Another thing: what were players of the time doing with these little chord
sequences (let's say, for the moment, these little Folie Divers)? Are
there associated melodies, or dance steps? And why in lots of different
keys? And in both major and minor keys?

Monica Hall wrote:
There are various reason for all this.

1.    Many of the pieces are intended to be the basis for more elaborate

2. The pieces are sometimes in different keys so that several guitars of different sizes could play in consort. Foscarini has included instructions
for tuning 3 guitars of different sizes to play together (copied from
Colonna and misprinted so they don't make sense!).

3.    They were often intended to accompany dancing.

4.    In some cases they were almost certainly intended to be the
accompaniment to vocal pieces or played with other instruments. Both Colonna and Foscarini have included what appear to be accompaniments to Palestrina's "Vestiva i Colli". And Colonna has an "Aria Spagnola che si suona con le Viole" - to be played with the viol.

5. Passacaglias are included in all the different keys so that they could
be used as a refrain or ritornello with other dances.   Also as a way of
learning all the chords.

6. Some of the pieces have versions in both common and triple time - this probably has something to do with the dance steps or two dances linked like the pavane and galliard.

7.    There are probably a lot of other reasons too...

There is a tendency to dismiss these pieces as trivial but really they are all that is left to us of what was probably a vibrant tradition of improvisation.


This is all very helpful. Thank you.


----- Original Message ----- From: "Monica Hall" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Stuart Walsh" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Cc: "Vihuelalist" <>
Sent: Wednesday, January 09, 2008 1:34 PM
Subject: [VIHUELA] Re: Foscarini's alafabeto

Briefly...and in a hurry

There are two versions of Chord L because the standard  version - the
one that Foscarini give on the second line is almost impossible to play.
Therefore the form on line one with the dissonant note was usually

In the Folie Divers in A

the 5 following K3 is played as a single note on the 1st course.

the 3 below the C is incorporated into chord C as a suspended 4th which
resolves on the next beat.

the rhythm from N3 onwards is probably

N3   crotchet/crotchet.2 quavers//
       D           D          D     U    //
K3crotchet /5 crotchet /K3 crotchet
   D           U               D
C4 crotchet/ C3 crotchet/ C crotchet
D                   D               U
A etc.

Will have a closer look later


----- Original Message ----- From: "Stuart Walsh" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2008 9:25 PM
Subject: [VIHUELA] Foscarini's alafabeto

I've put up some extracts from the first couple of pages from
Foscarini's masterwork (or whatever it is). I was getting along fine on
the first page but I'm stumped on page 3.
Any advice gratefully received.

If anyone would like to try their hand at alfabeto strumming (any
guitar will do) there is enough here to get you going.

I haven't properly proof read it so there may be some howlers.

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