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Re: Lute tablature

From: clive CATTERALL
Subject: Re: Lute tablature
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003 07:37:58 +0100

> Because all tablature is written with one part, it isn't even
> performance notation, it is merely fingering.
>Most complicated
> lute music came with vocal/instrumental parts, otherwise there would be
> no way of figuring it out without hearing it.
Are you talking about the voice leading?  I had always assumed the original
players were soaked in the style of music and had no difficulty in linking
up the separate notes into the correct lines.  I doubt there was ever an
instrumental arrangement of many of the pieces in Robert Dowland's
collection "a Varietie of Lute Lessons" as a good deal of them are solidly
in the lute idiom.  I cannot imagine an instrumental arrangement of many of
John Dowland's fantasias.  There are large sections of single voice playing,
block chords, arpeggiated chords, even tremolo in one.  They would sound
wrong on anything other than a lute/guitar type of instrument.

I cannot believe that it is not possible to play from lute tab.

> As you know, the standard pitch was lower than today.  It is easy to
> see why it rose a lot faster for organs than for other instruments,
> because every half step means you make a cheap little pipe instead of
> another expensive monster.  DaveA
Whilst I'd agree with your statement about pitch for 18th century music
(though even then it varied anywhere between A'=390 and A'=425 depending on
where you lived) I'm not sure things are as clear for renaissance music.
According to the books I have on the subject A'=440 seems to be a reasonable
compromise when looking at the data from surviving instruments.

Pitch is a very complicated subject.  It varied locally, and some
instruments (like the organ) were always tuned higher than the written pitch
(about a semitone in the case of the organ).

Generally most people seem to say string players want to push the pitch up
to sound more brilliant and woodwind players want to pull it down to sound
more rich.

pip pip
baroque flutes made using traditional methods and materials

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