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Hi everyone,

I am currently carrying out research into alfabeto chord charts and was wondering if anyone had ever come across tagliate chords in a song accompaniment.  They're certainly rare in this context, but I have found them in one or two sources.  Just thought I'd ask, but I won't get my hopes up.


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That's very interesting.   Are the ones you have found in song accompaniment dissonant ones?  Monica



They are the same fingering as chord Dt, which is quite common in the earlier guitar books.  That is, the fourth and third courses are stopped at the second fret and the other courses are open.


I was wondering which books you had checked as if I have anything else I could have a look and see if I can spot anything.   Dt is a suspended 4th so it is logical that it should occur often.  
P.S.   Have you seen the Michele book.  I haven't but I have a copy of an article about it and it reproduces one song which does have a Dt.   It also has a chord which looks like B4.
I haven't seen it no.  I'd be very interested to see the article.  I have just finished writing a large chunk of a chapter on tagliate chords and have been cataloguing their appearance in chord charts and writing about their general usage.  I'll send you a list of the books that I've seen.  In printed sources the chords usually only appear in dances, although they do appear in an accompaniment of the Litany of the Saints in Pico (1698).
The article is 27 pages long and in Italian.  It was published in Analecta Musicologica, no.9, 1979.  I think it would take ages to scan.  Probably quicker to photocopy if you send me your address off line.   I have scanned the one song included in the article and attached it to this message (I hope it works).   The book is dated 1680.   Incidentally do you know that the correct date for Pico's book is 1698 - not 1608 or 1628.   Gary Boye did some very clever detective work and establish a credible date for it - it is a plagiarized edition of one of Millioni's books.  There are other references to Pico at the end of the 17th century.  
That's wonderful Monica, thanks a lot.  Yes I read the article by Gary Boye.  He seemed to suggest there may not have even been such a person as Foriano Pico.  Very interesting.  Aidan O'Donnell reproduces part of Micheli's chord chart in his thesis (le role de l'alfabeto), but it doesn't show any tagliate chords.  I'll have to add it to my list of sources to consult.  I'll e-mail you soon.
Just scanned through Aidan's thesis quickly, and it says on page 35 that the numbers following the chord symbols (i.e. B4) indicate the course that has the melody note. 
So he does - I am still plodding though his thesis - keep getting sidetracked.  According to a note I have Pico was a "florentine cantimpanco" a kind of street entertainer - and published several collections of "contrasti" which I think were lengthy narrative poems. Some of them were published by the same printer as the guitar book. 
I'm curious - what is a tagliate chord? Tagliare seems to mean to cut, so I am guessing a 3 or 4 note chord...?

The term had two meanings: firstly it could refer to a chord in which not all of the courses are strummed.  So whilst Alfabeto chords normally required the strumming of all five courses, tagliate chords required four courses or less.  Bartolotti for example notated 4-part alfabeto chords in 1640.  The other meaning of tagliate was a chord that contained a dissonance resulting from the inclusion of an open course in a chord that normally would not be there.  See the transcription of Ricci's tagliate chords on Gary Boyes website for an example.


When I read the description in the little alfabeto books I get confused.  Are you supposed to play the dissonant note or to avoid it?  I tried a few and the dissonance, though unexpected, does not really sound bad.


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