Monday, 22 January 2018

Sanz: Allemanda la Serenissima

Sanz' engraving of the piece, published here. (It's quite a big download.)

Yet another excursion into the early Baroque.

This Sanz piece gave me a bit of a shock: it looks pretty easy on the page, but when you start to play it, you have to go from pluck to strum very rapidly, and the chord changes are rapid too. I suppose that the only answer is to practice. So, if you feel like an exercise in nimbleness in both hands, why not have a go.

You can see a dashing performance on Baroque guitar here. The player, Xavier Díaz-Latorre, seems to use modern rasgueado rather than simple brushes across the strings.

NOTES ON NOTATION

The main aim of aim my transcriptions is to make pieces I (and hopefully you) can enjoy playing on the ukulele. They are obviously strongly informed by the original idioms, but it is not possible to sound just like the originals. For that, one would have to buy a reproduction instrument, in which case this humble amateur blog would be irrelevant.

** For ukes with a low 4th: the double asterisks have been inserted where it is not clear whether to play the note on
(a) the lower string, as in the tablature, or
(b) since Sanz used a re-entrant tuning on the 4th course, to play it an octave higher, or
(c) if the 4th was tuned in octaves, both.

In the MIDI version I have set the volume of the note that I feel to be less appropriate to pp. You may feel differently.

If you have a uke with re-entrant tuning, you get more of a capella effect by using the starred notes on the 4th.

Of course, notes on the 5th course of the Baroque guitar have to be tabbed an octave higher on the uke anyway.

James Tyler points out that in the strummed variations, because of the re-entrant tuning, the chords are not rooted, but are blocks of sound. The combination of such chords with single-note passages, does not really lend itself to identifying individual voices as do, for example, the lute solos of John Dowland. I have, however, indicated bass notes with a descending stem where they may be held for longer than the rest of the chord: this tenuto adds to the continuity of the piece.

You can find the transcriptions here:

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