Le Roy, tab symbols

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geoff-bristol
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Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by geoff-bristol » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:07 pm

Ok - I have sorted that Le Roys tabs have the upper string at the top( on a four string guitar) - and that 'a' is open - b,c, etc - funny 'd' - e f etc ( and I presume no 'J' ? ) - for fret numbering.
Anyway - what is puzzling me is the upper marks that look like wind speed arrows. Looking carefully at an original pdf scan - I see a line with two stalks and a dot - = dotted quarter - so do I figure right on 'I' whole note - one flash = half note - two flash quarter ?
Is there any indication of how long the bass voice notes are held ? Also - some fret postion letters have a dot under them - what is the significance of those ?

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:23 pm

Maybe post a sample?

Without seeing it can be hard to be precise, but; the rhythm in old tab is simply the fastest note currently applying. If there are quick upper notes and long basses its up to the player how long to keep them.

I'd guess the dot relates to using a RH finger, maybe 'i' but that's only a guess and somebody like Rob had better stop me making any more of those.
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geoff-bristol
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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by geoff-bristol » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:10 am

Yes - will sort an example tomorrow. I was just looking through some of them now in the tiers livre pdf - its real job to work out even what's what in terms of rhythm of the notes - or even what time sig ?

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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by mainterm » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:58 am

Stephen is totally right that this kind of question really begs for an image of the notation you are attempting to decipher.

I'm not an expert on renaissance lute/guitar/cittern notation, but I believe that the dot indicates the use of the index finger on the plucking hand.

and I presume the angled slashes in the bass indicate sustained notes in the bass line (this doesn't solve all voice layering / polyphonic presentations, but it gets you most of the way).

the wind speed arrows and anything else above the staff depict rhythmic articulations - at least so far as I can tell. Imagine whatever you are seeing above the staff with a note-head attached to the bottom of the "stem".

the time signatures are there as far as I can tell - if you aren't seeing a time sig, you may be looking at an embellished version of the previous piece (this is usually indicated I think at the start of the piece). Music from this period is typically "in 2" or "in 3".

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:18 am

geoff-bristol wrote:Also - some fret postion letters have a dot under them - what is the significance of those ?
Stephen Kenyon wrote:I'd guess the dot relates to using a RH finger, maybe 'i' but that's only a guess and somebody like Rob had better stop me making any more of those.
A reasonable guess Stephen and well measured ...

... Le Roy instructs us that tablature letters without dots are articulated by striking "dounewarde with thy thombe" whereas a dot under a letter indicates that it should be "striken upwardes with one of the fingers" i.e. not necessarily the index.

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geoff-bristol
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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by geoff-bristol » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:16 pm

Ok - pics.
Just sort of chose this at random as it has some slashes as well ? Starting at the T embelishment -
Looking again - I see he does state 3 at the start - so I know beats to bar.( previous tune - upper two bars started with a 'C' common )
The arrows to me seem to indicate note duration. This tune is starting at the T embelshment. We have '3' for 3 beats - so it figrures the 2nd bar ( starting at T ) indicates three quarter notes ?
I see the bar with two flashes and a dot ( as in bar 3 - line 3 ) is invariably followed by a three flash - which seems to suggest bar 3 is a normal dotted quarter note/1/8th/ quarter ? Similarly - bar 4 - line 3 - six notes of three flashes. When all are the same he just marks the first ?
The slashes at the bottom string notes seem to suggest holding that note ?

If the tabs without dots is down with the thumb - he was strumming a lot. Did he do a version of freight train ? :D

There's a lot of downstrokes there. Maybe it was a way to make some noise form a small lightly strung small instrument.
Also - on bar 4 - line 3 - that suggests he is alternating thumb and finger on the upper strings.

Out of interest - where does the 'thumb' info come from ?

(Adrien Le Roy - Tiers livre de tabulature de guitar - Image courtesy of JISC Collections Open Education User Licence version 1.0 - http://purl.org/rism/AI/L2045)
le-roy-tabs.jpg
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:53 am

geoff-bristol wrote:Out of interest - where does the 'thumb' info come from ?
From the composer's comprehensive instructions. Le Roy goes on to elaborate on his use of the dot, explaining when a chord should involve the thumb. You could get a copy and read his comprehensive "rules" but you might do better to begin by following Linda Sayce's beginner's lute lessons here:

http://www.lutesociety.org/pages/beginners

Bear in mind that composers (and publishers) often had different ways of expressing the same thing - what you read in Le Roy is good for playing Le Roy.

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geoff-bristol
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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by geoff-bristol » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:22 pm

Thanks for the link.
Yes I would like to read the composers comprehensive instructions - where do I find a copy ? Are they on the lute society links ?

ps - some interesting stuff on the lute society - I have been tempted to make on or two...maybe

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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:00 pm

geoff-bristol wrote:Yes I would like to read the composers comprehensive instructions - where do I find a copy ? Are they on the lute society links
I see that I wrote comprehensive twice - sorry, it was about 3 a.m.

Decades ago I chose to play the lute due to the poor quality of my nails. I acquired and studied many old manuals including those of Le Roy. His original instructional work (in French) is lost but luckily, in 1568, a copy was made for the English speaking market i.e.

A Briefe and easye instrution (sic) to learne the tableture to conducte and dispose thy hande unto the lute

It contains the aforementioned description within some two dozen "rules".

Not sure about links from the society pages - maybe. My first port of call is often the "Early Music Shop" at Salt's Mill, but search online. As you know, many of these documents have been digitised. There may be a freely available version within a couple of clicks.

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geoff-bristol
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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by geoff-bristol » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:24 pm

Thanks - will chase it up - I like a good obscure search ! I found the lute technique pages very useful for interpreting early notation.Will delve in there some more. We have I think a jaundiced view to this early music - not having any sound samples ! I feel it had more grit than we give it now !
I have only been playing classical for about a year or so - from scratch ( although I was a fairly proficient tradional fiddle player many yonks ago ) I don't play with nails.

Ok - found it !

Adrian Le Roy. A briefe and plaine Instruction to set all Musicke of eight divers
tunes in Tabletore for the Lute. With a briefe Instruction how to play on the
Lute by Tablature, to conduct and dispose they hand unto the Lute, with
certaine easie lessons for that purpose. And also a third Booke containing
divers new excellent tunes [...] translated into English by F. Ke. Gentelman.
London: James Rowbothome, 1574.

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A0533 ... 1?view=toc

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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by mainterm » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:01 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:00 pm
His original instructional work (in French) is lost but luckily, in 1568, a copy was made for the English speaking market i.e.

A Briefe and easye instrution (sic) to learne the tableture to conducte and dispose thy hande unto the lute
Hi Mark - I am curious about this reference. Honestly, just curious.

I did a little poking around and found a reference to the presumably lost 1551 tutor by Le Roy, however the title of this refers to the guitar, e.g. "Briefe et facile instruction pour apprendre la tabulature à bien accorder, conduir et disposer la main sur la guiterne". Is this one you are referencing above?

If so, do you know any more about the link between these texts or know of research materials that elaborate on this? The titles are the same apart from the language and reference to the lute. And in the 1568 rule-book Le Roy writes about a 5 course lute (not the 4 course guitar of the earlier Livres).

In any case the 1568 text does elaborate on how to articulate 5 note harmonies. So this can't be a literal translation of the original lost text. Maybe it is something like an updated edition?

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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:31 am

mainterm wrote:I did a little poking around and found a reference to the presumably lost 1551 tutor by Le Roy, however the title of this refers to the guitar, e.g. "Briefe et facile instruction pour apprendre la tabulature à bien accorder, conduir et disposer la main sur la guiterne". Is this one you are referencing above?
Hello Mainterm - you will probably want to follow this up further but briefly (and as far as I can recall):

Le Roy's first instructional volume went by the title:
Breve et facile instruction pour apprendre la tablature a bien accorder, conduire et disposer la main sur le cistre.
Cistre = cittern which generally had 4 courses although there also existed the "archicistre" with additional bass strings. I have never seen one of these.

Some years later came another with almost the same title except:
... disposer la main sur la Guiterne.
The guiterne (called quintern in Germany) often had five courses and one assumes that this volume was the source of the "englished" version published in 1568.

The four course guitar had been growing in popularity in France at this time, a trend which was not reflected across the channel - hence the reference to the lute in the translation although I believe that there was also an English edition for the gittern.
mainterm wrote:do you know any more about the link between these texts or know of research materials that elaborate on this?
I'm out of touch with current research - you could begin with Harvey Turnbull's, "The Guitar from the Renaissance to the Present" and there was a more recent book by Christopher page on the guitar in Tudor England. The title eludes me and I can't see it on my shelf, but search his name and you'll find it. He has also published some interesting papers on specific texts from the period.

Happy to be corrected/updated by the way - please share your findings ...

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Re: Le Roy, tab symbols

Post by mainterm » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:06 pm

Mark - thank you for the additional information!

Regards,
JK

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