Early Guitars and Vihuela

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Has anybody decoded the intriguing works by Perez in this MS collection copied by Castillion (Bibliotheque du Conservatoire Royale Musique  Brussels Cote 5.615)? The fullest version of the various attributions of various works in the collection to Perez  is against a piece (page 102) 'Passacaille dite Marizapalos' and gives 'par D. Michel Perez /de Zavala Espagnol/1690)'.  A good note on the MS by Monica Hall is here


The problem is, or so it seems to me, that the intabulation is often a bit wonky and perhaps was made through aural transmission so that frequently passages/phrases etc appear disjointed and end hanging in mid air so to speak - and the flagging also seems by no means rational.  Further, whilst in most of the works by other composers in this collection the bar lines seem to exhibit features of modern usage (eg indicating stress, phrase ends and the like), in these Perez pieces they often appear set against their bar lines - again suggesting perhaps a transcription by an auditor or student.

I can't find any modern reconstructions of the pieces but, if there are any, I'd be grateful to be pointed in their direction. One piece on page 108, a 'March Dauphine' is relatively straightforward and can be adjusted on sight but the others generally need rather more careful consideration. Similarly, some few strange  passages in a couple of works by Corbet/Corbetta and Lelio can be adjusted with little effort 


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PS. Further to this:  I forgot to mention that the peculiar seeming writing may also be to do with many ornaments being fully written out - or attempted to be - rather than the more usual shorthand signs commonly employed.


The pieces were originally included in an earlier manuscript copied by Castillion - B-Lc Ms. 245 in about 1706. This ms. includes one additional pieces by Perez - with the title "Air". In the introduction to the later ms. Castillion says that his father studied the guitar with Perez whilst he was in Madrid as a diplomat in the 1690. Presumably Castillion got his copies of the pieces from his father. There are one or two other pieces by Perez in other mss. Can't remember which offhand. I made a transcription of Marizapalos ages ago - it is handwritten.  The March Dauphine is included in 19 Easy to intermediate pieces published by the Lute Society. I think you are right - the imprecise rhythm is the result of the ornaments being written out in full.  I will have to leace it there for the time being.......

Just for the record       BLc.Ms.245      Ms.S5615         Ms.II.5551D                   

Gigue [M.Perez]              p.17                p.105                p.95                             

Gigue [M.Perez]              p.23                p.109                -

Passacaille Marizapalos  p.48                p.102                p.93

[D.Michel Perez de Zavala]                                          

Air[M.Perez][1]              p.140                   -                       -

Marche Dauphine                     -            p.108   

[1] Original = LullyLWV 14/2 « Sommes-nous pas trop heureux belle Iris » 

Trying to paste the table in may not have been very successful.

There is one more piece by Perez in E-BC Ms.M3658 - a Xicona.  A transcription of this is in a music supplement to the Spanish periodical Hispanica Lyra.


Thanks Monica.

In that case I might draft a 'decoded' realisation of the Passacaille since I'm intrigued by the unusual setting.


I'll be interested to see what you come up with and compare it with my version. To whet your appetite I have attached the piece from the Catalan ms.


As mentioned earlier, I found Perez's flamboyant setting (in B-Bc 5.615) of the popular Marizapalos particularly intriguing (more florid in places than other surviving settings such as those by Guerau, Sanz, de Murcia and preserved in the Coimbra MS). However as given it's clearly flawed and I wondered if anybody had come up with a reasonable restoration.

So far there's been no offers so, if of any interest, here's my attempt. As explained in the brief notes on page 3, a reasonable restoration is possible because of the known harmonic structure of this baile and the existence of other settings in contemporary sources.




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