Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas


Does any of our dear members know of a possible transcription of Couperin's "les Sylvains" for baroque guitar ? 

If not, what would be the best key to start with in creating a suitable transcription for a BG in "french" tuning (re-entrant A and octave on D). Knowing that the two best transcriptions for modern guitar are either in D (Philippe Meunier/Breitkopf) or in G (David Russell).

Thanks in advance for your tips and answers.



Views: 360

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

To me it seems D will be better...

G goes either too high or too low in melody.

But I would try to check it over...

Usually I check the melody first if it fits the guitar comfortably (what are the lowest and the highest notes of the melody...  and in this kind of music the melody tessitura is ususually quite narrow...  it seldom extends an octave - if we do not consider octave transpositions)

Then I check the harmony - not true bass line but the general harmony - since most probably on baroque guitar I want be able to realize bass lines effectively and precisely...  - so I check modulations and general chords mostly for as many of open positions as possible...  

And I try to play the melody with strummed chords below it first

then I check actual bass line and other voices in original score to see if there are some moves  that seem important and I'd like to keep in transcrition  (not so many in this piece)...

Last but not least - I try to see possiblilites for using re-entrant tuning and campanillas style technique to bring in baroqur guitar flavour in arrangement..  in this pice it could especially important with all these ornamentions 

I have a harpsichord score...  I did not intend to do it but I will give it a try tonight just for fun to see how it works...

Besides there's big facsimile collection of french music with lots of trascriptions from harpsichord 


To me it seemed that these transcritopns are often quite simplistic but nice to have it as a source anyway

Perhaps strange to reply to a posting so old, but thanks for this link. Somehow I never found this before. A beautiful MSS to see and delightful music as well.



Dear Yuri Liman,

Thanks for your kind and insightful answer. After some trials, you're absolutely right and D major seems to be the best compromise for this piece which is quite straightforward except for the last part in minor which calls for a kind of haunting sound that is not easy to transfer to the BG, due to the lack of basses. 

Best regards,



© 2022   Created by Jelma van Amersfoort.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service