I agree about the "order of difficulty" business.  That came from
   somebody's doctoral thesis that briefly mentioned this MS...
   andy r

   On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 1:55 PM, Stuart Walsh <[1]>

     I'm assuming that the sentence in the intro to Moravian Choralbuch,
     "The manuscript and its music may not be reproduced or published
     without the consent of the Moravian Archives" refers to the music
     notation, not attempts - puny amateur attempts - to play a few of
     these pieces.
     It doesn't really look to me that the pieces are arranged in order
     of difficulty. I've tried playing through them, not unfortunately on
     a cittern, but on a very basic guitar (in fact a Russian guitar with
     the usual very close string spacings). Perhaps, as has been
     suggested, these chorales are entirely functional - for accompanying
     singing  - and not ever for purely instrumental performance. The
     fermata sign is used extensively but when I played the pieces,
     pausing a bit more (perhaps I'm misunderstanding this?), the music
     sounded wrong. With a singer - or singers - long pauses would work
     fine - as I think happens in hymns. And the singer or singers would
     know the melody and the words... over a lifetime.
     But it's a shame to have a MS of music and not actually try and play
     some of it. The pieces are quite short - presumably they have many
     verses? Now hymn settings with chords on every beat are fine on a
     keyboard, but not so easy on  a fretboard and, I think, chorale
     settings like this aren't common on plucked instruments. In that
     respect they are quite hard to play and sound a bit clunky. But that
     could be just me!
     I've got four melodies. Firstly I've played them with the tuning
     GCEgbe. But this is on a guitar with a string length of 65cms. In
     cittern terms, that would be a big instrument? And it makes some of
     stretches quite challenging. The close position, low position A
     minor chords sound impressive. Andy mentioned a possible string
     length of 50cms so I put on a capo at the third fret giving a string
     length of about 54cms.
     So here are four of the chorales, first at modern GCEgbe pitch
     and here, at the higher pitch
     and finally a Minuet from the end of the book:
     with authentic 18th century plane in the background.
     Some of these chorales sound sort of familiar and I think there is a
     long tradition in Germany of sturdy chorale type tunes. I may well
     be misinterpreting the music and I don't mind having this pointed
     out! If any offence is taken, I'll remove the files.
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