Le Roy tab time signatures

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geoff-bristol
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Le Roy tab time signatures

Post by geoff-bristol » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:34 am

I am very confused over Le Roys guitar tabs - Guitar Premier Livre, Tiers livre etc.
From some examples on this forum - I see a top mark '1' with two flashes seen as a quarter note. ie '3' time sig ( Delcamp rendering of the Premier branle = three quarter note to bar - 3/4 time ? Yet I see other interpretations where he has 'C' as a time sig - that see '1' + two flashes as an eight note.
So do we take a 'C' as either 2/4 or 4/4 - eg here. Similarly - when he has a '3' at the start, its obviously three beats to the bar - but the same applies - 3/4 - 6/8 ? - Confused !!
Are those first two notes whole notes or half - or either !

roy-query-tab.jpg
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pogmoor
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Re: Le Roy tab time signatures

Post by pogmoor » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:30 pm

Your question presupposes an equivalence in meaning between tablature notation and staff notation that may not fully exist. As far as I can tell Le Roy followed more or less the same conventions as were used in writing lute tablature. It is conventional in transcribing tablature to remove one slash from the symbols - so that a sign with two slashes becomes a quaver rather than a semiquaver etc. However we don't always have information about the tempi of music from this period so the most straightforward thing to do is to make a judgement based on what you think best represents the music in modern notation - as you do with the durations of the different voices. Similarly I would say, from looking at a lot of tablature, that no distinction was made between 3/4 and 6/8 or between 2/4 and 4/4 and you need to judge what works best for a modern transcription.

In fact a lot of tablature in manuscript sources has no time signature and sometimes uneven bar lengths; the player needs to judge the rhythm of a piece from the way the notes were arranged. Sometimes this can be a problem - you might have to distinguish between an unmeasured prelude that is played freely and without a prescribed rhythm:
unmeas.jpg
and a piece that clearly needs to be played rhythmically but has no indicators of rhythm:
ant1.jpg
(It is unclear whether this piece is in 3/4 or 4/4.)

The example you have shown looks to me most like 2/4 and I would interpret the first two bars as minims.
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geoff-bristol
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Re: Le Roy tab time signatures

Post by geoff-bristol » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:47 pm

Many thanks - at last a sensible answer to a simple question.
I do see from info on the Lute Societies pages - I have just been browsing though - that they refer to these as 'rhythn flags' ie - which makes some sence in the light of what you have said.
I also see a new marker I have not noticed on Le roys guitar tab books ( they may be there somewhere ) of a separate 'whole' note symbol - of a semi circle with a dot in. All is clear now - well clearer !

mainterm
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Re: Le Roy tab time signatures

Post by mainterm » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:50 am

pogmoor wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:30 pm
...rhythm...
The examples you've given are very good ones, and along with the Le Roy above, show a nice variety of early guitar related notation styles.

I take your use of the word rhythm however to mean "meter" insofar as the points you are making. The "rhythm" is a series of pitch articulations (or other notated sounds) as they occur over time (e.g. the non-plucking time in-between plucks, the plucking itself, so to speak, and how this unfolds over time forms the rhythmic surface of the music).

Once the rhythm is conceived, performed and then perceived as occurring in patterns of emphasis/de-emphasis, e.g. "in 2" or "in 3" you get meter.

With a free-flowing prelude or other similar format, you might say that the piece simply lacks a prescribed meter, but still has rhythmic properties.

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Re: Le Roy tab time signatures

Post by Todd Tipton » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:26 pm

geoff-bristol wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:34 am
I am very confused over Le Roys guitar tabs - Guitar Premier Livre, Tiers livre etc.
From some examples on this forum - I see a top mark '1' with two flashes seen as a quarter note. ie '3' time sig ( Delcamp rendering of the Premier branle = three quarter note to bar - 3/4 time ? Yet I see other interpretations where he has 'C' as a time sig - that see '1' + two flashes as an eight note.
So do we take a 'C' as either 2/4 or 4/4 - eg here. Similarly - when he has a '3' at the start, its obviously three beats to the bar - but the same applies - 3/4 - 6/8 ? - Confused !!
Are those first two notes whole notes or half - or either !


roy-query-tab.jpg
I'll tell you what often works for me. I rid myself the notion that a measure is a measure and a beat is a beat. And many times, treating the entire measure like a beat gets good results. On the other side of the coin, and that also explains some of those weird transcriptions in musical notation with the blazing fast quarter note scales.

Disclaimer: I only played HIP instruments for a few years and have had no formal training from a lutenist. If what I say helps, then maybe it is good.
Dr. Todd Tipton, classical guitarist
Cincinnati, OH, USA (available via Skype)

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