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Looking, yet again, at early four course guitar stringing I'd be grateful for any additional perspectives especially on the stringing of the third course, bearing in mind the Phalese (1570) directions.
Bermudo in his 1555 work describes two principle tunings for the four course guitar: Temple Nuevos and Temple Viejos. The highest three courses are understood to be in unison and the doubled fourth course with a bass and an octave high string.
Cerreto's 1601 tuning has the same intervals as Bermudo's Temple Viejos but with both strings of the fourth course at the higher octave.
Praetorius (1619) gives nominal pitches which have the same intervals as Bermudo's Temple Nuevos but just the lower octave single fourth course depicted and with no description of detailed stringing of any doubled courses.
Phalese's Selectissima of 1570 (Rostock University Library Musica XVI-58) contains latin text describing, amongst other things, the detailed stringing of the four courses.  Heartz's translation (Galpin Soc 1963) clearly shows that Phalese describes an instrument with an octave on both the fourth AND third courses. The article by Dobson, Segerman and Tyler in LSJ 1974 questions some of Heartz's conclusions: in particular that Phalese indicates third and fourth basses an octave lower than nominal rather than the small basses being an octave high. The article's conclusions are nowadays generally accepted but this still leaves Phalese requiring a high octave on the third course as well as the fourth.
All this is not just an academic query: I've just rebuilt a small four course made in the 1980s and am now uncertain how to string it. The high octave on the third course certainly makes a noticeable difference (with numerous unexpected inversions - shades of the five course guitar controversy!).  I'd also be grateful for personal experiences of employing a high octave on the third course of the early four course instrument and its suitability in the contemporary non-Phalese repertoire. Do people use this tuning for the other sources or do they bother to re-string? Also any relevant papers I may have overlooked.
MH

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Sadly Monica cannot attend further to this thread since she has other, understandably more pressing, domestic obligations (see her last above) - accordingly I'll not now respond to her latest comments.  However it may be helpful for those with an interest in this little instrument, to clarify a few of the points I made earlier and, in particular, to give the complete relevant quote from Praetorius where he describes the instrument. You can then make up your own minds as to whether his reports should be given any credence or simply dismissed.

Praetorius (1619) is one of the very few early organological sources we actually have (and roughly contemporary with the 'chitarra' being discussed) and many of his observations have proved accurate and telling in other contexts. In this particular case, by linking flat backed instruments directly to contemporary Italian usage, his reports also suggest that some of these Italian instruments may have been flat backed too and not lute shaped. One of the terms he employs, Chiterna, is not far off the name 'chitarra' under discussion but, in any case, the precise local name is not really relevant since the instrument was known by many other names depending on location. eg. Gorlier and Morlaye call the figure eight instrument Guiterne, Le Roy calls it Guiterre and, of course, English sources frequently used an Anglicised version of Guiterne - eg Gittern / Gitterne.

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Extract from De Organographia (1619) pages 52-53:

Chapter 26
QUINTERNA
'The Quinterna or Chiterna is a four course instrument tuned like the original lute [ie its internal intervals]. Its back is not round, however, but completely flat, like that of ein Bandoer (the Bandora); the depth of the sides are at most two or three fingers breadth (see Plate XVI).
Some have five courses of strings; and in Italy the Ziarlatini [charlatans] and Salt'inbanco [mountebanks] - these people are like our comics and buffoons - use them for simple strummed accompaniments to their villanelle and other vulgar, clownish songs.
However, to use it as an accompamiment for beautiful art-songs performed by an accomplished singer is quite a different thing altogether.'


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Praetorius's association with Italian commedia dell'arte figures is also reinforced by contemporary Italian depictions of such performers playing small flat backed figure of eight shaped instruments. For example the clown dancing and playing such an instrument in a painting of the Balli di Sfessania by Callot at around the same time as Praetorius was writing (Grunfeld p. 80, Evans 133). In short, Praetorius is reporting (accurately in my view) that that small four course, flat backed, figure of eight shaped instruments (ie not lute shaped) were also being used in Italy at the time.

Incidentally, his next chapter (27) does in fact deal with a small four string lute shaped instrument which he calls Pandurina: Mandurichen. He also reports that it known variously as Bandurichen, Mandoer and Mandurnichen - but, tellingly, not known as Chitarra.

Also note that, for Praetorius, Cithara (Chapter 31) was the wire strung cittern in various sizes and tunings - he carefully describes Italian and French cittern styles and mentions some instruments associated with named individuals. He even very precisely gives the exact gauges of wire string required. All in fact extremely methodical for the period and not, I'd suggest, the work of someone usually cavalier with the facts.

MH

 Martyn seems determine to go on pressing his point but unfortunately a lot of what he says is inaccurate and irrelevant. He seems to be trying to argue that Praetorius’s description of the quinterna proves that the chitarra italiana, the chitarra napoletana or the chitarra a siete corde were flat backed figure of eight shaped instruments.

It doesn’t – Praetorius is certainly describing a 4-course flat backed figure of 8-shaped instrument but nothing he says links this with Italy.

Martyn’s translation (and Tyler’s) is slightly inaccurate – the first sentence reads

 The guitar or chiterna,  is a four-course instrument  tuned like the first lute (as described previously in Number 24) .

 The lute is described in Chapter 24 on p.29 and its tunings are shown in the Table 24 on p. 27. The tuning in the first column is  c  f  a  d’. 

The tuning of the Quinterna is shown on p. 28 in the first column No. 26. It is shown twice. The first is c  f  a  d’; the second is a 4th higher – g’ d’ b  f.  

Praetorius goes on to say

 Some guitars have five courses of strings,  and in Italy, the Ziarlatini and Salt’in banco (who are like our commedians and buffoons) use them for simple strummed accompaniments to their villanelle and other vulgar clownish songs. 

 In 1619 the the 5-course guitar was well established in Italy and the commedia dell'arte  musicians would have played 5-course guitars. This is certainly how Tyler interprets it.  The illustration by Jacques Callot does not show how many courses the instrument has although it seems to have 5 pegs, but the well known portrait of Carlo Cantu – another commedia dell'arte  figure clearly shows him playing a small 5-course guitar.

 There are other things about Praetorius which suggest that he wasn’t very familiar with the instrument he is describing – his illustration shows a  6-course instrument with a single first course and five double courses and the two tunings he gives suggest that there were two sizes – one quite big.   

 One problem with this list is that it is not possible to save one’s message and go back to it if one is interrupted as I frequently am. But the issue seems important enough to spend time responding to it and sorting out exactly what Praetorius says.

 

Attachments:

Just one further point - Martyn says that "in Praetorius' next chapter (27) he in fact deals with a small four string lute shaped instrument which he calls Pandurina: Mandurichen. He also reports that it known variously as Bandurichen, Mandoer and Mandurnichen - but, tellingly, not known as Chitarra." If he is suggesting that  this proves that the term chitarra in Italian can't refer to a small lute he is talking nonsense. The meaning depends on the context.

I am attaching a rather nice illustration of a quintern from Virdung's Musica Getutscht writing in German a 100 years earlier which is clearly a small lute. 

Attachments:

Dear Monica,

As mentioned in the response to your earlier recent note which I've just sent, 

(......... I am quite happy for the chitarra to be thought of as either a lute shaped or figure of eight shaped instrument. It's plausible that both types co-existed ).

I also said on a number of previous occasions that we both seemed to agree that either form could be possible - I'm sorry if I failed to make this clear enough.  As I understand it, you favour the lute shaped version - I think both may have been reasonably commonly employed. 

Martyn

Dear Martyn Thanks for this. It is all my fault for starting a silly argument but I think it more likely that the instruments referred to as chitarra italiana etc. are lute shaped but that doesn't rule out figure of eight shaped instruments which would have existed along side and the two forms would be interchangeable, As for Praetorius I just don't think that he has supplied enough information for us draw definite conclusions from. 

How are the llamas?

Thanks Monica.  And sorry my follow-up to my Saturday message, also sent on Saturday, was sent before this latest of yours - I'd not have sent it otherwise.

The llamas (actually alpacas I'm told) in the next couple of fields down in our little hamlet are OK but we (ie the village other than their owners) do worry about the poor animals being kept as pets, generally held in pens and having a wretched life with grass mowed under their feet but then fed only on bought-in feed.  

regards

Martyn

Poor alpacas. I imagined them grazing peacefully on the mountain side. I am just reading a book about what I think is your part of the country - Millstone grit by Glynn Hughes.

Dear Monica,

It's very good that you're free to be back with us.  Would you now therefore kindly address the specific questions put to you in mine of Friday 25 Aug and Wed 30 Aug last and clarify your position about these matters; preferably without further digressions.

Regarding Praetorius, I've interpolated my responses into your latest and, for convenience to all, am pasting them in below.

Martyn

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'Martyn seems determine to go on pressing his point but unfortunately a lot of what he says is inaccurate and irrelevant (MH: I'd be grateful for a detailed note of these precise inaccuracies other than, of course, simply contrary assertions).  He seems to be trying to argue that Praetorius’s description of the quinterna proves that the chitarra italiana, the chitarra napoletana or the chitarra a siete corde were flat backed figure of eight shaped instruments. 

(MH: No - as clearly pointed out no less than four times in our earlier exchanges, I am quite happy for the chitarra to be thought of as either a lute shaped or figure of eight shaped instrument. It's plausible that both types co-existed ).
It doesn’t – Praetorius is certainly describing a 4-course flat backed figure of 8-shaped instrument but nothing he says links this with Italy.
(MH: Praetorius's report of the four or five course configuration, which both appear in the same chapter 26 describing the Quinterna/Chiterna, and his description of a flat backed instrument therefore applies to both four and five course configurations. He makes no mention of the instruments described in this chapter as being lute shaped. I was extremely chary of interpreting this to fit any other suggestion.)
Martyn’s translation (and Tyler’s) is slightly inaccurate
(MH: Not my translation - I used Crookes, Clarendon Press 1986, translation - there's no substantive difference of his with yours below.) – the first sentence reads
 The guitar or chiterna,  is a four-course instrument  tuned like the first lute (as described previously in Number 24) .
(MH: In fact, I very carefully refrained from using the translation ‘The guitar or chiterna’ since it begs the question and I actually employed Praetorius’s own precise terminology ie 'The Quinterna or Chiterna’....) 
 The lute is described in Chapter 24 on p.29 and its tunings are shown in the Table 24 on p. 27. The tuning in the first column is  c  f  a  d’. The tuning of the Quinterna is shown on p. 28 in the first column No. 26. It is shown twice. The first is c  f  a  d’; the second is a 4th higher – g’ d’ b  f.  Praetorius goes on to say Some guitars have five courses of strings,  and in Italy, the Ziarlatini and Salt’in banco (who are like our commedians and buffoons) use them for simple strummed accompaniments to their villanelle and other vulgar clownish songs. 
(MH: Indeed, the Italian usage of the flat backed instrument is as pointed out in the note I sent earlier along with the Crookes translation).
 In 1619 the 5-course guitar was well established in Italy and the commedia dell'arte  musicians would have played 5-course guitars. This is certainly how Tyler interprets it.  The illustration by Jacques Callot does not show how many courses the instrument has although it seems to have 5 pegs, but the well known portrait of Carlo Cantu – another commedia dell'arte  figure clearly shows him playing a small 5-course guitar.
(MH: And, of course, this supports Praetorius’s report that small figure of eight shaped instruments, whether four or five course, were also played by these characters which is the very point)
 There are other things about Praetorius which suggest that he wasn’t very familiar with the instrument he is describing – his illustration shows a  6-course instrument with a single first course and five double courses and the two tunings he gives suggest that there were two sizes – one quite big.  
(MH: It surely would be prudent to consider that Praetorius, actually being around at the time, might know more about the instruments (and various configurations) of the period than either of us - especially when he had carefully spent much of his life scrupulously documenting and recording instruments reported to him from across Europe)
 One problem with this list is that it is not possible to save one’s message and go back to it if one is interrupted as I frequently am. But the issue seems important enough to spend time responding to it and sorting out exactly what Praetorius says.
(MH: To solve the problem of saving a message on the Ning site, you might try simply draft any response in Word, say, and then when satisfied you can simply cut and paste it into the Ning reply box.)

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Finally Monica, might I make a gentle suggestion?  We all know how irritating it can be if, in an exchange of views such as this, one believes the other party is not getting the point. However, normally this irritation is suppressed in the interests of scholarly, and reasonably polite, debate.  With this in mind it might be better if we both refrain from personal comments about the other. It would be generally appreciated and not, I think, just by me. If we stick to just stating the position as we see it without throwing in the odd personal comment about the other party and their supposed motives this will surely result in a more orderly and ultimately beneficial exchange of views.

regards

Martyn

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