Of Umlauts and Other Aggravating Letter Symbols, with a Little Nomenclature Confusion Thrown in While I’m at it

Speaking of harp-lutes, as I was yesterday, Benoit (whom you will notice is not getting his weird little upside-down “v” above the “i” in his pain-in-the-ass name in this instance) also found this rare treasure at left today.

It’s hanging in the Musikmuseum in Basel, Switzerland, the photo posted by visitor Olivia Pelling on her violin making site.  She unfortunately didn’t capture the details, so if any Swiss readers could help with the provenance of this instrument, I’d be grateful.

I would classify this as a “Form 5 equivalent” of a “theorboed lute-guitar.”  In other words, a basslaute (a manufacturer’s term, not an organological one) with the normal “theorbo” extension replaced by a longer head and support arm, yielding something closer to a harp frame (as in Harp Guitar Form 5).  The frame in this case supports a full 12 chromatic sub-basses!

Its own manufacturer’s name  I would guess to be “harfen-laute” – like the similar 1909 Markneukirchen Otwin Harfen-Lauten (Otto Windisch’s brand name) at left, and 1922 Johann Luhrs patented Harfenlaute below.

Of course, in English this term translates to “harp-lute,” a perfectly apt name – just so long as readers and casual researchers don’t confuse it with Light’s harp-lute and that whole different family…

Cool harp guitar relatives, huh?!

I apologize for not spelling Lührs properly above, like I just did here.  That’s the umlaut issue I mentioned in the title.  One day, I saw a whole bunch of arbitrary broken image links on random pages of the site.  What happened?!

I re-uploaded them, and their pages, but they were already there as I had thought…what’s the deal?

Turns out it wasn’t arbitrary – it was any image with a non-U.S. language character in the file name, something I had trained myself to spend a lot of time doing – copying and pasting or “insert symbol”-ing to be more respectful and accurate (and elevate my normal American lazy ignorance).

But then at some point, all these images with an ä, î, ó, ũ, etc. in the file name stopped being recognized on our U.S. Internet.  True?  So while adding the above new instrument to the Hybrid Gallery, I found yet another bunch of images I had to rename, re-link and upload.  I did the Lacote page a few months back, and I’m sure there are still many more.  I apologize – feel free to point them out so I can get the images working again.  But I won’t be apologizing for leaving out these special foreign characters from time to time – especially that pesky Benoîîîîîît!

  1. Benoit Says:

    In French the little “V” on top of my name is called accent circonflexe…

  2. Eric Hartshorn Says:

    Why is it that many things in french either sound sexier (or dirty -depending on your perspective).
    In this case, it sounds like a painful yoga position. Gregg- Note Benoit himself only signs his name “Ben”
    perhaps he can’t circonflexe ???

  3. Benoit Says:

    No I use Ben to prevent my beautiful name been massacre by American’s thongs…


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