Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

Hello all,

Assuming, from various historical sources, that the 4-course guitar was still played well until the mid-seventeenth century (at least in continuo and maybe as a "popular" instrument) what are the baroque pieces — be it for lute or 5 course guitar — that seem to you to fit the most accurately a possible transcription for 4 course ? I know there once had been such transcriptions on the forum by Cogg, but the links on the score page don't work, so I think they're not available anymore. 

I also began to work on some de Visée and Campion pieces, which lend themselves quite well on four course, but I was wondering if any of our dear members have already did this kind of "retro-engineering" of the repertoire for renaissance guitar, beautiful without doubt, but quite small in number.

Any insights, ideas, comments — and of course actual scores ! — would be the most welcome.

Thanks ahead,


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I would think alfabeto would be the easiest place to start. and the first pieces  in the first Sanz book would probably be pretty simple adaptations as well....

I haven't started working on Baroque pieces yet, but how about John Dowland transcribed for four-course instruments.  Here's a PDF of the King of Denmark's Gaillard and Tarleton's Resurrection to try out. I have transcribed 39 of Dowland's pieces and published them with Lulu.com at the following address: http://www.lulu.com/shop/michael-walker/john-dowland-selected-piece... 


Thanks to the both of you for the prompt and helpful answer. 

Yes, some Sanz work very well on 4 courses (and some de Murcia as well). As for Dowland, it is more challenging to keep the musical interest without thinning out two much the intricate polyphony. But Mr Walker's transcriptions are as usual very good; BTW you may also enjoy the great work done on this site :


I'm now leaning towards the light and joyful pieces by Fabritio Caroso and Cesare Negri, which don't loose too much substance on 4 course. But any other idea will be welcome.



Thanks for pointing out the Renaissance ukulele blog - He has some interesting pieces he's worked on including a number by Dowland I had not transcribed.  Thanks again, Gilles - All the best!

Thank you for the link to your new publication, it is a very interesting addition to the repertoire of the renaissance guitar!


The "societe francaise de luth" (www.sf-luth.org) has a wonderful collection by Pascale Boquet.

Volume 18 : 108 pièces pour guitare renaissance, (France, Italie, Espagne, Angleterre et Irlande) Arrangements par Pascale Boquet. Paris 2000. 60 p. Prix : 15 € / 18 € + (FR / 4 €) (EU / 7 €) 



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