Baroque calligraphy

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Baroque calligraphy

Postby Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:15 pm

I've always found the repeats in certain works such as Weiss' "Passagaille" (Sonata13) musically less than satisfying.

In his explanation from Recueil des pieces de guitare Castillion is unequivocal:
"Les deux barres pointées qui sont au milieu d'un Air, marquant qu'il faut jouer deux fois la premiere partie, et deux fois le seconde."

This has been quoted to me as indicating with certainty that such marks definitely indicate repeats. I argue that the comment refers specifically to the section-dividing barlines in binary form. Castillion himself clearly uses similarly decorated lines elsewhere simply as a visual device to draw attention to (and indicate separation of) disparate elements in the musical text.

It seems that, in acknowledging the need to inform us that these particular decorated lines have that specific function, Castillion implies that others do not.

Anyone have any hard evidence refuting this? I haven't found any.

It's clearly a question that vexes many, for example Kennard (in his transcription of the aforementioned Weiss) inexplicably repeats the first strain, but not the others. Burley & Chiesa repeat every strain except the last whilst Villadangos favours a straight through approach.

On the other hand Michel Cardin advocates performing all the "repeats."

clivepics
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Re: Baroque calligraphy

Postby clivepics » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:29 am

It's really rather simple for me: this is my all time favourite piece of guitar music so I repeat everything because I love it so much!

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Baroque calligraphy

Postby Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:38 am

clivepics wrote:It's really rather simple for me: this is my all time favourite piece of guitar music so I repeat everything because I love it so much!

Ha ha - how many times?

I agree - it's amongst my favourites too - a wonderful, deep work brilliantly communicating that particularly baroque dichotomy - heavenly aspiration juxtaposed against earthly reality. Weiss is so underrated amongst the general populace and just because the vehicle of his genius was the lute.

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pogmoor
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Re: Baroque calligraphy

Postby pogmoor » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:24 am

The only evidence I've come across is what can be deduced from comparing manuscripts. If you look at the Weyrauch tablature of Bach's BWV 997 you can see that the Sarabande includes what must be a second time bar. This is delimited by double bar lines with three dots on each side, suggesting that this may be an accepted notation for repeats (as opposed to undotted double bar lines that presumably indicated the end of a non-repeated section).

The same dotted bar lines appear in the MS of the passagaile and in other Weiss sources. For example there's a menuet at f12r in the Schloss Rohrau MS that uses the same notation. It also includes two points at which a column of dots follows a single barline. Under each of these is written 'repr.' which, as the text in the MS is in French, could indicate 'reprise'. This perhaps suggests that dots were, at that time, an accepted notation for repeats as they are in current staff notation. There are plenty of earlier (e.g. 16th and 17th century manuscripts) where the notation for repeats is much less clear and I wonder how standardised in place and time were such elements of notation .
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008) and Paul Fischer (1995)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014)

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Baroque calligraphy

Postby Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:30 pm

pogmoor wrote:The only evidence I've come across is what can be deduced from comparing manuscripts. If you look at the Weyrauch tablature of Bach's BWV 997 you can see that the Sarabande includes what must be a second time bar.

Yes - I know the Weyrauch of course, and have pondered over this and many other MSS to boot. For instance - the Weiss British Library MS in particular is interesting:

Suite VI (Chiesa)
The five dance movements all have the usual two sections divided by bar double lines straddle by dots (sometimes 2, sometimes 3 or even 5). However, the first Prelude - presumably not to be repeated - ends with similar lines and dots ... surely simply decorative?
The Ciacona has repeats marked not by the usual double lines and dots but by a dotted elipse, sometimes containing a "signe" style S. It ends with the same "decorative flourish" as the aforementioned Prelude.

Suite VIII (Chiesa)
Five dance movements with similar markings to Suite VI.
Ciacona - 1st 56 measures bear nothing resembling repeat signs - oversight? I don't think so - the right bar line of measure 56 bears dots to its right only. Following from here each seven measure strain is marked by a single line with dots to the left and right. The penultimate measure ends with dots to the left only whilst the final measure - containing a single chord and clearly not to be repeated - is marked by the familiar final decoration of double lines and dots.

The Passagaille which prompts my query, in the London MS, is marked at every strain by double lines and dots. The same work in Haslemere (ms II.B.2) has each variant divided by dots between lines (as in Castillion's Le Cocq collection) and uses the same system to indicate binary repeats.

The evidence of the London MS is at least inconsistent and ambiguous - the Haslemere, I have to admit, is visually consistent and speaks against me - and yet musically the repeats feel so wrong but I haven't, so far, found any written description outside of Castillion.

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pogmoor
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Re: Baroque calligraphy

Postby pogmoor » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:39 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:The evidence of the London MS is at least inconsistent and ambiguous - the Haslemere, I have to admit, is visually consistent and speaks against me - and yet musically the repeats feel so wrong but I haven't, so far, found any written description outside of Castillion.

I suppose that's the dilemma in a nutshell - contradictory evidence, and apparently no contemporary written explanations - not only of repeat signs, but also of many of the signs signifying decorations. Perhaps signs were used inconsistently and musicians expected to exercise their own choice.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008) and Paul Fischer (1995)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014)


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