Howard Mayer Brown's 'Embellishing 16th Century Music' and the entry in
Grove under 'Ornaments' make for interesting reading. Both touch upon
Capirola's indications and set them in the wider context of 16th century
instruction books for singers and instrumentalists.
On 04/02/2018 09:32, Martin Shepherd wrote:
Thanks for pointing out this discrepancy in Capirola's instructions,
Tristan. I have often wondered about how to "embellish the note with
just one finger".
Where he describes the two ornaments he gives two specific examples.
The first example is for the dotted cipher:
pluck the first course at the second fret, hold that finger and with
another one make the "shake" at the third fret.
This seems uncontroversial, though it does leave us wondering what it
can mean when the dotted cipher is the same as the written note.
The second example is also specific:
you have the third course at the first fret: I have to write it down as
it is without [using the red] dots. I will put them, these two red dots
above the figure .I. It means that you have to embellish the note with
just one finger
When the string is stopped at the first fret as described, the grace
does indeed use only one finger. The problems only arise when you
assume that even when it is marked on higher frets he still expects you
to use one finger. I suspect that when he says you use one finger he
is referring only to the specific case of the first fret, as in his
As you say, vibrato is a possibility, but the second grace does seem to
be used mostly on the first fret, and sometimes the third, where it's
hard to get much effect. I wonder whether vibrato might be the answer
to the "same cipher" problem, except that that only occurs on the third
fret, and in contexts where a vibrato seems unlikely.
All the best,
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