[CITTERN] Re: Edvard Storm Ms.

2008-11-16 Thread Mjos Larson

Secondly, you guys are a tough audience! !



My apologies for that comment -- I must have been feeling vulnerable  
the day I wrote it.


I have appreciated the feedback, ideas, debate, and suggestions made  
both on- and off-list.


-- Rocky



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[CITTERN] Re: Edvard Storm Ms.

2008-11-16 Thread Frank Nordberg

Mjos  Larson wrote:
  Secondly, you guys are a tough audience!
 
  My apologies for that comment -- I must have been feeling vulnerable
  the day I wrote it.

No need to apologise to me.

If anything I should apologise to you. I got Fichte's triad 
(thesis+antithesis=synthesis) so well drummed into me at high school, 
it's become second nature to me. It is an extremely useful scientific 
and artistic tool but it can be tough on people at times and sometimes I 
forget that.


---

In this case it's my turn to eat my own words:

Mjos  Larson also wrote:
   Regarding number of courses, I wonder why the writer would bother
   with writing his fretting examples on page 3 with seven definite
   entries and two distinct notations (after the fifth course) if the
   6th and 7th course were tuned the same.

I completely overlooked that page! Seven courses it is then.
My comment about 2nd inversion chords was based on the assumption that
the slashed letters signified seventh course and the un-slashed sixth
course. Switch the order and those chords at least makes much more sense.

  The two page 3 tuning charts only indicate tuning for six courses.
  What does this mean? The seventh was variably tuned?

Now it's getting really messy. The sixth course in the tuning charts are
not slashed which is how the *seventh* course are notated in the
fretting examples on the same page. The only explanation I can think of 
is that the tuning charts are copied from a different source than the 
rest of the ms and intended for a six course instrument.


 Overall, a C still makes more harmonic sense (to me), as it is often
 in a place where I would expect a dominant harmony).

Now that I've had a closer look at the music I agree. C is the only 
tuning that would consistently fit all the pieces with no need for 
retuning or correcting any bass notes.


 There are also passage (6 and 14) where the baseline seems to be
 displaced an octave (if the 7th is read as a C).

How about a re-entrant tuning: c'-f-bb-d'-f'-a'-d''
There are plenty of historical references to such a practice to add 
extra bass strings to facilitate the playing of certain notes rather 
than to expand the instrument's range although I have to admit I don't 
know of any close to Storm in time and location.
Such a tuning would solve another problem that's been bothering me about 
the manuscript: the range of the seven course instrument seems far to 
wide for the string materials available at that time.


 Anon Egeland's suggestion of a 7th tuned to B-flat doesn't work to my
 ears. He's a fiddle/violin player so may have relied on information
 from a plucked string player.

As far as I know Egeland got the tuning from Storm's own written playing 
instructions. I may have misunderstood though. We really need to get a 
look at the manuscript as a whole, not just the pages with cittern music!


---

 Does anyone have other thoughts about the ornaments?

No idea. Sorry.


Frank Nordberg
http://www.musicaviva.com
http://stores.ebay.com/Nordbergs-Music-Store?refid=store



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[CITTERN] Re: Edvard Storm Ms.

2008-11-15 Thread Mjos Larson

Frank,

First of all, thank you for sharing the Ms pages and writing posting  
the background information on instruments and suggestiion that the  
Ms. could be viewed as part of the Danish or German tradition.


Secondly, you guys are a tough audience! !

I started this post a few days ago so I may be behind the discussion  
by now.


I have uploaded a revised PDF of the cittern pieces at:
http://earlyguitar.ning.com/profile/RockyMjos

I have reset the tab in the 5-line form of the original and decided  
to alter more bass notes to better please my ear. I have also added  
numbers to help keep track of pieces. The transcriptions offer one  
possibility for the ornaments.


Does anyone have other thoughts about the ornaments? Farstad's  
examples didn't seem completely same to me (they always followed the  
note to be ornamented). In Storm these signs are on staff between the  
upper note(s) and bass note. The two vertical lines in Storm are  
rather short strokes and might be almost viewed as two long dots. The  
Storm cross is a longer vertical stroke with a shorter horizontal  
stroke (t-like).


Regarding number of courses, I wonder why the writer would bother  
with writing his fretting examples on page 3 with seven definite  
entries and two distinct notations (after the fifth course) if the  
6th and 7th course were tuned the same.


I think the tablature definitely shows seven courses, as each  
fretting example on page 3 has tablature letters on each of the 5  
staff lines (starting at the first course) then next a tablature  
letter with a slash, followed by a tablature letter without a slash.  
This happens for each fret -- 7 for the open strings, 7 for the first  
fret, etc.


The two page 3 tuning charts only indicate tuning for six courses.  
What does this mean? The seventh was variably tuned? (If one believes  
this music is for a 7-c instrument.)


I would agree that in many places in the music where the indicated  
7th note would sound the pitch for the 6th would sound better. You  
will see that I have gone further in my new version in altering bass  
notes to a better (to my ear) choice.


Overall, a C still makes more harmonic sense (to me), as it is often  
in a place where I would expect a dominant harmony). There are also  
passage (6 and 14) where the baseline seems to be displaced an octave  
(if the 7th is read as a C).


There are many pieces which do not use a seventh course: 1, 2, 3, 7,  
8, 9, and 15.
In the rest of the pieces I always thought a C was better than an F  
(except for 10, and the second half of 12 where F would be better --  
I viewed them as a possible mistake).
I also tried a G and that also seemed to work OK, but I still think C  
better.


Anon Egeland's suggestion of a 7th tuned to B-flat doesn't work to my  
ears. He's a fiddle/violin player so may have relied on information  
from a plucked string player.


-- Rocky




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[CITTERN] Re: Edvard Storm Ms.

2008-11-15 Thread Mjos Larson

Thanks for posting the sound file, Stuart. Nicely played!

I thought the first section has some similarities to Van Eyck's Wat  
zalmen op den avond doen.


Ruth van Braak Griffioen list a number of cognates, including German  
versions (Was w├Âlln wir auf den Abend thun). Lute versions in German  
manuscripts include Hainhofer, Fabricius, Stobaeus, Adriaenssen and  
Thysius (Slaepen gaan), etc


-- R


On Nov 11, 2008, at 3:32 PM, Stuart Walsh wrote:


Arthur Ness wrote:

Stuart and Rob,

I thought Rocky did a nice job, too.  What do you make of the Wusch
Englisch  or Vush English
tune?  Do you recognized the tune?  = wash or in dialect wish
(Wunsch).



Here's a simple rendition of the tune (I'm an amateur). It's played  
on a very humble, factory-made seven-string Russian guitar but  
tuned in the correct way. There's a strum on the open strings at  
the start  to show the  tuning - very soupy! I put a capo on  
(somewhat arbitrarily) to raise the pitch a bit, on the supposition  
that the intended instrument would have been smaller than a Russian  
guitar.

Hope it gives some indication of the piece:

http://www.pluckedturkeys.co.uk/Wusch_Englisch.mp3


Doesn't sound familiar at all. Doesn't sound particularly English.  
Almost Balcarres?


Stuart






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[CITTERN] Re: Edvard Storm Ms.

2008-11-13 Thread Frank Nordberg

Stuart Walsh wrote:

 Frank, it did appear on the vihuela list.

Good. Apparently neither your original post nor my reply appeared on the 
cittern list though, so I suppose everybody here are a bit confused what 
it's all about right now. ;-)


Quick summary: After I mentioned the Storm ms. here about a month ago 
(the 18th German Cittern Tuning thread - 29-09-08), Rocky Mjos 
contacted me for more info about it. I sent him scans of the cittern 
related pages I have copies of (all the music but none of the pages with 
playing instructions) and he took the job of transcribing the music, 
posting it at the earlyguitar ning:

http://earlyguitar.ning.com/profile/RockyMjos

At the moment there are still a few unanswered (and possibly 
unanswerable) questions about the music: what kind of cittern it was 
written for, how many courses it had, how it was tuned, what cittern 
tradition it belongs to etc.


Stuart Walsh wrote:

 So what size instrument are we talking about? A small bell cittern or
 something bigger?

We don't know if it was a bell cittern at all. The tuning intervals 
seems to suggest that but it still may have been any kind of European 
18th C. cittern.


 Rocky gives  a tuning with a top d'' which implies a small thing.

Good point. Rocky's info is from an article describing the manuscript 
(sorry, can't remember the author at the moment). It's quite possible 
either that article of Storm himself got it an octave wrong.


 Ages ago you (Frank,or was it Are) said that Bellman had two
 citterns: a bell cittern from his grandfather and a smaller (!)
 instrument.

Oh no, Bellman's second instrument was larger than his first with a 
bunch of extra theorbo style bass strings. We have absolutely no clue as 
to how Bellman tuned either of his citterns though (or maybe we have - 
let me think about this). In any case there doesn't seem to be any 
strong connection between Bellman and Storm so it may not be relevant.


 So there were larger bell citterns?

I'm beginning to realise I know absolutely nothing about the Hamburger 
citrinchen. I've always thought of it as a kind of fancy shaped English 
guittar and never understood how small it really is.


There was an 18th century bell cittern at least as big as a modern 
waldzither (probably close to a portuguese guitar in size) and at least 
sometimes with one or two extra bass strings in addition to the five 
double courses. It was known in Hamburg and in various places in 
Scandinavia.
Is that news? I always thought that was the size of the Hamburger 
citrinchen.



Here is a well-known painting of Carl Michael Bellman with his old bell 
cittern:

http://hem.passagen.se/iblis/bellman.jpg
Even allowing for the inexact propotions of a painting, this certainly 
isn't a small instrument.


I wrote in an earlier post:
 Bellman played a six course bell cittern he had inherited from his
 grandfather through most of his career.

Woops, seems it had *seven* courses! Sorry!

 And the Storm MS cittern is obviously for fingerstyle play but
 evidently the existing tablatures for the bell cittern imply plectrum
 technique (tiny pluckies usually do). Perhaps then the Storm MS is for
 a larger instrument?

Good point. You will notice from the painting that Bellman too seems to 
have played with his fingers.


 In the Storm MS the instrument is described as 'zitter' but don't
 Norwegians use the term 'sister'?

Sister is a fairly modern term, introduced to distinguish it from the 
alpine zither that appeared during the 19th century.


 I seem to remember that Germans
 called their cittern, the 'zitter' (but I can't find where I got this
 idea from.) Maybe cyster, sister,sittra,  zitter, zither are just as
 interchangeable as guitar, guittar, cetra, citra  etc in Britain.

Yes.

  Does the tablature unambiguously show seven courses?
..
 Mm..interesting. So perhaps a fruitful and intriguing difference of
 opinion between your interpretation of the MS and Rocky's?

Probably. Unfortunately the only way to answer the question properly is 
to locate Storm's cittern or the original he copied the music from. 
Unfortunately there's very little chance that'll happen.


Rocky has interpreted the two different ways of notating bass notes as 
signifying two different bass strings. This is certainly what a 
transcriber should do - adding a note about the issue and leaving the 
decision to the interpreter.


The problem is that this doesn't really seem to fit musically. Some bass 
notes are clearly wrong when played on a seventh rather than the sixth 
course. On the occasions where seventh course bass notes do fit the 
harmonies, they invariably lead to 2nd inversion chords that don't seem 
to fit any musical style that may be relevant in this context.
  Storm wasn't a professional musician but his piano compositions and 
arrangements show that he had a fairly good understanding of the basis 
harmonisation principles of his time. He certainly knew about chord 
inversions and wouldn't