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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Try this sonata for flute an bc... I think this works on the baroque guitar. Even though no one knows about Misón these days, he was quite famous in Spain and Her Colonies in the XVIII century, 



Doesn't matter.  Don't worry.    It's all in a day's work for bg.   Never in the right place at the right time.....
Both Grenerin's book and Carre's have been published in facsimile by Minkoff.  I know someone is preparing a separate edition of the consort pieces but I am not sure if it has been published yet.
The link worked, I've downloaded the sonatas. I'll look closer at them later. Thank you.

I have seen a large collection of 18th  century villancicos from Spain, México, Perú and Guatemala.  Judging by the fact that most of them are in C, F, G and their relative minors (makes sense considering the keys that were better suited to 1/4-comma tuning) , the guitar seems a bit complicated for the continuo realization. Don't you think that a lute with the 1st and 6th courses in G would work better than a guitar... chord shapes would be much easier. How about a guitar using a capo on the third fret?

Capos are mentioned in early sources.  Is there any evidence that a capo was used when playing continuo on the guitar?

Capos are mentioned in early sources.  Is there any evidence that a capo was used when playing continuo on the guitar?


This does sound like an an appealing solution both for ease of playing and also sound quality (my Thomann sounds bright and attractive with capo on second or third , and a little bit subdued without capo). I found a reference to a brass one piece capo from mid-1700's http://www.sternercapo.se/Capomuseum/Read/history.htm   Any earlier evidence of use on guitars and lute?

I have a traditonalflamenco cejilla which I think doesnt look too out of place on my baroque guitar

I don't think there is any evidence that capos were used on the baroque guitar when playing continuo or anything else.   By the middle of the 18th century a 6-course instrument would probably have been used.   Was the 6-course lute tuned in G still in use anywhere  in the 18th century?

Hi Edward, I'd say firstly learn all the basic chordshapes from an alfabeto table. Then learn the fretboard geography as well as you can and find or invent all the other chords (7s and 4# etc) by yourself. That's what I do.


And what also works for me is to find some baroque guitar tablature from the same period & country as the piece you're trying to play BC for, to see what was done in that particular time and place. Like: if I have to accompany French songs from 1750 I try to find some French songs or solo repertoire with original tablature from ca. 1750 to see what was done.


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