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The Haslemere Manuscript, Pieces and Lute Partitas | Vol. 5/5

Johann Michael Kühnel (c.1665-c.1725) • Baroque lute • French tablature

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• Composer(s): Johann Michael Kühnel (c.1665-c.1725)
• Title: The Haslemere Manuscript
• Sub-title: Pieces and Lute Partitas
• Year of edition: c.1750-1780
• Source: GB-HAdolmetsch Ms II.B.2
• Volume: 5


The Haslemere Manuscript

This manuscript contains tablatures that a lutenist from Dresden or Prague assembled in the second half of the 18th century, most likely to be used for his own playing or teaching. His instrument of reference was a 12-course D-minor-tuned lute. Some pieces require a 13th course, but they are few in number, and the indication of a 13th course may have been added later. This copyist often indicated a composer's name alongside the titles; however, many pieces, whose origin must have been known to him, are anonymous. The tablatures are generally grouped by key, in order to be played consecutively without having to retune the bass courses. Only rarely are these groups of pieces explicitly referred to as Suites or Sonatas.

The original manuscript is now kept at the Carl Dolmetsch Library, in Haslemere, England; its reference is GB-HAdolmetsch ms II.B.2. Its history is unclear; it may have belonged to the Fétis collection, since we know that Fétis sold or traded several of the many works he had purchased1.

In the early 20th century, the manuscript was acquired by Eugène Arnold Dolmetsch (1858-1940). Born French into a family of organ, piano and harmonium makers, Arnold Dolmetsch went to London to study early music and its instruments. He earned a baccalaureate in music in 1889, and settled in London.

After teaching a short while, he began building keyboard instruments, and opened a lutherie workshop in Haslemere in Surrey, where he built copies of almost every sort of instrument played from the 15th to the 18th century.

Johann Michael Kühnel (c.1665-c.1725)

Johann Michael Kühnel was a German lutenist, born circa 1665.

His grandfather Samuel Kühnel was a good musician; his father Auguste Kühnel, born on 3 August 1645, was Kapellmeister in Kassel in the reign of Charles I of Hesse-Kassel. The latter was a remarkable composer and disciple of the famous Abbate Steffani. He was also a very distinguished gambist who played at many German courts and performed successfully in Paris and London as well.

Johann Michael Kühnel was equally renowned for his proficiency on the bass viol and the lute, and he composed for both instruments.

In Berlin, he entered the service of the court of Frederick III of Brandenburg, who in 1701 became King of Prussia under the name of Frederick I, as Secretary of the Prince. Under the reign of Frederick William I, the artist-secretary extended his service a further five years. However, the "Soldier King", a hunter and a brutal ruler, was not the patron of the arts his father was, which is perhaps why our musician was engaged, in 1717, by William Ernest, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, with the same title. Later in life, he served the Field-Marshall and Prime Minister of Saxony Jakob Heinrich von Flemming for several years in Dresden. He died in Hamburg.

Johann Michael Kühnel had a sonata for one or two bass viols and continuo printed. His compositions for the lute were not printed, and that music exists mainly in manuscript.

Jean-Daniel Forget | Le Luth Doré ©2015


9 pieces in G Major
Allegro (Kühnel)
Bourrée (Kühnel)
Menuet (Kühnel)
Sarabande (Kühnel)
Gigue (Kühnel)
Courante (Kühnel)

Gigue in B-flat Major
Gigue (Kühnel)


Ms. Code Ms. Name Library Name Country
A-GÖ1 A-GÖ ms. Lautentabulatur Nr. 1 Göttweig, Benediktinerstift, Musikarchiv Austria
A-Wn18829 A-Wn ms. 18829 Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Musiksammlung Austria
CZ-Bm371 CZ-Bm Ms. sig. A.371 Brno, Moravské zemské muzeum, oddělení dějin hudby MZM
    Provenience: Musicalien-Bibliothek des Stiftes Raigern 5.a.
Czech Republic
CZ-Bm372 CZ-Bm Ms. sig. A.372 Brno, Moravské zemské muzeum, oddělení dějin hudby MZM
    Provenience: Musicalien-Bibliothek des Stiftes Raigern 5.b.
Czech Republic
D-Witt D-BLfk M 184a (olim: Belletr. / 272, "Anleitung zum Singen")
Bad Laasphe, Fürst Wittgensteinsches Archiv Bad Laasphe Germany
I-Ven I-BDG ms. sans cote Bassano del Grappa, Biblioteca Civica
    Chilesotti manuscript (Chilesotti's transcription of the ms, now retained lost)
NL-DHgm50535 NL-DHgm ms. 50.535
    Suite à Luthe Solo / par Kühnel
Den Haag, Gemeentemuseum Netherlands
NL-DHgm50536 NL-DHgm ms. 50.536
    Concerto a Liuto, Violino et Basso - Sigre Kühnold
Den Haag, Gemeentemuseum Netherlands

Work Title | Piece Title Ms. Code Ms. Page
9 pieces in G Major
Allegro (Kühnel) - -
Bourrée (Kühnel) - -
Menuet (Kühnel) - -
Trio - -
Rondeau - -
Sarabande (Kühnel) - -
Courante CZ-Bm371
23v (LX)
Gigue (Kühnel) - -
Courante (Kühnel) - -
Gigue in B-flat Major
Gigue (Kühnel) A-GÖ1


Jean-Daniel Forget
Computer Scientist, Lutenist

Passionate about the baroque era, Jean-Daniel Forget is a self-taught lutenist. In order to play the forgotten (lute) works of the 17th and 18th centuries, he has copied (and studied) their manuscripts for almost 20 years.

A long career as a computer scientist, having made him expert in programming, allowed him to utilize the normal logic of writing music, especially that which transcribes tablature for instruments with fretted strings.

In collaboration with Guy Grangereau. he has posted his tablatures on a public internet site that is frequented by many lutenists and guitarists.

Forget was enlisted by Miguel Serdoura to help prepare the musical examples for his fine Method of the Baroque Lute. Further on, he continues to assist Serdoura in the preparation of his (lute) editions.


Guy Grangereau
Guitarist, Lutenist

Guy Grangereau is a professional musician who studied guitar playing in Paris, notably with the Brazilian Turibio Santos. Then, he perfected his musical knowledge at Martenot school in Paris.

Since 1984, he gave guitar and piano lessons and, for twenty years, he taught guitar in music schools.

His favorite instrument is a guitar (Maurice Dupont) initially with 13 strings, to which a 14th string was added; more recently were added two strings and a theorbo neck for the last four strings. This 16 strings instrument can be tuned in thirds (open tuning); he uses it to transcribe solo harpsichord works. He also plays a 14-course theorbed baroque lute (Stephen Murphy).

Since 2010, he is collaborating with Jean-Daniel Forget for the copy of German baroque lute manuscripts of the 17th and 18th centuries, in bringing more particularly his musical expertise to the review of the Silvius Leopold Weiss’ work.

• Editor(s): Jean-Daniel Forget & Guy Grangereau
• Music period: Baroque
• Instrument(s): 13c Baroque lute
• Instrumentation: Baroque lute solo
• Notation: French tablature
• Modern edition: Urtext
• Publisher: Le Luth Doré Urtext Editions
• Year of publication: 2015
• Collection: Lute and Theorbo Music Collection

• Pages: pp. 26
• Dimensions: 230x310 mm
• Weight: 0,320g
• Binding: Section sewn glue binding
• ISMN: 377-0-0017-8816-6

Le Luth Doré Urtext Editions

The Le Luth Doré Urtext Editions offer musicians and musicologists worldwide reliable and authoritative musical texts. The main features are:

• superb and aesthetically appealing music engraving
• optimized for practical use (page turns, fingerings)
• books originally in Italian tablature are published in both Italian and French tablatures
• high-quality and durable (cover, paper, binding)
• both original and modern prefaces, documentation of the corrections made and explanatory footnotes in English, French, Italian, German …

About Le Luth Doré Urtext Editions

Our editions are urtext: we strive to provide reliable musical texts that are as true as possible to the existing sources and the composer’s intentions. We are aware, of course, that it is impossible to reconstruct the one and only urtext. Often, several manuscript sources exist for the same piece, and there is little reliable guidance for determining which version best represents the composer's intentions.

Although we cannot entirely dissipate historical uncertainty, we can compare texts and correct obvious errors, which sometimes occur even in autograph manuscripts. Sources have been meticulously examined - note by note, mark by mark.

When facing ambiguity inherent to the sources, wise editorial judgment must take the place of textual certainty.

The most important observations and editorial decisions are elucidated in the prefaces, in the critical commentary, in footnotes, or marked as such in the musical text. It therefore comes as no surprise that an editor has to invest a great deal of patience, knowledge and time when piecing together an urtext that is true to the source and, hopefully, to the composers’ intentions as well. Proven specialists with extensive knowledge and experience edit our Le Luth Doré Urtext Editions in close cooperation with our Editorial Department.

Each verified musical text preserves the original fingerings and notation of ornamentation and, in the absence of original manuscript notations, also sets forth helpful suggestions by modern masters regarding useful fingerings and ornaments faithful to historical style, as a stimulus to further thought and a starting point for the student's approach to performance.

We are deeply grateful to all the extraordinary musicologists, music teachers and artists that put their knowledge and experience at our disposal for Le Luth Doré Urtext Editions.

Le Luth Doré ©2015

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