American guitar pieces in alternate tunings

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
DonaldSauter
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:21 pm

American guitar pieces in alternate tunings

Post by DonaldSauter » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:29 pm

I've started to put together a web page with 19th C. American guitar pieces in alternate tunings. The idea is that, if you have a bunch of pieces in a given tuning, you might be more inclined to go to the trouble of retuning your guitar.

The other idea is that pieces in unfamiliar tunings might "need" fingerings more than pieces in the familiar standard tuning. So I supply a fully fingered version along with the untouched original. Your choice.

I've started with all the pieces in my collection in E major tuning and D major tuning, the latter also called Sebastopol. Since these tunings have identical intervals, you can play all the pieces in either tuning (or a compromise, such as Eb major.)

Here is the web page to date, with the pieces in E major and D major tuning:

http://donaldsauter.com/american-guitar ... unings.htm

DonaldSauter
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: American guitar pieces in alternate tunings

Post by DonaldSauter » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:09 pm

I've added a batch of pieces in another popular tuning of the era: D G d g b d'. This is the tuning for the so-called "Spanish Fandango" that was the Spanish Romance of the 19th Century. The piece and the tuning lived on in American folk guitar. Peter Danner, in an old Soundboard article, speculated this piece came about from Americans diddling with a European piece called Bolero, by Luigi Castellacci.

Besides the Spanish Fandango, there's the Spanish March, which you might know. In addition to original works, there are arrangements of Blue Bells of Scotland, Nearer My God To Thee, and Home, Sweet Home. Retune once, and you get all of that!

As always, no claim that the music is of the absolute highest sophistication, but, hey, it's a lot of fun, and it's the American guitarist's heritage. Also, good reading practice, and some tough or tricky spots that will make you a better guitarist. For example, see The Merry Makers for a good study for controlled strums with the i finger.)

http://donaldsauter.com/american-guitar ... unings.htm

User avatar
sxedio
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: UK / Cyprus

Re: American guitar pieces in alternate tunings

Post by sxedio » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:00 pm

DonaldSauter wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:09 pm
I've added a batch of pieces in another popular tuning of the era: D G d g b d'. This is the tuning for the so-called "Spanish Fandango" that was the Spanish Romance of the 19th Century. The piece and the tuning lived on in American folk guitar. Peter Danner, in an old Soundboard article, speculated this piece came about from Americans diddling with a European piece called Bolero, by Luigi Castellacci.

Besides the Spanish Fandango, there's the Spanish March, which you might know. In addition to original works, there are arrangements of Blue Bells of Scotland, Nearer My God To Thee, and Home, Sweet Home. Retune once, and you get all of that!

As always, no claim that the music is of the absolute highest sophistication, but, hey, it's a lot of fun, and it's the American guitarist's heritage. Also, good reading practice, and some tough or tricky spots that will make you a better guitarist. For example, see The Merry Makers for a good study for controlled strums with the i finger.)

http://donaldsauter.com/american-guitar ... unings.htm
Wow thanks! I've been meaning to look more into spanish fandango. There's a related group of european pieces titled retraite espagnol. Also thanks for the C. Eulenstein piece, another composer I've been meaning to look more into.
(Gr) (En) (very little Fr)

User avatar
sxedio
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: UK / Cyprus

Re: American guitar pieces in alternate tunings

Post by sxedio » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:45 pm

I've put a little taster of the greek version of retraite espagnol I've been playing here viewtopic.php?f=122&t=115004 , using the work in progress forum as I'm not sure the arrangement would be out of copyright.
(Gr) (En) (very little Fr)

DonaldSauter
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: American guitar pieces in alternate tunings

Post by DonaldSauter » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:25 pm

Thanks, very interesting! I've also fired up a couple of versions of "Retraite Espagnol" on youtube. Yes, they share lots of characteristics with "Spanish Fandango" and other open tuning guitar pieces that I thought were strictly 19th C. American. It'd be fun to find out I've been wrong about that. Can you supply any history of "Retraite Espagnol"-type European guitar pieces? Is there a connection going back to the 19th century?

User avatar
sxedio
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: UK / Cyprus

Re: American guitar pieces in alternate tunings

Post by sxedio » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:19 pm

DonaldSauter wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:25 pm
Thanks, very interesting! I've also fired up a couple of versions of "Retraite Espagnol" on youtube. Yes, they share lots of characteristics with "Spanish Fandango" and other open tuning guitar pieces that I thought were strictly 19th C. American. It'd be fun to find out I've been wrong about that. Can you supply any history of "Retraite Espagnol"-type European guitar pieces? Is there a connection going back to the 19th century?
Hi Donald, I'm copying my reply from the other thread just in case.
There's Jacques (or Jaime?) Bosch's Retraite Espagnol opus 16, you can find it on Boijes . In a weird other tuning rather than open G but part of the same family of pieces. I wish I had a more complete picture of the relationship with the american versions and indeed with any spanish originals.

Regarding open tuning european classical 19th century pieces, there was a whole thread that has now disappeared but I did a recording of a Carcassi piece back then which I should propably revisit and record again viewtopic.php?f=113&t=41322
(Gr) (En) (very little Fr)

DonaldSauter
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:21 pm

Re: American guitar pieces in alternate tunings

Post by DonaldSauter » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:36 pm

sxedio wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:19 pm
There's Jacques (or Jaime?) Bosch's Retraite Espagnol opus 16, you can find it on Boijes . In a weird other tuning rather than open G but part of the same family of pieces. I wish I had a more complete picture of the relationship with the american versions and indeed with any spanish originals.

Regarding open tuning european classical 19th century pieces, there was a whole thread that has now disappeared but I did a recording of a Carcassi piece back then which I should propably revisit and record again viewtopic.php?f=113&t=41322
Thanks for bringing me up to speed here. I see now that "Retraite Espagnol" by Bosch dates back to 1887 or earlier. For the curious, here's a direct link:

http://carkiv.musikverk.se/www/boije/Boije_0601.pdf

Yes, that's a pretty unusual tuning. It compresses the range of the guitar by 3 half-steps. I haven't met any American guitar pieces in that tuning, although, at a glance, it looks kind of like several American tunings that have the 4th and 5th strings tuned to the same note (Cccgbe' Cccgc'e' B,BBf#bd#'). Those tunings actually stretch the normal range out 4 half-steps by virtue of a deeply dropped 6th string.

> Regarding open tuning european classical 19th century pieces, there was a whole thread that has now disappeared

Darn, wish I could see it. In my 40 years of playing everything I could get my hands on, I mostly remember just a few European pieces in the open E major chord tuning. I also have the highest regard for Peter Danner's contributions on guitar subjects, and he wrote, "One trait that tends to distinguish early American guitar music from the music of Europe and Latin America is its propensity for unusual scordaturas--for what today are commonly called "open" tunings." (Soundboard, Summer 1987, p109.)

I see that out of 18 Bosch editions on the Boije site, he uses the same tuning in one other piece, La Rose for mandolin and guitar; nothing in the most popular American scordaturas. It would be fun to find that there was more influence on 19th C. European from America than generally recognized, but I'm inclined to view Bosch's experimentation in scordatura as more or less anomalous until somebody presents a bigger list of such pieces.

User avatar
sxedio
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:18 pm
Location: UK / Cyprus

Re: American guitar pieces in alternate tunings

Post by sxedio » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:11 pm

DonaldSauter wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:36 pm

> Regarding open tuning european classical 19th century pieces, there was a whole thread that has now disappeared

Darn, wish I could see it. In my 40 years of playing everything I could get my hands on, I mostly remember just a few European pieces in the open E major chord tuning. I also have the highest regard for Peter Danner's contributions on guitar subjects, and he wrote, "One trait that tends to distinguish early American guitar music from the music of Europe and Latin America is its propensity for unusual scordaturas--for what today are commonly called "open" tunings." (Soundboard, Summer 1987, p109.)

I see that out of 18 Bosch editions on the Boije site, he uses the same tuning in one other piece, La Rose for mandolin and guitar; nothing in the most popular American scordaturas. It would be fun to find that there was more influence on 19th C. European from America than generally recognized, but I'm inclined to view Bosch's experimentation in scordatura as more or less anomalous until somebody presents a bigger list of such pieces.
Let me link properly to my Carcassi recording viewtopic.php?f=113&t=41322 . The whole of opus 25 is in open E, you can find it on Boije http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se ... kverk-4119 . Carcassi is definitely someone who influenced rather than was influenced by american guitar in terms of his publication dates. Another one who wrote a lot in open E later is the originally German but British based madam Pratten, she even published 'Oh Susanna' in open E apparently!
(Gr) (En) (very little Fr)

Return to “Public Space”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], Jacek A. Rochacki, joachim33, ragdoll serenade, tormodg and 29 guests