Saturday, 13 January 2018

Sanz: Zarabanda Francesa (1:12) in Am

Facsimile of Gaspar Sanz: Zarabanda Francesa, in Instruccion de musica sobre la gvitarra EspaƱola, Book 1, Plate 12 (bottom). There are two more pieces of the same name in this book. More details are appended to the score.

A really simple little piece, tuneful and fun to play. You can see a fine performance on Baroque guitar by J-F Delcamp here. He plays at about the same speed as the MIDI version posted below: 80 bpm.

It's a good way to get to grips with alternating plucking and strumming (brushing). As a relative beginner I have experimented with different ways of strumming the chords: using the thumb or a finger tip, or the whole right hand. Fwiw, on my particular uke I find a strum with the edges of the index finger nail sounds well with plucked strings. James Tyler says that strumming should be over the finger-board, whilst plucking would be nearer the sound-hole.

I added a final bar, and that sounds better with a rasgueado (strumming with the digits from little finger to thumb). I learned a lot from the tutorial by the brilliant Rob MacKillop here – he really gives his Baroque guitar a bashing!

A zarabanda was a stately Spanish dance in triple time, adopted in French as a sarabande. It had been suppressed by Philip II of Spain in the previous century because it was so lascivious. So, the challenge is how to play this piece on the uke with a stately lasciviousness.

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.