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Gaspar Sanz

Baroque guitar works in modern tablature

Here is a big chunk of Gaspar Sanz's Instruccion de Musica sobre la guitarra española for Baroque guitar presented in a clear, faithful, modern tablature. Tomo (volume) 2 and tomo 3 are complete. Tomo 1 is represented by just the first page of music. I'd be happy to make it a complete job, if anyone is interested.

If you're holding a Baroque guitar in your hands, click on the "Baroque guitar" link to play Sanz's original. If you're holding a modern guitar, click on "Modern guitar." The "modern" differs from the "Baroque" in that octave notes above the notated 5th, 4th and 3rd string notes have been added where it "sounds right to me." In many of the pieces, the original needs very few adjustments, or maybe none at all. If you are trained in music theory and an authority on Baroque guitar music, I'd very much appreciate you checking over my work.

Further comments specific to Gaspar Sanz and his tablature are below the table of contents.

For convenience (trust me!) each piece has been assigned a short ID of the form gsT.PX, where T, P, and X are set as follows:

T = tomo (volume) number. Sanz's Instruccion comprises three tomos, so the range for T is 1-3. In fact, "tomo 1", "tomo 2" or "tomo 3" is printed on each page of tablature in the Instruccion. The three volumes are also called "libros" (books).

P = page number of the piece. Within each tomo (or libro) page numbers start at 1 for the introductory text, and at 1 again for the plates with tablature. Thus, there are six (or so) Page 1's in Sanz's "Instruccion".

X = number of the piece on the page, but designated with a letter. a=1, b=2, c=3, etc. X may be omitted if there was only one piece on Sanz's page, or if I thought it was appropriate to lump all of the pieces on one page together.

So, for example, the 3rd piece on page 4 of tomo 2 is designated as gs2.4c.

The Notes page for each piece is where errors in the original tablature are noted. It also presents the Baroque guitar tablature in my old-fashioned, but revolutionary, ASCII tab. Which will probably outlive the proprietary PDF format...


Tomo 1 (Libro 1)

gs1.3: Gallardas con otros dances Españoles.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
    Including: Gallardas. Villano. Otro (villano). Dances delas Hachas. Jacaras. Jacara de la Costa. Passacalle. Passacalles. Otros Passacalles. Otros Passacalles. Españoleta. Folias. Pavana. Rugero. Las Paradetas.
    This is just the first of 16 pages of music in Tomo 1. The first two pages consist entirely of rasgueado (strummed) pieces. Thereafter, the pieces are punteado (plucked).


Tomo 2 (Libro 2)

gs2.3a: Gallardas.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.3b: Las Hachas.   Baroque (and modern) guitar.   Notes.
gs2.3c: La Buelta.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.3d: Folias.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.4a: Rujero.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.4b: Paradetas.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.4c: Matachin.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.4d: Zarabanda.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.4e: Jacaras.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.4f: Chacona.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.5a: Españoletas.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.5b: Otro Españoletas   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.5c: Passacalles.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.6a: Canarios.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Modern guitar (fuller).   Notes.
gs2.6b: Otro Canarios.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.6c: Villanos.   Baroque (and modern) guitar.   Notes.
gs2.7: Marionas.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.8: Mariçapalos (Marizapalos).   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.9a: Granduque.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.9b: Otro Granduque.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.9c: Passacalles.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.10a: Pavanas por la D   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.10b: Jiga Inglesa.   Baroque (and modern) guitar.   Notes.
gs2.10c: Bailete Frances.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.11: Passacalles por La O.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
gs2.12: Clarines y Trompetes con Canciones muy curiosas Españolas, y de Estranjeras Naciones.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
    Including: La Cavalleria de Napoles con dos Clarines. Canciones. La Garzona. La Coquina Francesa. Lantururu. La Esfachata de Napoles. La Miñona de Cataluña. La Minina de Portugal. Dos Trompetas de la Reyna de Suecia. Clarin delos Mosqueteros del Rey Francia.
    Page inscribed: "En Çaragoza. 1675."

Complete Tomo 2 (PDF):   Baroque guitar.    Modern guitar.
The tablature is laid out identically in both files, so you can see the changes made for the modern guitar by flickering back and forth.

Complete Tomo 2 (MS Word download):   Baroque guitar.    Modern guitar.
I provide MS Word files for your convenience in making your own alterations to the tablature. For instance, you could delete the ~~~~~ slur indication lines, print the piece out, and draw in neat slurs. Or, with careful substitution of "-" for "_", you could convert the tab from "fret numbers within the spaces" to "fret numbers on the lines".


Tomo 3 (Libro 3)

gs3.1: Passacalles por la C. (D major chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs3.2: Passacalles con falsas... y Cromaticos.   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs3.3: Passacalles por la I. (A major chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs3.4a: Passacalles por la E. (D minor chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs3.4b: Passacalles por la D. (A minor chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs3.5a: Passacalles por la +. (E minor chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs3.5b: Passacalles por la K2. (B minor chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs3.6: Passacalles por la H. (Bb major chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs3.7a: Passacalles por la G. (F major chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs3.7b: Passacalles por la B. (C major chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs3.8: Passacalles por la O. (G minor chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs3.9: Passacalles por la L. (C minor chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).
gs310.: Passacalles por la K2. (B minor chord)   Baroque guitar  (notes).    Modern guitar  (notes).

Complete Tomo 3 (PDF):   Baroque guitar.    Modern guitar.
Complete Tomo 3 (MS Word download):   Baroque guitar.    Modern guitar.

Gaspar Sanz -- his music, guitar and tablature

Gaspar Sanz's Instruccion, published in Saragossa, 1674, was the first guitar book published in Spain in the 17th century. Remember that the first Baroque guitar booklet was produced by Juan Carlos Amat in Valencia in 1596. The guitar books between Amat and Sanz came mostly from Italy and France. Francisco Guerau's "Poema Harmonico" was published in Madrid in 1694. Santiago de Murcia's two large manuscripts came along much later -- 1732.

I used a facsimile, published by Minkoff, of the 1697 edition of the Instruccion. I'm confused about how the 3 Libros originally came out -- whether separately, or whether every time Sanz produced another Libro he tacked it onto the previous one(s) and published them as a unit, or if maybe all 3 were published together right off the bat in 1674. (The last page of Libro 2 is dated 1675.)

Libro 1 has about 14 pages of music. (There are lots of pages with commentary and music theory.) Libro 2 has ten pages; and Libro 3 has eight pages. That adds up to about 32 pages of music. But Sanz could cram a lot of tablature onto one page; in modern notation, whether music or tablature, one of his pages might fill three of ours.

The Guitar Review magazine, in issue 40, winter 1976, began a project to transcribe all of Sanz's Instruccion into music notation. They claimed that "with the completion of this series, Guitar Review subscribers will be in possession of all the Gaspar Sanz music that has survived to this day." This effort was aborted without comment almost as soon as it began. Their 25 pages of transcription in two consecutive issues only got them up to page 8 in Sanz's Libro 1. That, combined with the fact that these are the smallest and simplest of Sanz's pieces, left me confused for decades about what Sanz had actually produced. Don't you be duped.

BAROQUE GUITAR TUNING: There are three main stringings for the Baroque guitar depending on the period, nationality and composer. Each of these tunings had treble strings a d' g b e', in the order of what we think of as string 5 to string 1. The alternatives come about depending on which, if either, of string 5 and string 4 were paired with bass strings (bourdons).

Sanz said that bourdons were usual in Spain, although he himself did not use them. Thus, Sanz's own tuning was aa d'd' gg bb e'. The lowest note is the g given by the open 3rd string. To be honest, I find that stringing a modern guitar with 5 trebles gives an unsatisfying, thin sound. I suggest it's ok to take the stance, "Even if Sanz was wacky enough to take the basses off of his guitar, probably hardly anybody else did, so I won't either."

So if you play Baroque guitar tablature on a modern guitar, continually think about whether you want to add, or substitute, the octave above any note on the 4th or 5th string. In the case of Sanz, some people theorize that he must have had a high G on his third course. I agree that there spots in his music which call for the high G. You can find quite a few instances of this in my versions for modern guitar.

You might visit my web page which explains how you can very simply convert a modern guitar into a Baroque guitar - what I call a "quasi-Baroque" guitar. If you go with a modern guitar, let me suggest terz guitar strings. I find the brighter sound and the lighter touch (I tune them a half-step below the designated pitch) to be much more "in tune" with this ancient music.

TABLATURE ORIENTATION: Sanz's tablature was "upside-down" relative to what most modern tablature readers are used to. His top-most line in the tablature staff represented what we call the 5th string on the guitar. This modern tablature has flip-flopped the original tablature staff; the top-most space here represents our 1st string.

ORNAMENTATION: Sanz notated 3 different ornaments in his tablature.

"T" = trill.

")" on its side = mordent. The curve appears like an umbrella above the fret number, or a bowl below it.

"#" = vibrato. It's clear that Sanz generally meant for one # to apply to all the fretted notes in a chord.

In this modern tablature, I use symbols which suggest twiddles from above or below, and I put them in front of the fret number.

" = trill (multiple twiddles from above.)

` = grace note from above. (Not used in Sanz's music.)

, = mordent (main note to lower neighbor and back up.)

# = vibrato.

Some think that Sanz intended the trill to begin on the main note, rather than the upper neighbor. I'm inclined to agree that it yields a more pleasing, less strident effect than the rigorous Baroque trill.

STRUMS: Baroque guitar music is famous for its strumming (rasgueado). The first two pages of tablature in Sanz's Libro 1 are filled with completely strummed pieces. They are notated in alfabeto; letters indicate what chord to finger and little dashes indicate where to strum up and down. There are some, but not many, strums in the later pieces in the Instruccion.

RHYTHM VALUES: Sanz's original rhythm values have been retained. Remember that in the original tablature, a rhythm symbol is supplied only when a new rhythm begins. If I have to describe the original rhythm values in a given measure, I write the implied rhythmic values in ( ). For example, where Sanz writes . . .

        |          |   | 

. . . I would describe the rhythms as follows:

Bar 1 - 4er (4er 4er 4er).
Bar 2 - (4er) 8th (8th) 4er (4er).

DOUBLE BAR LINES: Sanz uses short double bar lines to separate sections within a piece. The short double bar line spans just the inner 2 of the 4 tablature staff spaces. They are represented in the modern tablature here with full-length double bar lines.

That would hardly be worth mentioning, except that it relates to the question of what Sanz means by full-length double bars. Often it's obvious; a highly decorated double bar line is used at the end of a piece. Even without all of the loops and swirls, you would know it's the end of the piece because something new starts up after it. There may be a space, a time signature and a title for the next piece.

But there are instances where a full-length double bar is only minimally decorated - or not decorated at all - and there's no space and no title for a following piece. One might think that it acts just like a short double bar, separating sections within a piece, but my conclusion is that the full-length double bar is always meant to separate one piece from another. So, what at first glance might appear to be one long passacalle could actually be 3 distinct passacalles separated by plain, full-length double bars. In the modern tablature, I've tried to retain Sanz's presentation of the full-length double bars so you can draw your own conclusions.

TIME SIGNATURES: When I need to indicate the time signature in the ascii tablature, I use 3/4, 4/4 and 2/2 for Sanz's "3", "C" and Cut time (a "C" with a slash), respectively.


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