prawnheed wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:28 pm
Conall wrote: ↑
Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:24 pm
It's not just a case of "more music", Prawnheed. It makes more high quality music available for guitarists. We often complain (and our instrument is often criticized that) there are not enough high quality works playable on / written for guitar. A larger range makes more of Bach & Dowland's music open to us as well as lesser composers' best pieces (Weiss etc).
I don't think the repertoire problem is due to a shortage of strings on the instrument - it already has more than a violin or cello. The challenge is that there have been very few composers who took the instrument seriously enough to write decent music specifically for it.
The possibility for me to play more transcriptions of medieval and baroque music does not excite me enough to buy and learn to play a new style of guitar.
If you don't like the idea of more than 6 strings then that's up to you and of course you are in the majority!
If you are not a fan of Baroque & Renaissance music that is also your choice though avoiding music from this period obviously means denying yourself the music of some of the world's greatest ever composers (such as Bach of course).
If you do like & play the common modern versions of (for example) Bach's "lute works" then you are already playing Baroque transcriptions / arrangements. However I would argue that these 6 string arrangements will be inferior to ones that could be made on 8 (or even 7) strings since there are plenty of examples within these modern arrangements of the lute (or more likely "lautenwerk" keyboard) works in which there are less than satisfactory bass notes transpositions (especially in the 1st 2 movements of BWV 996) or even bass lines left out altogether (eg in bar 30 of the Sarabande of BWV 997).
In contrast to you it does excite me to play (for example) Bach's cello suites in their original keys & pitch instead of many of the frankly poor modern guitar transcriptions. I found that if I tune the low E 6th to C and the A 5th to G I can play the suites from the bass clef cello music directly on a 6 string guitar. In fact in doing so I have at my disposal 3 of the cello's open strings (C,G,D) and so can play the third (C major) and fifth suites (C minor) in a more faithful & effective way than a 6 string guitar tuned normally. I can even play all the internal open string pedal notes in the original scores. I have also experimented with tuning the 2nd string down to A - to gain the cello's 1st open string - and used this tuning (C,G,D,G,A,E or D) to play the famous first suite in it's original G major. The open A 2nd string allows one of the pedal passages at the end of the prelude. Needless to say these tunings make the guitar very resonant when playing in C major & minor particularly but also they mimic the resonances of the cello. The only problem I have with tuning down to low C is that the 6th string is too loose & suffers somewhat being a step down too far. This is one major reason why I'd like a 7th or 8th string pitched to C. Ideally I'd learn the cello but I'm too old to start that now and of course we guitarists have one advantage over the cello in that we can play the chords more cleanly or as block chords.
Re: "why not just play harp or harp guitar then?"....I've already answered that. 8 (or 7) string guitars where the 7th & 8th are fretable & the neck is only a bit wider than on a 6 string (& the guitar stronger but similar in design to a 6 string) are not that major a departure from a 6 string (I'm not talking about Galbraith's fan-fretted "Brahms guitar" - an altogether different proposition). But 10-15 strings where most extra lower strings are played open need a very wide right hand span which I dislike (as I discovered playing the Baroque lute) and the character of this type of guitar is too close to the harp which I like a lot less than a 6-8 string (fretable) guitar.
Re: "seriously objecting to Weiss being a lesser composer" - sorry Weiss fans - I do like his music a lot but you won't find many musicians putting Weiss in the same league as Bach, Handel, Vivaldi & others of the late Baroque. Dowland is regarded with justification as being one of the greatest Renaissance lute composers. But I guess some subjectivity / personal taste comes in to all that.
Thank you all for your contributions - I'm enjoying the debate!