Dear Eloy,

   I'm very much with Monica on this: what little evidence we have (such
   as Millioni) suggests a certain refinement in strumming ("... in this
   way the music will be  rendered more sweetly."). And the iconography (
   not much to go on I confess) seem to predominate with people playing in
   quite a dignified posture as befitting their station.

   I think the great danger is looking back and assuming a later style was
   generally employed in earlier times. So that, for example, the exciting
   cross rythms found in Murcia's Spanish dances (post-1700) with their
   wonderful and intricate cross rythms and the like becomes a fertile
   breeding ground for the modern imagination ('thrashing about') - but
   not often, I suggest, to the advantage of the music itself.

   Moulinie's fine collection of 1629 with some songs to the guitar is
   often overlooked, being neither a Spanish or Italian source. But we
   must recall that Francois XIII's wife Anne of Austria was a Spanish
   infanta and introduced Spanish tastes to the French court. Moulinie
   employed tablature in block chords since, presumably, so few in Paris
   at the time were familar with alfabeto. But this is a benefit in
   disguise allowing us to clearly see the strumming pattern he expected
   with each chord - another useful guide to early 17th century guitar
   performing practice. Incidentally he calls his 5 course instrument just
   plain ' guitarre' without any Spanish qualifier..


   --- On Mon, 19/12/11, Monica Hall <> wrote:

     From: Monica Hall <>
     Subject: [VIHUELA] Re: Strumming as basso continuo
     To: "Eloy Cruz" <>
     Cc: "Vihuelalist" <>
     Date: Monday, 19 December, 2011, 19:44

   You are right - we know very little about how they actually strummed.
   Millioni gives the following very brief description but he not giving
   "These will give more pleasure if played with three or four fingers of
   right hand, holding them separately one from another, sounding all the
   strings together and playing close to the rose and the neck;  in this
   the music will be  rendered more sweetly."
   As far as the alfabeto songs are concerned there are a very small
   number of
   sources which do supply fully notated accompaniments.   There are  two
   printed sources - the 1622 edition of Sanseverino's guitar book and a
   collection of vocal pieces by Fasolo printed in 1627 and a few
   sources - notably  I-Fc Ms. B 2556.   All of these indicate that the
   strumming patterns reflected the note values of the voice part.   There
   also pieces in the books of Colonna and Foscarini's 1629 book which
   seem to
   be song accompaniments although they don't include the words.  These
   have strumming patterns based on note values.
   Not much to go on.
   I do whether the people who performed these songs in the early 17th
   would have gone in for flamenco style strumming.   They were not
   peasants or
   "little people" and they might have regarded it as beneath their
   dignity to
   imitate what the lower orders did.
   ----- Original Message -----
   From: "Eloy Cruz" <[1]>
   To: "Vihuela List" <[2]>
   Sent: Monday, December 19, 2011 4:47 AM
   Subject: [VIHUELA] Re: Strumming as basso continuo
   > Dear List
   > Although the subject of this thread is labeled "Strumming as basso
   > continuo", the exchange of different list members has to do with how
   > conduct or organize the harmony in the fingerboard, not at all with
   > strumming.
   > I think the 2 main features of guitarra espanola de cinco ordenes are
   > one
   > hand (left), its peculiar harmonic language -all these inversions-
   and an
   > apparently limited palette. On the other (right) hand, and much more
   > characteristically, strumming.
   > When dealing with an alfabeto piece (a solo or a song) the problem of
   > harmony is solved by the alfabeto itself (inconsistencies aside). If
   > player wants to give some different colors to harmony, he can use
   > alternative higher chord positions (using Sanz's Laberintos, for
   > But rasgueado is an entirely different matter. The alfabeto notation
   > not one single clue on how to realize it. Most of the time you won't
   > find indicators of up or down strokes. I know of not one single set
   > original instructions on how to make it -do someone in the list know
   > something about it? We know about trillo, picco and repicco, and
   > more, but I think the basic thing about strumming is precisely,
   > The old ones are clear about this. Sanz: Hagase cuenta que la mano
   > que toca la Guitarra es el Maestro de Capilla que lleva el compas, y
   > dedos de la mano izquierda son los instrumentos y voces que rige y
   > gobierna
   > por ella. The right hand is the chapel master that rules and conducts
   > instruments and voices, represented by the left hand fingers.
   > I think strumming itself is a powerful tool to make clear the
   rhetoric of
   > a
   > piece, particularly a song. I think the main job of a guitar player
   > accompanying a singer, or himself, is to shape harmony with the right
   > hand.
   > As someone put it, to illuminate the text from within.
   > The old ones don't give detailed instructions about strumming
   because, in
   > my
   > opinion, strumming is an elusive art and science. It's something you
   > by playing along with your teacher or with the community. Witness the
   > master
   > strummers of Latin American guitars -each instrument has its own
   > and
   > unique strumming language- some of these players have an outstanding
   > of performance and are as virtuosos in their field as any "classic"
   > player. They make what many old Spanish sources say: hacen hablar a
   > guitarra, they make the guitar speak.
   > Regards
   > eloy
   > To get on or off this list see list information at
   > [3]




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