Thursday, 16 February 2017

Alonso Mudarra: Fantasia facil

Image of title page of Mudarra in Tres libros de musica en cifras para vihuela, Libro I, Folio VII. Sevilla, 1546
The title page of Mudarra's Tres libros, including a jolly little graffito
From Wikipedia
If you want to know why I chose this particular fantasia, just look at the title. Some of Mudarra's fantasias I've watched on YouTube are really quite challenging. It was published in Tres libros de musica en cifras para vihuela, Libro I, Folio VII. Sevilla, 1546.

I derived this version from a transcription for guitar by Thomas Könings available here. As far as possible I have followed TK's formatting – so much easier than working out note lengths, ligatures and stem directions for oneself. There have been the usual compromises in going from 6 to 4 strings, but it still sounds OK, I think.

This being a fantasia, there is no rigid structure such as in a song or dance, and therefore no repeated chordal pattern. I have therefore abstained from inserting modern chord names into the score, as they don’t really help in understanding how the music works. Also, this being polyphonic music, the chords made by the overlapping lines often merge into eachother. Consider bars 2 and 3: there is a chord change from Dm to A(major), where the note of D carries over from the second half of bar 2 to the first half of bar 3, giving us a chord of 'A add 4' (ugh!), resolving to A in the second half of the bar. Again, there is a lovely dissonance in bars 52 and 53, where an insistent F natural is sounded against a chord of Amajor, which gives us something like A+, but doesn’t sound like it.  I don’t find that knowing the chord names in such a context helps me – they just clutter up the score. Something else I've learned.

Available to download in the following formats: pdf (preview), pdf auto download, TablEdit and MIDI.

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I hope you enjoy these arrangements. I would welcome your views, and comments on possible errors or improvements.