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Re: Lute tablature

From: clive CATTERALL
Subject: Re: Lute tablature
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 04:43:11 +0100

> As for every lute player in the world preferring not to have notation,
> Thurston Dart, Diana Poulton, and others would be very surprised to
> hear it.

Diana Poulton wrote in her booklet "An Introduction to Lute Playing" in

"Except for a small amount of music written in the last years of the
popularity of the lute, all its music is written in a special notation
called tabulature.  This notation came into being to answer the special
needs of the lute and other instruments of the same type, and for this kind
of instrument it has a number of advantages over staff notation in
representing precisely the composer's intention.  When it has been mastered
it is much easier to read onto the lute tan staff notation.  Familiarity
with its working also frees the student from dependance on modern
transcriptions and provides the key which opens the door to the great wealth
of lute music both English and foreign in its original form.

I strongly advise every beginner to make the initial effort to learn this
notation.  It will repay the slight extra trouble.

There is however, one weakness in tabulature which is a serious drawback to
the novice.  It has no means of distinguishing the individual parts which
are combined together to form the harmonic structure of a composition.  This
was probably of no consequence to the 16th or 17th century player who,
soaked in the idiom of his time, would at once perceive the movement of
individual parts.  To the beginner, this charectaristic aspect of the music
may not be immediately obvious.  Transcriptions into staff notation have
therefore been added to all the pieces, to make clear what cannot be
expressed in the tabulature."

Sort of covers everything doesn't it?  Can we draw this aspect of the
discussion to a close now, as IMO the merits of tabulature itself are a
little off topic?

If people want to use tabulature why should we not want to produce it?

baroque flutes made using traditional methods and materials

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