this again when we are all at the same pitch!

NB Our venue, St Cecilia’s Hall, will be closing for almost a year, and we are on the hunt for an alternative venue. Watch this space for news of where that will be. A million Thanks to Darryl Martin and the gang at St Cecilia’s for helping us out thus far.

Looking forward to the next meeting!

Colour photos by Bill Samson. Black and White photos by Rob MacKillop.














Stuarts angel


Stuart 1 and Bill




Philip 2