French flat tuning

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Nephthysalis
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French flat tuning

Post by Nephthysalis » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:19 pm

Greetings,

Does anyone have any knowledge about French flat tuning for the baroque lute?

I am currently reading Thomas Mace's Musicks Monument and that is his preferred tuning. All the exercises in this literatures (as far as I know) are in this tuning.

On the scan of the book there seems to be a pencilled in of the notes but I am unsure of its accuracy ( G E C A E 'G?)

I want to go through all his exercises and preludes and pieces in the book. It's the best literature on baroque lute yet.

Picture for reference

Https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Vh1TBs ... p=drivesdk


This is such a fascinating read. He really does go incredibly in depth about lutes and their play, and then some. He teaches to rest the little finger behind the bridge, near the trebles. Which obviously coincides with a huge amount of art work from the baroque period.

Why does nobody play like that now? Is is just a sign of the times and a preferred timbre or is there some sort of physical limitation due to contemporary lute or string construction/tensions?

Thanks everyone
Last edited by Nephthysalis on Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Nephthysalis
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Location: Jersey Channel Islands

Re: French flat tuning

Post by Nephthysalis » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:20 pm

Oops. Double post.

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Nephthysalis
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Re: French flat tuning

Post by Nephthysalis » Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:29 pm

Okay, so I found a hundred Pages on that, Maestro Mace, in his infinite wisdom, actually includes a table on how to translate (transcribe?) his lessons and everything else from 'Flatt' tuning into, what I assume (perhaps incorrectly) is our current baroque d minor tuning. He calls it 'The new tuning' of which the French flatt is the second to last 'new' tuning.... Or perhaps its another tuning. I'll have to verify this... Reading on.

Still would appreciate whoever can help me what exactly the flatt tuning is.

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pogmoor
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Re: French flat tuning

Post by pogmoor » Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:44 pm

Nephthysalis wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:19 pm
On the scan of the book there seems to be a pencilled in of the notes but I am unsure of its accuracy ( G E C A E 'G?)
I think the assumed pitch of the first course is E flat, and the other courses would then be C, A flat, F, C, G (with 1st course G it would be: G E C A E B). The 7th course is a tone below the 6th, ie F and the 8th to 12th courses (if you have them) usually descend E flat, D flat, C, B flat, A flat.

In 'Sett 8' Mace used the tuning F D A F D A G F E D C A (which is essentially what we now know as baroque tuning - though course 12 is more often B)

I collaborated with James Smith on the UK Lute Society's edition of the lute music from Musicks Monument, so I had to get reasonably familiar with French Flat!
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

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Nephthysalis
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:18 pm
Location: Jersey Channel Islands

Re: French flat tuning

Post by Nephthysalis » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:45 pm

pogmoor wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:44 pm
I think the assumed pitch of the first course is E flat, and the other courses would then be C, A flat, F, C, G (with 1st course G it would be: G E C A E B). The 7th course is a tone below the 6th, ie F and the 8th to 12th courses (if you have them) usually descend E flat, D flat, C, B flat, A flat.
Okay, I was just reading the pencilled in. (perhaps it was a previous owner of the book) . I don't know enough about music theory yet to understand this so you are a life saver! I wanted to work from Mace's exercises without converting it on paper.

So, from the first six course up its: E flat, C, A flat, F, C, G and then the basses F, E flat, D flat, C, B flat, A flat.... And then 13th (on my lute) I'll just ignore for the time being.

I'm guessing I can get away with just down tuning my lute. Not sure how that will feel tension wise but I'm sure it will be fine.


I collaborated with James Smith on the UK Lute Society's edition of the lute music from Musicks Monument, so I had to get reasonably familiar with French Flat!
Ahh Well then, the perfect person for the job! Thank you.

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