Renaissance Duets for Guitar
23 duets from Medieval and Renaissance times
perfect for student and teacher, these duets are arranged in progressive difficulty of rhythm, clefs and position; includes music of Josquin, Machaut, Landini, Powers, Vasquez, de la Rue and more
SPECIAL OFFER: Order two copies of the PDF and we will send a PDF to your partner.
Published: July, 2013
Duration: 28 pages
Difficulty level: Easy to Moderate; mostly single notes ; various clefs
Instrumentation: guitar I, guitar II
Preview: a sample PDF of Renaissance duets for guitar
These duets were gathered over many decades of experience and from many sources from the 12th-16th centuries. They come from a time when the human voice reigned supreme in the musical world and all possess dynamic rhythm and lyrical melodic line. As you will see, most are for equal voices with a relatively small range, so they lend themselves perfectly to two guitars.
I present them to be used for various purposes: sight-reading, learning new clefs, history lessons, ensemble skills, learning the fingerboard. For the latter purpose, I have indicated at the beginning of each piece the positions which might be appropriate, including alternative positions on the fingerboard and reading up one octave, a valuable skill. When not indicated, assume 1st or 2nd position.
CLEFS: guitar music is notated one octave lower than it sounds. Gyre Editions always use an 8 under the treble clef to confirm this custom. Fenice Fu, at the end of the book, deletes the 8vb so that for the piece to sound properly, you must read up one octave from what you are accustomed to. Bass clef is included on several pieces as i consider it an essential skill.
TEMPO: Tempo is an unknown in very early music. Tempos given are suggestions only, but do come from familiarity with the words and performance experience.
SLURS: add slurs as you see fit to express a lyrical line. There is no historical information on this subject in these early time periods, nor is it our purpose here to re-create authentic historical performance. We do know that plucked instruments from this time were probably always played with plectra and most had gut strings – steel or bronze was not yet developed.
HEMIOLA: the alternating division of 6 beats from 3 groups of 2 to 2 groups of 3, sometimes done in melodic succession, sometimes simultaneously in multiple voices/parts or irregularly overlapping as in Mano a Mano (see #16m page 17, measure 3-4). Characteristic of Spanish Renaissance and Baroque music, as well as certain flamenco styles, the hemiola adds drive and excitement. Exercises are included to help young musicians practice feeling the accents going against each other by themselves, before joining a duo partner. I have found that there is a “catch-22” in hearing and playing music: one cannot play what one cannot hear; but one cannot hear what one cannot play! So even when you are playing these pieces as duets with a friend or teacher, you will hear the rise and fall of the other part better if you have learned to execute these exercises. There are innumerable places in solo repertoire where these techniques add grace, clarity and excitement as well as new timbral palettes.
Copyright ©2013 Frank A. Wallace
Cover photography and design by Nancy Knowles
All rights reserved.