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Thread: Changing the tuning for medieval sound

  1. #26
    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (CraigF @ Feb. 27 2008, 13:22)
    Allan Alexander's book also has it in 3/4. Looking at it, I think it fits better in 3/4. Thinking back, I think I actually played it in 3 even though Roger had it in 4. In 3 (w/ pickup), all the chords fall on the 1st beat which is a natural emphasis.[/QUOTE]
    Interesting. I'll go back to the source recording and check, but I don't think it was divisible by 3...
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  2. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by (JeffD @ Feb. 27 2008, 14:04)
    Don't make me splort my coffee.
    Splort on, Hoss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by (zoukboy @ Feb. 27 2008, 18:13)
    Interesting. I'll go back to the source recording and check, but I don't think it was divisible by 3...
    By adding a few 2/4 bars where a theme ends another starts, the 3/4 is maintained. The ending note of each theme could easily be doubled which would maintain the 3/4 throughout the piece. Indeed, in some places it already is.

    I haven't heard your recording, but after getting the tune in my head 3/4 just seems natural.

    Note that in 3/4, the note vales would half of what you have notated. So, where you have a half note, there would be a quarter in the 3/4 version. This is how Allan Alexander has it in his book.

  4. #29

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    Lamento di Tristano is pretty popular as far as medieval music goes. Anybody who really knows medieval music, please feel free to correct me for any innevitable inaccuracy: notation of rhythm was not at all like it came to be in the future, even by the renaissance. I think good performances are brooding and rhapsodic, but that makes it particularly difficult to sort out the meter. The recordings I have seem to me to group pulse of Lamento in threes, perhaps even 12/8. In its source, it is coupled with a lively variation called la Rotta, and that is certainly typically taken in fours. I have never sought out facsimile of the source (British Library MS 29987), so I have no idea what the original looks like.

    My current favorite recording must be:

    Ensemble Unicorn. 1994. Chominciamento di gioia: virtuoso dance music from the time of Boccaccio's Decamerone. Naxos, 8.553131.

  5. #30
    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
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    I went back to my source and listened again. The first section has 46 beats, just as in my transcription. If it's in 3/4 then they're dropping the last beat of the last bar. If it's in 4/4 then it's pretty much how I notated it. The second section has 42 beats, so it is divisible by 3, but the third section has 22, and the fourth has 18, the fifth has 46, and the sixth has 42.
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  6. #31
    Registered User zoukboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Eugene @ Feb. 27 2008, 21:04)
    I think good performances are brooding and rhapsodic, but that makes it particularly difficult to sort out the meter.
    I agree with Eugene on this.

    Quote Originally Posted by (Eugene @ Feb. 27 2008, 21:04)
    I have never sought out facsimile of the source (British Library MS 29987), so I have no idea what the original looks like.

    The only written source I've seen was a transcription taken from MS 29987 by Timothy McGhee, published by University of Indiana Press. As I mentioned before it it no time signature or bar lines.



    Roger Landes
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    The Hal Leonard Irish Bouzouki Method:
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    "House to House" with Randal Bays
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    "The Janissary Stomp" with Chipper Thompson
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    Quote Originally Posted by (zoukboy @ Feb. 28 2008, 12:12)
    I went back to my source and listened again. The first section has 46 beats, just as in my transcription. If it's in 3/4 then they're dropping the last beat of the last bar. If it's in 4/4 then it's pretty much how I notated it. The second section has 42 beats, so it is divisible by 3, but the third section has 22, and the fourth has 18, the fifth has 46, and the sixth has 42.
    I haven't heard your recording, but in my opinion, the way you have it notated, the beats don't match the music.

    Divisibility is not always the best way to determine meter. Odd bars can and do show up. The beats should align to the music. Did you look at the score that Cuba Ridge posted a link to? That's basically the way Allan Alexander did it as well.

    If you like, I can input what I am thinking on your version into my notation program and send it to you. Then see if that follows what your recording is doing.

  8. #33

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    guys -guys ...

    with all due RESPECT! (and i mean it) to your musical knowledge ... you're missing the point.

    in its day, the "lamento de tristano" was probably played all over europe. there is no reason to suggest that everyone playing the tune - from the british isles to who knows where - played it in precisely the same way.

    the fact - happenstance, really - that the song was notated in one particular way doesn't exclude any of the variations stemming from or leading to it.

    i've always considered these songs to be "folk" music - played by folks and musicologists alike ... in many different, wild and wonderful ways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by (billkilpatrick @ Feb. 28 2008, 17:36)
    guys -guys ...

    with all due RESPECT! (and i mean it) to your musical knowledge ... you're missing the point.

    in its day, the "lamento de tristano" was probably played all over europe. there is no reason to suggest that everyone playing the tune - from the british isles to who knows where - played it in precisely the same way.

    the fact - happenstance, really - that the song was notated in one particular way doesn't exclude any of the variations stemming from or leading to it.

    i've always considered these songs to be "folk" music - played by folks and musicologists alike ... in many different, wild and wonderful ways.
    All the more reason to be discussing interpretation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by
    I haven't heard your recording, but in my opinion, the way you have it notated, the beats don't match the music.
    Thanks for your opinion. The beats match the music the way I play it!

    Quote Originally Posted by
    Divisibility is not always the best way to determine meter. Odd bars can and do show up. The beats should align to the music.
    Thanks for straightening me out on that. You have no way of knowing this, of course, but I have heard of "crooked" tunes before. I even play a few.

    Quote Originally Posted by
    Did you look at the score that Cuba Ridge posted a link to?
    Sure. And I commented on it in a previous post.

    Quote Originally Posted by
    If you like, I can input what I am thinking on your version into my notation program and send it to you. Then see if that follows what your recording is doing.
    Sure! Knock yourself out!



    Roger Landes
    http://rogerlandes.com
    The Hal Leonard Irish Bouzouki Method:
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    "House to House" with Randal Bays
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    "The Janissary Stomp" with Chipper Thompson
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  11. #36

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    Here's another transcription that has it in 2/4
    http://sca.uwaterloo.ca/Hendricks/Medieval/lamento.pdf

  12. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by (CraigF @ Feb. 28 2008, 19:55)
    All the more reason to be discussing interpretation.
    as with a great many, early music polemics, i thought we were steering towards a definitive interpretation ... and we wouldn't want that - no-no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by (billkilpatrick @ Feb. 29 2008, 03:13)
    Quote Originally Posted by (CraigF @ Feb. 28 2008, 19:55)
    All the more reason to be discussing interpretation.
    as with a great many, early music polemics, i thought we were steering towards a definitive interpretation ... and we wouldn't want that - no-no.
    Yes, you are quite correct Bill. My post was not well written and did not come across well. I apologize for that.

  14. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by (billkilpatrick @ Feb. 28 2008, 17:36)
    with all due RESPECT! (and i mean it) to your musical knowledge ... you're missing the point.
    I see your point to a point, Bill. However, these guys obviously did have some notion of note duration and meter. In this case, almost every other piece in the document to also contain Lamento is a dance piece, which obviously, at the very least, needs some kind of discernible, predictable pulse. That said, it is possible that Lamento was meant as a kind of unmetered rhapsody; however, that's easiest to pull off convincingly as a solo. I don't know that any of this music was intended for solo performance.

    I suppose unknowns like these are a small part of why I definitely favor dedicated repertoire for specific instruments when I take up music making. I tend to take up instruments specifically to access their dedicated repertoire: "I like that music and would like to access it via the instrument for which it was written" rather than "I like that tune and bet my quintern/panpipes/tiple/whatever would be a good choice for playing it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by (Eugene @ Mar. 02 2008, 09:58)
    I suppose unknowns like these are a small part of why I definitely favor dedicated repertoire for specific instruments when I take up music making. I tend to take up instruments specifically to access their dedicated repertoire: "I like that music and would like to access it via the instrument for which it was written" rather than "I like that tune and bet my quintern/panpipes/tiple/whatever would be a good choice for playing it."
    Yes, but for some of us the unknowns are very compelling...
    Roger Landes
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    The Hal Leonard Irish Bouzouki Method:
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    "House to House" with Randal Bays
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    "The Janissary Stomp" with Chipper Thompson
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  16. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by (Eugene @ Mar. 02 2008, 09:58)
    I suppose unknowns like these are a small part of why I definitely favor dedicated repertoire for specific instruments when I take up music making. I tend to take up instruments specifically to access their dedicated repertoire: "I like that music and would like to access it via the instrument for which it was written" rather than "I like that tune and bet my quintern/panpipes/tiple/whatever would be a good choice for playing it."
    ... which makes sense - in a formal, heavy-handed sort of way - if you're playing composition but is completely at odds with the tenets of folk music.

  17. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by (zoukboy @ Mar. 02 2008, 12:40)
    Yes, but for some of us the unknowns are very compelling... #
    For me too. #I just choose to spend my limited time with actually playing music exploring the stuff that explores specific instrumental capabilities.




  18. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by (billkilpatrick @ Mar. 02 2008, 14:11)
    ... which makes sense - in a formal, heavy-handed sort of way - if you're playing composition but is completely at odds with the tenets of folk music.
    I don't think such divisions need to be so set in stone. I wouldn't dare to be so prescriptive regarding my expectations of somebody else's music making.

  19. #44
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    I picked up a very nice version of Lamento di Tristano on
    "The Guitarist"
    John Williams
    Sony Classical Listening Station
    1998

    While John's rendition is played on a guitar the pacing can easily be related to a mandolin.

    I found some of the other versions, such as played by
    Carles Magran,
    Lamento di Tristano, danzas y musica instrumental de la edad media
    are played with many instruments making it difficult to translate in feel to a solo piece.

  20. #45

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    Williams is, well, Williams. He does not err. The Guitarist was not one of my favorites of his albums. It does feature what is easily my favorite recording of Domeniconi's slightly abused, Turkish-flavored tone poem, "Koyunbaba." It's hard to imagine it being performed more perfectly.

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    One thought about the way that 14th century music was passed from player to player without benefit of printed music. It is unlikely that itinerant players could either obtain or read printed notation. What occurred was like one person whispering a 'secret' from one person to the next and then having the last in the line repeat the fractured ode. By the time the originators of the tune started in southern Italy and ended in the north who knows what the result was.

    Going back to the original question ... we might conclude the 'tuning' was what was available for the instrument and for the particular players ear.

  22. #47

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    Printed notation was only beginning to evolve in a standardized way, but there definitely was a scholarly approach to some musics, written musics, beginning to take shape.

    I don't think that spending much time pondering on possible medieval tunings is likely to bear much useful fruit. That era's music wasn't necessarily crafted to conform to the technical capabilities of one instrument or another. I also doubt that tunings were anything like standardized yet in the late medieval era. Set, standardized tunings begin to become really useful with dedicated repertoire crafted around functionality of tuning to specific intervals (often in tablature) and the beginnings of the exploration of virtuoso technique in the renaissance with composers like Vincenzo Capirola, Francesco Canova da Milano, Luys Milan, Alonso Mudarra, Guillaume Morlaye, Pierre Attaingnant, etc.

  23. #48
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    ...and yet these tunes we've been discussing all come from a 14th C. printed source, MS 29987 in the British Museum. The manuscript was associated with a wedding in Sicily. One theory is that they were written down by a visiting musician for the others doing the gig with him.
    Roger Landes
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    The Hal Leonard Irish Bouzouki Method:
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    "House to House" with Randal Bays
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    And thank God for him or her You guys are great. This is my first exposure to "medieval" mandolin music, and, my gosh, I'm hooked.
    Collings MT
    Weber Gallatin Mandocello

    Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests. -Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  25. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by (zoukboy @ Mar. 07 2008, 01:29)
    ...and yet these tunes we've been discussing all come from a 14th C. printed source, MS 29987 in the British Museum. The manuscript was associated with a wedding in Sicily. One theory is that they were written down by a visiting musician for the others doing the gig with him.
    However, there's nothing in it (at least in listening to the melodies), all in single monophonic lines, that I can detect that would imply any one tuning or instrument over any other. #That anybody could speculate the author could roll into a gig, scratch these tunes down, and expect whatever musicians were on hand to play along is again a demonstration of the very point I was trying to make.

    Peripheral, but I have read that the manuscript is from northern Italy, not Sicily.




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