I think you are mistaken here because throughout the 16th century general
practice was to add contrapuntal parts to a tenor voice.   The shift to
working from the bass took place at the beginning of the 17th century.

So how about songs from the 1620s and 30s?

Underlying this discussion is the idea that it is somehow inferior or
amateurish to accompany the songs in this way.   This in my view shows a
lack of historical insight and sensitivity to changes taking place at the
time.   A kind of 21st century superior and censorious attitude to what
people did in the past.

Your comment is really surprising.
Anyone can hear what my ideas are, on the CD Canta Venetia. Most of the time
I just play the (amateurish...) alfabeto chords as written. Occasionally I
leave out the A bass of a D chord. I think it is unreasonable to condemn
that since it is almost too easy, also for a player in 1627. For the rest I
'keep an eye on the bass' which I think could be done by educated players.
Therefore I sometimes play the 6-3 chords which we find in Foscarini 1640
and Corbetta 1643. Too close to call it anachronistic.

Triadic harmony was new, original, exciting and in tune with other
developments taking place at the time i.e. accompanied monody.   The
guitar was ideally suited to be part of this change and certainly
contributed to developments in harmonic thinking.

Did it?

Your views seem to coloured by the need to please a 21st century audience.
This is understandable but if we are trying to understand what these songs
meant to people in the past and what gave them pleasure we should leave
our personal prejudices at the door>

I just try not to be fundamentalistic about sources....

There was no need for them to expand the system of alfabeto from within.
The experienced theorbist-guitarist could use lute tablature for this

And a performer?

It never lost ground.  It was still alive and well and living in Italy
until well into the 18th century.

The numbers of printed alfabeto songbooks went down dramatically after 1640.
Alfabeto songs were no longer appearing in print.
I know of course that the simple alfabeto instructionbooks of Millioni,
Monte, Marchetti were reprinted for about a century. There still was some demand
for strumming, but no repertoire of contemporary composed alfabeto song has

You may not be in sympathy with earlier ways of doing things but that is
no reason for heaping scorn on those of us who are.

Again, I'm surprised that you say that, you completely misread my words. Not
for the first time.


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