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Left-hand thumb use on Lute

For additional information see Yehuda Schryer in Lute News 24/5 (January 2006), and  Jean-Marie Poirier posted some additional examples when the same matter came up on the French lute list:
An interesting suggestion was made by several, that the thumb may have been positioned to damp the lowest course.

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These two pictures thought to represent Francesco Canova da Milano show the thumb poised to stop the sixth course.  The first is the portrait recenly discovered by Franco Pavan in the Pinacoteca Civica in Como, and the the engraved frontispiece for the Marcolini edition of 1536.  Judging from the several portraits he had unusually large hands.

The Francesco portrait at Como

The Marcolini engraving of 1536

An Example from Fantasia 27

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Some additional examples.

JudenkŁnig (1523)

Portrait of David

An Angel (detail)

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