Music for Guitar Vol II Including Ancient Music from Ireland and Scotland
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"Renaissance Music for Guitar Vol II"
contains 32 pieces
Cantiga - Anon/Allan There are over 400 of these songs written in
praise of Mary in a book put together by king Alphonso X of Castile.
This is a perfect example of a tune that sounds more complex than it
is. The open basses make it easier.
- Almain - Richard Allison/Allan The music notes from this piece
are straight from the tablature. I have not changed a thing. Even
though the lute is tuned slightly differently, this piece translates
very well. Of course the lute is tuned a minor third higher than the
guitar, so if you really want to hear this piece, or any in the book,
at the right pitch, simply put a capo on the third fret of the guitar.
- Come With Me My Giselle - Adam de la Halle/Allan I love this
little troubadour song so much that I wrote a variation for it. This
piece was written back in the 13th century. It's really wonderful to
bring music like this alive again. Just think, people seven hundred
years ago heard this melody.
- Douce Dame Jolie - Guillaume de Machaut/Allan The syncopation
will be the first thing you will notice in this dance. It may take a
little time to get the feel of it, but then it's a lot of fun to
play. The variations that I wrote for it maintain the syncopation and
make the piece a better length for performance.
- Benjamin's Song - Allan I am amazed at this little tune; I keep
expecting to get tired of it, but I keep having fun with it. It's not
too hard to play, and it also gives a nice introduction into playing
in higher positions if you are learning them now. If you are an
intermediate player, this tune should be easy.
- The Gypsy's Lilt - Anon/Allan Music from the Renaissance can be
quite surprising. This tune is note for note from a Scottish lute
book. The dissonance in the piece is slightly disturbing at first,
but then, once it becomes familiar, it's very appealing. There is no
doubt of the notes, as there are two versions in the book, and they
both have the dissonance. It's a beautiful and melancholy piece.
- Cast a Bell - Playford/Allan This piece is from "The Dancing
Master" by John Playford - at least the first eight measures
are. The rest of the measures are filled with variations that I wrote
for the tune. It's an appealing melody. The Playford books were
published slightly later than the Renaissance, but many of the pieces
in them are melodies that date back to the 16th century and earlier.
- Blind Mary - Turlough Carolan/Allan Turlough Carolan also lived
in the Baroque period (when the Playford books were published), and
perhaps he heard many of the dances in that book. Many of his tunes
sound like they were written in the Renaissance, and I thought it
would be fun to include this moving piece.
- Indescribable Beauty - Anon/Allan This is a very beautiful piece
from an Italian manuscript. The actual manuscript was lost, but Oscar
Chilesotti transcribed the tablature into notation and put the pieces
into a collection, which saved them. Other versions of this
particular piece do exist for the lute.
- Lady Cassille's Lilt - Skene/Allan The Skene Manuscript is a huge
source of early music from Scotland. It contains music for both lute
and mandora. This is a lovely, haunting piece. I wrote the variation
for the second half. It should be accessible to beginners.
- The English Hunts Up - Thomas Whitfield/Allan This lively little
tune is a great addition to any repertoire. It has some nice
syncopations. I don't remember hearing any other piece from the
Renaissance that sounds quite like this one.
- Ich Klag den Tag - Hans Neusidler/Allan This is a fairly easy,
but powerful tune. It has a simplicity that can be found in many
Renaissance tunes, and at the same time, it has some very nice
surprises in the phrasing. This piece stands up very well in a
concert or a recording.
- Italiana - Anon/Allan This is another tune found in the
Chilesotti book. It's easy in the sense that most of the basses are
open, but it goes rather quickly, so it does take some time to learn.
Because the basses repeat all through the piece, you want to make
sure not to play them too loudly. If you do, they could become
annoying to a listener.
- Kalenda Maya - Raimbaut de Vaqueiras/Allan The "Calends of
May" is the first of May, or May Day. In Medieval times it was a
favorite holiday, filled with flowers, ribbons, and dancing. In
Raimbaut's poem "Kalenda Maya" he tells us that none of the
beauty of May Day can move him until the lady he loves looks on him
also with love. - This description thanks to Jessica
- The Maid's in Constrite - Anon/Allan It was a common practice to
do variations on melodies in the Renaissance, but in many of the lute
pieces, the variations no longer exist. In this case, someone wrote
some of them down. The first eight measures are the piece, and the
rest of them are the variations.
- Out in the Meadowe - Anon/Allan I love this tune and have done a
few different versions of it. I like this one the best; it's
haunting, and the variation gives another dimension to it. It really
has an aura all its own. This music has a very ancient feeling.
- Guardame las Vacas - Luys de Naravaez/Allan I tend to look for
material that has not been published to use for my books, but
sometimes there are tunes that are just so good that I want to
include them. I used a well-known Mudarra Fantasia with some
reluctance in the first Renaissance book, and did get some feedback
on it which really made me glad that I did. The person had heard it
before, and may have had the music, but he was used to hearing it
played quickly. He found the slower version that I play to be much
more to his liking, and the tune then also became playable for him.
Guardame las Vacas is just a great tune. There is nothing else quite
like it in the Renaissance. The title means "Guard My Cows."
- Medieval Dance - Thomas Arbeau/Allan This piece works well when
coupled with the Medieval Dance in the first "Renaissance Music
for Guitar" book available from ADG. It can stand on its own
though, and the variations are fun and a good way to get used to
playing some of the notes in higher positions.
- Medieval Song No. 1 - Colin Muset/Allan This song has a very nice
feel to it. The melody is so simple that it is easy to overlook how
wonderful this piece is. To think that the melody is from the 13th
century and has lasted this long makes me dizzy.
- Villancico - Luys Milan/Allan Many people know the pavans or
perhaps the fantasias that Milan wrote. This piece is less familiar,
and I have not seen it in a book for guitar. It's short but has a
sound all its own.
- Tarleton's Resurrection - John Dowland/Allan Dowland was probably
the most prolific composer for the lute in the Renaissance. In
addition to all of his solos, he wrote many collections of songs for
lute and voice. Much of his music was published in the Renaissance.
He traveled extensively and was well known as both a composer and performer.
- Medieval Song No. 2 - Edi beo Thu Hevene Quene - Anon/Allan The
gentle rocking of this melody reminds me of night. The title means,
"Blessed be You, Queen of Heaven," and the rest of the
words are dreamy. My favorite line is, "My Lady, bring us to
your bower". - This description thanks to Jessica
- Allemande - Hermann Schein/Allan I love the music of Hermann
Schein. The things I have seen have been for an ensemble of five
melody instruments. I found this tune so attractive that I had to
make arrangements of it for both guitar and lute. The second section
is a variation that I wrote for it. When you have a chance, go to the
early music section of a large record store and see if you can find
some recordings with his music. You won't be disappointed.
- Medieval Song No. 3 - Allan Often I will write something because
there is a particular type of piece that I really like the sound of,
and I can't find another. The other two Medieval Songs on this CD
were very appealing to me, and that was the inspiration for writing
this piece. I wrote it for my lovely wife. Again, I was looking for
the Magic. Because I wrote this tune on the lute, it is much easier
to play with the third string of the guitar tuned down to the F#. If
it's difficult to read the notation, please just make the adjustment
in tuning and read the tablature.
- Untitled - Anon/Allan Only the first twelve measures in this tune
are the original; the rest are filled with variations that I wrote. I
hear this as a melancholy tune, and I find the entire piece and the
variations very dreamy. Of course there are no tempo markings on any
of the old lute pieces, and the way they are played is entirely up to
- My Heart is Entrusted to You - Orlando de Lasso/Allan It is
surprising to me that a tune with a sound like this is from the
Renaissance, but then that is what I like about that period. It
continually surprises me. This is a very sweet piece and not too
difficult to play for an intermediate player.
- Song of the Ass - Anon/Allan/Jessica This tune has changed a bit
since Medieval times. It is now usually played in a 3/4 meter. I am
playing the old version, in 4/4, but the notes are the same. You may
know it as "The Friendly Beasts". I prefer it this way -
This description thanks to Jessica
- A Winter's Ronde - Allan Many of these pieces started out as lute
solos, and this one is no different. I did write it, but it was
written on the lute. It is special to me, because it's the first
piece with this particular sound that I created. This was the piece
that gave birth to other pieces, such as "The Ronde for
Spring" and "The Child's Ronde."
- Passo Mezzo di Diomedes - Diomedes/Allan This literally means
Passo Mezzo by Diomedes. He wrote many pieces for the lute. Often,
there will be several versions of a piece that have survived. This
one was from a collection by Chilesotti.
- Pavane - Allan The rhythm is the trickiest part of this because
it's quite syncopated. But other than that, it should be playable by
a beginner. It doesn't go too quickly, and I find it enjoyable to play.
- Alman - Robert Johnson/Allan Robert Johnson was a well-known
lutenist in the Renaissance. He was not nearly as prolific as John
Dowland, but he did write some beautiful pieces. This is not too hard
to play, and with it you can make sweet music.
- The Wildflower - Allan This is the last piece that I wrote in
1999, and I wrote it for my musical partner and friend Jessica Walsh.
She liked it right from the beginning and encouraged me to complete
it. This is one of those magical pieces for me that I just can't stop
playing. I don't know where it came from. I just know that I waited
and waited, and then the piece mostly just wrote itself, nudging me
where it wanted to go.
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Presented in both Tablature and Music Notation
The music is presented in both music notation and guitar TAB (for
people that do not read music). The music notation is clear and
crisp. It contains complete clear fingerings for the guitar. These
will help you to learn the tunes quickly whether you depend on the
tablature or the music.
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Comes With a Compact Disc of the Pieces Performed
by Allan Alexander
The CD, played by Allan Alexander, gives the musician the advantage
of being able to hear how these songs can be played and will make the
learning process easier. This is a high quality Digital recording
(DDD). In addition to helping the player become familiar with the
music, it will also be a source of listening pleasure. The CD is
almost 70 minutes in length.
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A High Quality Collection of Music The
Renaissance and Medieval Times including Ancient Music from
Ireland and Scotland.
It took me a long time to figure it out... exactly what it was in
music that attracted me. It appeared to have nothing to do with the
complexity, the tempo, the period or the country of origin. There was
an indefinable essence that made me want to come back and play it or
hear it again. These were the tunes that I would play until my hand
was sore, these were the tracks on an album that I would play over
and over again and then go searching for the music so I could play it
too. There were certain periods that attracted me more than others,
and I found the music of some countries very appealing... but then
something would come out of the blue and blow me away. The piece was
simple and fit none of my accumulated criteria, but it was great. And
that is when I figured it out. It was magic. That's what was in the
music that I loved. I started to look for it. It didn't matter if the
music was easy or difficult, complex or simple, as long as it had the
magic. The Renaissance was a very good source. I remember seeing
Julian Bream in concert and hearing his recordings. I was stunned to
find how simple some of the beautiful lute pieces were.
In Renaissance music I found many dances, fantasias, and songs that
had the magic. The majority of them were easier than most of the
guitar pieces I was familiar with. Maybe that is because, in the
Renaissance, the people who played the instruments wrote the tunes
for them... or maybe it was because they were just looking for the
magic too. In any event, it's interesting that you rarely find a lute
piece that was not written by a lutenist.
Sometimes I would have periods when I couldn't find a tune... then I
would try and write one. Every once in a while, I felt I nailed it.
Then I suddenly would have another piece that I could play over and
over again. It never occurred to me that others would like my pieces
too, but I discovered that they did... and eventually I figured out a
simple but telling "Magic Test" for a tune. If I have to
ask myself if the magic is there... it's not.
The last tune in this book is a free bonus; it's not
"Renaissance", but it's loaded with magic. It's one of
mine, and I really love it. It's a little more difficult than most of
the tunes in this book, but it lays well on the fingerboard.
There are 65 minutes of music on the CD and 32 pieces in the book.
This book is perfect to take on gigs or just to play for yourself.
The music is great. The CD will give you insights into the music, and
it will be enjoyable to listen to on its own merit.
Book $15.95 Book/CD $22.95
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