On Tuesday, November 01, 2005 10:43 PM Rob MacKillop wrote:

> Seriously, If Alexander is saying (and I may have misunderstood him) that
> the vihuela and the guitar are one and the same, is Fuenllana's 5c vihuela
> music (in baroque guitar tuning) the earliest 5c guitar music?

Can't see why not. Acoustically the vihuela and the guitar at that
particular time were serving the same purpose (i.e. were both used for
playing polyphonic music). In fact as it was the case with the four-course
guitar. I don't think there is anything new in this.

 > And should it
> therefore be played on a 5c guitar? [I am avoiding using the term 'baroque
> guitar' as the word 'baroque' is misleading and is of course a modern
> name,
> which should be dropped from the nomenclature.] If you were to make a 5c
> vihuela, Alexander, how might it differ from a 5c guitar? I'm not trying
> to
> catch you out - I am still a wee bit confused.

This is where, as I see it, the crucial difference between the two guitars
occurs. The early 17th century 5-course guitar is a strummed instrument with
a larger size body volume (as it indeed appears on its earliest
representations, such as Lionello Spada's painting c.1615) while its earlier
predecessor (for the music of Fuenllana for instance) could have had
shallower body (much in lines with the Dias). The lower body volume allows
to shift the frequency response towards the mid-range of the instrument,
thus making it more suitable for polyphonic music where clear voice leading
is essential. This is of course my speculation (with only one historical
instrument surviving - the Dias) but there is also vihuela's earlier
"companion" - the viola da mano that seems to have had a rather shallow body
and this might have been transferred on to the vihuela (whether in its five-
or six-course configuration).

Alexander

www.vihuelademano.com



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