Early Guitars and Vihuela

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Ok, here goes. I've been playing the ren lute for a decade and a half, and baroque archlute continuo for about a decade now, and have been itching to try out baroque guitar for ages. I tried to use a ukulele once as a sort of baroque guitar substitute once, but alas it didn't quite go down well with the other ensemble players even though they were on modern instruments...


On that note, James Tyler's book doesn't really say which the most useful tuning is - no bourdons or 4th bourdon only. I note that Monica Hall mentioned that a 4th bourdon is a compromise that works best. Would those of you who play continuo say that it works well for continuo? Does Alfabeto presume both 4th and 5th course are bourdonless?
Coming from a background of archlute continuo, the idea that inversions don't matter is somewhat scary. 
Also, not finding anything in the book about what to do for such things as suspensions is rather worrying. The sole example given for baroque guitar in basso continuo appears to ignore such things as 7ths and 4-3 cadences. What do I do about diminished and augmented chords? Nigel North's book was supremely useful when I started out playing lute continuo, and still remains a fabulous resource into which I dip from time to time, but what does one do when looking up chord fingerings? I have never played guitar of any sort in my life, having started lute at 17. For chords not in the Alfabeto system, will I have to start looking at 'guitar chords for beginners' and suchlike publications?

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Well - the baroque guitar never seems to have been very popular in German lands if the lack of evidence is anything to go by.   By the time we get into the 18th century probably  not in Italy.  Yes in Spain so I suppose that you could argue that this is a performance of Telemann taking place in Spain........
probably not for 18th C Italy? i rather like the BGs jangling away in my Vivaldi… :(
Vivaldi will be turning in his grave.....
I don't know...considering his happy soul and love for music made by amateurs (don't forget the "Girls School") I rather think he would be dancing in his grave at the wonderous sound of Edwards "jangling" guitar.

Monica, i notice your article on the use of the BG in BC doesn't really mention Italy much. is there not much evidence of BG use in BC there? i suppose that means the archlute and theorbo reigned unchallenged...


Scot, i like to think my BG playing may be only *slightly* better than the worst beginner at the girls' school. on the other hand, Vivaldi wrote for tromba marina, so i wonder what he would have done had he seen such things as the ukulele, harmonica, theremin and various Eastern instruments. 

What about the ondes martinot?   The article was really a write up of a short talk I gave to the Lute Society so it is not very detailed.   Because the most useful sources for us today are Sanz, Murcia and Matteis I concentrated more on them.   However several of the Italian guitar books - Foscarini, Corbetta, Granata in particular, not to mention Banfi, do include examples showing how to harmonize the notes of the scale - and in French sources so do  Grenerin and Carre.   I am sure that the guitar was regularly  used everywhere to accompany people singing throughout the 17th century and perhaps also in small scale chamber music.  
But Scot, 'girls' does not automatically imply 'amateurs'! I understand these girls were trained to be professional musicians and they were very good.

You are very correct Jelma, "girls" doe not equate with "amateurs". I apologize for that implication, it certainly was not intended.


I merely wanted to point out that Vivaldi appeared not to have had a prejudice against very many, if any, instruments and to look to the "girls school" (actually an orphanage, the Pio Ospedale della Pieta) at which he taught for proof.  His output from the repertoire he created for them (and even later) occassionally featured instruments not commonly found in the Baroque orchestra. Including mandoline and Tromba marina.


With that in mind I suspect a "jangling" Baroque guitar would have been a pleasure to him and not out of place. And considering the popularity of the instrument during his era it's likely many of the orphans played guitar and it made it's way into the continuo section of the orchestra...on occassion.


They were being trained to earn a living certainly.   However I think it is questionable whether the baroque guitar was still very popular in Vivaldi's era as Scot suggests.

understand that our amateur baroque trio have to go to Spain to play Telemann correct with our instrumentation..... Sounds like a nice idea if the weather is fine.


Monica, you doubt that Telemann intended his music to be accompanied with the baroque guitar, and I share your doubt – To be honest, doubt is not the right word, I'm almost certain he did not.


Then why do I try to do this? The flute player came with the sonata and wanted to play this music. She was very enthusiastic just having bought an new traverso that sounded very good. “There are some numbers over the bass notes, you can play this, can't you?”


I had to choose between the instruments I play: Renaissance lute, baroque guitar, and classical guitar. I chose baroque guitar because of the sound color and that it is on guitar I am used to think chords. (If Telemann thought of any plucked strings I think maybe the gallichon would have been a possible instrument).


So what this is about, is compromises. We have to use the instruments we play, and baroque guitar sounds more baroque than classical guitar.


Monica, since you had the pleasure of trowing a spanner, you could not throw in some good ideas on music that is appropriate for traverso, baroque guitar and cello? Then I could come to the others in the trio and say, we just have to play this music, it is so wonderful...

Well - you could try the pieces in the books of Grenerin and Carre - his second book of ca,1677.   They are suitable for different combinations of instruments... Really there isn't any music specifically for this combination of instruments but players probably did in the past what they do today - they play the music with whatever instruments they have to hand.   I suppose the important question is - are we using instruments which we know were in use at the time and are we playing them in the apropriate style?     So feel free to play Telemann as you wish............

I didn't find the books of Grenerin and Carre using Google, I found something from these composers, but it was solo pieces. Therefore I have to ask you: Where do I find these books?

I found something else that looked OK: Suites pour dessus et basse from Robert De Visée. I have not looked closer at this music, but the range of the melody voice seemed to suit the traverso well.


I had a more general question concerning continuo on baroque guitar that I hoped someone could answer: Some times a bass line is so high voiced that the ordinary chord shapes for the first positions will place some of the tones on the BG below the bass line. (I use diapason on the 4th course) Should I be careful not to come below the bass lines or is this not so important?


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