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Harry Hoffmann


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Harry Hoffmann, left-handed lute

- Abitur (High school diploma) in Langenau/Wuerttemberg

- Studied physics in Ulm and Göttingen, graduated with a diploma.

- Active as a rock and jazz guitarist in Ulm and Göttigen.

- Studies of musicology in Göttingen and classical guitar in Heidelberg, without degrees

- Studies of lute in Bremen (with second subject singing), graduation: artistic maturity examination


Since the mid 80's concerts as a lutenist, solistic and as a continuo player. 
Many own ensembles with music of the 16th-18th centuries and development of numerous own program ideas on themes from Renaissance and Baroque, thereby collaboration with actors and dancers.

© Frank Pusch

Pressefoto H.Hoffm.-Foto Frank Pusch.jpg
Pressefoto H.Hoffm.-Foto Frank Pusch.jpg


September 29, 2021

Do you see yourself as left-handed or right-handed?

I have a strong left hand for fine motor skills, but I also use my right hand a lot for all kinds of things; I write and draw with my left hand.


Did you play your instrument "left-handed" from the start?

Yes, but the reason was that I was self-taught and there were enough role models in the rock and pop music of that time. A teacher at that time - i.e. in the 70s - would certainly have tried to change me to right-handed playing.


Did you face any reservations about this?

No, there have never been any reservations.


How did you come by your instruments?

I always had my lutes made for me personally, but that actually had nothing to do with left-handedness, but was the usual practice among professional players.

I always "adjusted" my (modern) guitars to left-handedness myself, but I didn't use them in concerts, only for teaching purposes. By the way, my right-handed students had no problems with my left-handedness (which surprised me!). 


Were you able to try out a lute at all before you had your own built? Most lute types are very asymmetrical and can't simply be restrung for left-handed playing. - Or is that at least possible for renaissance lutes?

When I had my first lute built, I borrowed a 6-course renaissance lute from the London Early Music Shop (with plastic body!, but spruce top), which could actually be restrung to the left - of course, this is not possible with "real" lutes (including renaissance lutes).


What are your experiences with playing left-handed in orchestras and ensembles?

I never had any problems.


What strange or funny experiences did you have with your lefty playing style?

With two theorbos - left and right - you have the beautiful "V-effect" of the two lute necks, which always causes amusement among colleagues and the audience.


Do you see any advantages in playing 'the other way around'?

I couldn't imagine anything else!

Pressefoto H.Hoffm.-Foto Frank Pusch.jpg
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