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Thread: Saraband by William Lawes

  1. #1
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    Default Saraband by William Lawes

    I came across this nice Saraband for Lyra-Viol while slowly reading my way through The Consort Music of William Lawes by John Cunningham, Boydell Press, 2010. I adapted the transcription in the book slightly to fit the mandolin and my limitations as a player. It's a fun tune to read. I will try and attach a pdf of my adaptation and then link to a video I made this morning. Hope you enjoy playing the tune.

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Name:	Saraband for solo lyra-viol by William Lawes.pdf 
Views:	9 
Size:	12.1 KB 
ID:	188819

    Last edited by Mandolin Cafe; Sep-27-2020 at 7:41am. Reason: adding corrected version

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    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    Thank you for your continuing contributions, John--a beautiful little piece, and nicely played. Hope we'll see you at the virtual CMSA event; got anything new for the Mandocello hangout? We will certainly be talking about your seasonal suites.

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  5. #3
    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    Very nice, John! Lawes was court composer for Charles I, and was a very interesting composer, very different from the Tudor/renaissance composers before him or the high baroque of Purcell after him. Lawes was very minimalistic, almost mathematical and quite abstract. I think the sarabande you have played is an example in kind.

    I recorded a short piece by Lawes a few years ago, in 2015. This is "Ayre #1", originally for three viols (two treble and one bass) which I played on two mandolins and mandocello:



    Martin

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    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    Martin, I really like that Ayre from Lawes and your recording of it. I've been listening to quite a lot of English viol music the last few months, mostly recordings by Phantasm and the Fretwork ensemble and Lawes is one of my favorite composers. Although, honestly, I pretty much like most of that music. Recordings of Bach pieces by viol consorts sound great too.

    Jim, I certainly intend to "attend" the conference in the clouds in November. It looks like it will be lots of fun. I'm very honored that Jim Bates has chosen to use my "Heavens On Earth" piece to be the en masse orchestra music.

    I actually have a Summer Suite for Octave Mandolin or Mandocello finished but I still have to do some work getting it ready. I'll announce that here in a new thread sometime soon, I hope.

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    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    Thanks, John!

    The score and parts I used for my recording are from the wonderful collection of viol music that Albert Folop transcribed many years ago, orginally for the Icking Archive which is now part of IMSLP. All pieces are presented in a multitude of clefs for just about any preference and instrumentation, so these can be used as straight performance copies on mandolin and CBOM instruments.

    The Folop editions of the Ayres For Three Viols by William Lawes are here:

    https://imslp.org/wiki/Airs_for_3_Vi...es,_William%29

    If you want to browse the full Folop collection of viol music, follow this link for over 1000 pieces, all with score and parts:

    https://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Folop,_Albert

    Martin

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  11. #6

    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    This also works really well on mandocello (transposed to Am). Thanks for sharing the music, John!

    Barry

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    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    A great quote from John Playford's introduction to A Musicall banquet set forth in three choice varieties of musick the first part presents you with excellent new lessons for the lira viol, set to severall new tunings : the second, a collection of new and choyce allmans, corants, and sarabands for one treble and basse viol, composed by Mr. William Lawes, and other excellent authours : the third part containes new and choyce catches or rounds for three or foure voyces : to which is added some few rules and directions for such as learne to sing, or to play on the viol. which includes a bunch of music by William Lawes:

    "To attaine the skill of Musicks Art,
    Learne Gam-ut [scales] up and down by heart,
    Thereby to learn your Rules and Spaces,
    Notes names are known knowing their places."

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    Registered User Martin Jonas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    Quote Originally Posted by btrott View Post
    This also works really well on mandocello (transposed to Am). Thanks for sharing the music, John!

    Barry
    Thanks, Barry! Following your suggestion, I got my mandocello out and have played this Lawes saraband using John's fingering but transposed down to A minor. You are right that this works really well and is great fun to play. As the tune was originally intended for lyra-viol (a type of bass viol), the mandocello range is presumably about the right pitch for the original Lawes composition.

    Here is a quick video I recorded this morning:



    Martin

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  17. #9

    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    Very nice, Martin! I agree that this puts it more in the gamba range. My wife is a gamba player and I have been looking through her music to find more of this sort of thing.

    Best,

    Barry

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    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    It's been fun seeing this piece by Lawes getting attention. I'm afraid I need to complicate things a little now though.

    I received a private message from Matthew in Texas asking good questions about a couple of interesting parts of the piece. In answering him I discovered that I made a mistake in copying the piece from the book I'm reading into Sibelius. Not the first time I've made such a mistake, nor will it be the last. But I want to correct it. So I will be adding a new, more correct, pdf to this message.

    The actual mistake occurs in measure 13. The 4th and 5th notes in that measure should be "e" and "f#", not "f#" and "g". My mistaken version sounds OK but the correction sounds a little better.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Saraband for solo lyra-viol by William Lawes.pdf 
Views:	15 
Size:	12.1 KB 
ID:	188797

    Since there is interest in playing this piece on the octave mandolin and mandocello (nice video Martin!) I have also created slightly different versions of the piece for those instruments. What changes did I make?

    Measure 2 of the original version of the piece is actually a chord spelled "e,b,e". I added the lower "g" because I liked it better on mandolin. On the bigger instrument I prefer the original chord. I changed the same chord in measure 16 and in the final measure. (On mandocello, of course, this chord is "a,e,a".)

    In measure 8 I replaced the low "b" in the mandolin version with a low "g" for the octave mandolin. I like that lower resonance there but I prefer the "b" on the higher pitched mandolin.

    Matthew also asked my opinion regarding the "g#" in measure 29. I replied that I like it because it sounds old and strange. In my original mandolin adaptation I purposely left out a note in that measure. The "a" before the "g#" is actually a double-stop with a "b" below. I liked the sound of the "g#" but not the sound of the double-stop before it, so I left it out. On the versions for the larger instruments the double-stop sounds good to me so it's in.

    I will upload Octave Mandolin and Mandocello versions below.

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Name:	Saraband for solo lyra-viol by William Lawes-OM version.pdf 
Views:	9 
Size:	12.3 KB 
ID:	188798 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Saraband for solo lyra-viol by William Lawes-MC version.pdf 
Views:	8 
Size:	11.7 KB 
ID:	188799

    I'll probably see if I can get permission to go back and replace my original mandolin version in the original post with a correction but, at least today, I don't intend to record a corrected video. Thanks for all of the interest. I'm sure that William Lawes finds this all pretty entertaining.

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  21. #11
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    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    Thanks, John. Measure 13 sounded fine to me when I was playing -- I was wondering more about the d# in the previous measure. I did play the g# in measure 29, even though I found it sounded a bit out of place. Then again, where's the fun in playing early 17th century music if it didn't surprise you.

    The stretch on those chords was rather a challenge on mandocello, but I did play them. Would have been a bit easier to play with the "e" instead of the "g" (or rather "a" instead of "c" on the mandocello), but it sounds good to me as it is.

    Martin

  22. #12

    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    Thanks for the edits, John and for the mandocello version! I think that you are right about the adjusted double stops for MC, they new version is richer on the large instrument, though the original sounded pretty fine too. I might try to record the new MC version today if I get inspired. The g# is very what Roy Blount Jr. would call "sonicky" (he uses the term for words, but I think that it works for music as well).

    Best,

    Barry

  23. #13

    Default Re: Saraband by William Lawes

    here's my recording of the revised mandolin version, but played on mandola in G.
    https://soundcloud.com/matthew-lewis...n-for-mandolin

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