Early Guitars and Vihuela

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I am surprised to read that "at some point Sanz was appointed organist of the Spanish Viceroy in Naples". Where have you got this information from?

Thanks for pointing at that. I've removed it. 

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I think that your suggestion (if that is what you are suggesting), that the figures in the charts are laid out differently in order to distinguish between unisons and octaves is far-fetched. They are like that for purely practical reasons. In charts which compare notes on adjacent courses the figures are placed horizontally because there is insufficient space to put them clearly one above the other without them overlapping. In charts where the figures are aligned vertically there is at least one course in between. If you are used to copying tablature you will be well aware of this problem. 

Correction - It should be "In charts where the figures are aligned vertically, there is at leat one course in between. 

This might be a problem with engraving, but probably not with printing from movable type as we can see in Pesori 1648. And how would this explain the method used in Granata 1659? Here unisons and octaves are mixed in one chart, aligned horizontally and vertically. 

Besides, in tablatures figures or letters are placed on adjacent strings all the time. 

Granata has probably done it like that because it is more helpful to compare open courses rather than a stopped course with an open course. It does rather beg the question - "Why has he done it like that anyway rather than using the standard pattern?"  He has used the standard pattern for the other scordature. The same applies to Corbetta. Incidentally Granata's accordatura on p. 86 would probably involve restringing  - the first course is tuned down a minor 3rd and the 3rd course up a minor 3rd. Who's going to bother doing that?

When engraving it is up to the engraver to ensure that there is sufficient space between the lines to accommodate the figures. Even so if you look at engravings the chords are often slightly on a diagonal especially in French tab when the letters overlap.

> Granata has probably done it like that because it is more helpful to compare open

courses rather than a stopped course with an open course.

 

Sure. But that is only possible when you should tune open courses to open courses.

 

> It does rather beg the question - "Why has he done it like that anyway rather than

 using the standard pattern?"  He has used the standard pattern for the other scordature.

 

Yes, that’s the question indeed. Who knows? I’m just trying to argue that this particular chart cannot be taken as evidence that Corbetta had re-entrant tuning in mind.

 

> Incidentally Granata's accordatura on p. 86 would probably involve restringing  - the first course is tuned down a minor 3rd and the 3rd course up a minor 3rd. Who's going to bother doing that?

 

These alternative tunings are not always very practical indeed. The same applies also to the one from Visée 1682. Gérard Rebours has suggested several answers in his article (see my footnote 10). Indeed, re-stringing may be the best option here.

> When engraving it is up to the engraver to ensure that there is sufficient space between the lines to accommodate the figures. Even so if you look at engravings the chords are often slightly on a diagonal especially in French tab when the letters overlap.

 

But not so much in Italian.

Yes, that’s the question indeed. Who knows? I’m just trying to argue that this particular chart cannot be taken as evidence that Corbetta had re-entrant tuning in mind.

Has anyone suggested that it has?

 

Dear Lex,

First, best wishes for the season and let's hope 2021 will be a bit better than 2020 for concertising!

But apologies for coming to this thread rather late. One thing stands out to me:  it's probably unwise to assume any particular octaves were generally implied when considering such tuning checks inserted into tablatures.  As I'm sure you'll know, the lute frequently employed similar checks - sometimes meaning unisons, sometimes octaves and, indeed, the general late baroque lute frequently employed such a notation to indicate the tuning of its basses required for a particular key (both the bass as well as the octave string associated with it) - stopped fretted notes were employed to indicate chromatic tones for the open basses.

Hi Martyn,

 

There is at last some room for optimism.

 

The tuning information included in a tablature example, in sources for the baroque lute, are quite similar indeed. In those, the courses on the fingerboard are compared to one another in unison, like in the standard accordatura chart for the guitar. The open bass courses of the lute are then checked with fretted notes on a non-adjacent course. This would either be an octave with the low octave string of the bass or in unison with its high octave companion. However, like with the guitar, the high octave strings are not indicated.

The tuning checks for the guitar are different as they do not primarily check open basses. However, the check added to a standard accordatura chart in a number of sources, to compare the fretted a on the third course to the open fifth course (‘known as the bass’, according to Sanseverino) is perhaps more like the method used for the lute.

The tuning checks in Corbetta (1639), Foscarini, and Pesori (1648 and 1650) obviously are all in octaves. It seems there is little reason to assume that this would be different for similar tuning checks from sources with no added verbal statements like ‘in ottava’.  

 

Best wishes, Lex

I added a few more footnotes...

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