On 04/03/2011 09:14, Martyn Hodgson wrote:
    Dear Stuart,

    I'm sorry to have to write like this, but did you not follow the
    postings I made when this was discussed earlier (months ago)? - I
    pointed out some specific strum signs in mid 16th century 4 course
    books. Two examples I recall giving are La Seraphine from Morlaye's 4th
    book of 1552 and a Paduanne on page 16..........

    I think I understand that your personal preference is to pluck all this
    stuff but I wouldn't have thought this should outweigh considerations
    of the actaul evidence. It really is pointless responding to these
    things only to find that months later it seems to have not been read.


I think we all suffer from this! Many - well, several - times I've noticed that later messages in a thread where I have contributed have clearly missed what seemed to me a key point which I had carefully explained (or so I thought). It's the nature of the medium. And it's in the nature of the medium for threads to go off in different directions. I was interested to discuss/chat about the practice of strumming chord sequences well before the 1550s (as Jocelyn seemed to be suggesting) - but it's not happening.

I'm surprised that I'd completely forgotten that you had given definite evidence for strumming in the four-course repertoire. There is a news item today that scientists can now grow brain cells - so I'm hoping to get hold of a few more.

These are discussion lists, chat lists, lots of details, opinions.. and banter (which we Brits can't seem to master at all) and open to all, experts and all.

(I've played the four-course guitar in the past and I did try strumming in places and have nothing against it)


    Clearly, in these early days of strumming notation we're not going to
    find the sophisticated notation developed some 50 years later. In short
    the evidence is that strumming was used at the time, was used later and
    thus  may have been more common than you might wish.

    It's all rather reminiscent of earlier exchanges about Guerau's work of
    1694 for 5 course guitar: I see numerous comments to the effect that
    Guerau never indicated strumming in this collection (even Jeffreys in
    his comments to accompany the facsimile edition). But, of course, he
    does - one just needs to look hard enough (for those who missed my
    earlier see for example page 53 penultimate system bars 1 to 4)



    --- On Thu, 3/3/11, Stuart Walsh<s.wa...@ntlworld.com>  wrote:

      From: Stuart Walsh<s.wa...@ntlworld.com>
      Subject: [VIHUELA] Re: Renaissance Guitar Podcast
      To: "Nelson, Jocelyn"<nels...@ecu.edu>
      Cc: "Vihuelalist"<vihuela@cs.dartmouth.edu>
      Date: Thursday, 3 March, 2011, 18:50

    On 02/03/2011 19:06, Nelson, Jocelyn wrote:
    >  Dear Early Guitar List,
    >  If you click the link below, you^1re on your way to my 16 minute
    >  which includes commentary and music from my recent CD, Ma Guiterre je
    >  chante. A transcript of my commentary is available on the site, as
    >  This was produced by ECU^1s School of Music. If you have time to
    listen, I
    >  hope you enjoy it.
    >  Best wishes,
    >  Jocelyn
    I enjoyed listening to your podcast (and I do have your CD) and I hope
    you will do more podcasts.
    There is something I'd be very interested to follow up in your role of
    four-course guitar player _and_  teacher of music history! You say that
    the four-course guitar was a popular strumming instrument and I think
    you imply it was a popular strumming instrument before the guitar fad
    of the 16th century. This is something that intrigues me and I have
    raised it in the past.
    Monica and Rob and others have suggested that strumming is very old -
    older than the four-course repertoire as it appears in the mid 16th
    century. But there is no explicit strumming at all in the four-course
    repertoire. The Braye MS has some pieces with sequences of block chords
    which could be strummed - but could be plucked too. There was a fairly
    recent discussion on this list about some modern transcriptions by
    Giesbert of the Phalese  (1570s) four-course music and it emerged that
    Giesbert's extensive strumming indications were all his own invention!
    It seems very natural to us, to add strumming to some of the pieces in
    the four-course repertoire. And within a few decades the guitar was,
    for a while, exclusively a strummed instrument.
    But I wonder how far before the 1550s could we reasonably expect
    guitarists to have been strumming sequences of block chords - major and
    minor I, IV, Vs etc.
    Surely not a hundred years earlier? My amateur understanding of 15th
    century music is that most of it is in three parts (but some
    monophonic, and some in more than three parts). Chord  sequences simply
    hadn't been invented then (?) and it would be quite anachronistic to
    try and impose them on the music(?). Improvisation was based around
    'tenors' - lines of long notes with rules about acceptable and
    unacceptable intervals, not on chord sequences.
    Around 1500 the earliest music (published and in MS) for the lute
    include block chords (doubling notes according to the practicalities of
    a fingerboard in a particular tuning) but not chord sequences. The
    block chords mingle with melodic lines - which predominate. So(?): no
    likelihood of strumming there.
    But this early lute music also includes 'grounds' - or(?) what later
    came to be called grounds. I wonder if these very early 'grounds' were
    a sort of half way house between the old 'tenors' - a single line, or
    were actually strummable - and actually strummed - chord sequence?
    Maybe you don't want to commit yourself to actual dates - but I wonder
    how far back do you think guitarists (and citternists and others) could
    have been strumming chord sequences? And if they were strumming
    something else: what dispositions of notes could they have been
    To get on or off this list see list information at



    2. http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/lute-admin/index.html

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