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}uan Sixto
Septembei 26, 2u12
Fiet-boaiu Liteiatuie
Piofessoi ueoige Englanu
!"# %&' () !&*+,-&./.+0
uuitaiists as well as ciitics have maue the claim that the guitai has been
hoveiing ovei a small pickle these uays, in teims of iepeitoiy. In othei woius, the
guitai's iepeitoiie seems to be lacking substance. The Latin Ameiican pieces as well
as the Spanish Romantic woiks that Anuies Segovia useu to constiuct anu eiect his
unuisputeu anu unueniable illustiious guitai caieei iemain, to this uay, the guitai's
coie essential liteiatuie. But, as a giowing amount of guitaiists anu enthusiasts
might opinionate, that music is getting "playeu out". The iepeitoiy has been iinseu,
scioungeu, anu squeezeu uiy like a sponge. Even Allan Kozinn, a music ciitic foi The
New Yoik Times, in an aiticle titleu !"#$%&'( # *+, -+.+$%/$0 1/$ 23&%#$ wiitten anu
publisheu in Naich of 2uu9, agiees that "foi many young playeis (anu listeneis)
those woiks aie weaiing thin".
As a young blossoming guitaiist full of piomise, confiuence anu an attituue
like I can bench-piess the woilu, I wonuei about the ioau that I have to puisue in
oiuei to ievitalize anu biing back an inteiest to the classical guitai in people. I think
this has always been the ponueiing topic of many gieat guitaiist of oui time. Foi
example, }ulian Bieam took on a peisonal "policy", as music ciitic Allan Kozinn puts
it, of "commissioning woiks fiom mainstieam composeis". 0ut of this iole we got
new pieces ueseiving of piaise such as Benjamin Biitten's */4%3$'#5, a set of
vaiiations on }ohn Bowlanu's !/6+ 7+#80 95++., composeu foi Bieam in 196S. I
shoulu also make mention that uuiing the height of his caieei Bieam giew a fonu
aumiiation anu fascination to the ienaissance lute. Then theie is }ohn Williams, the
ievolutionaiy, the impeccable anu immaculate guitaiist, who having maue
iecoiuings since 19S8, manageu to shieu thiough most of the stanuaiu woiks by the
198us, (Allan Kozinn). I iefei to him as the ievolutionaiy foi having the auuacity to
tiansfoim himself by collaboiating with othei musicians anu iecoiuing albums in
music genies such as jazz anu iock. But what caught my inteiest the most is that,
besiues having tackleu the stanuaiu iepeitoiie anu playing in film sounutiacks, he
"almost single-hanueuly ieviveu the quiikily sublime music of the foigotten
Paiaguayan guitaiist-composei Agustin Baiiios" (Kozinn).
What seems to be an unueilying, almost unpeiceivable, similaiity between
the above mentioneu guitaiists is that they ieacheu back in time to salvage long
foigotten "oluies but goouies", hits, gem woiks of past composeis. Baivey Tuinbull,
in his book appiopiiately titleu "The uuitai fiom the Renaissance to the Piesent
Bay", ieminus us of anothei instance of a composei giving homage anu taking
inteiest in the past, }oaquin Rouiigo. Baivey Tuinbull points out that "9#$#:#';#
<+=#'#> oiiginally foi stiings, is ueuicateu to the vihuela of Luis Nilan" (Tuinbull, pg.
114). In 19S4, }oaquin Rouiigo wiote his seconu woik foi guitai anu oichestia,
?#'%#@&# .#$# 3' 2+'%&5"/6:$+, woiking with themes fiom compositions of uaspai
Sanz, a baioque guitaiist anu composei of the late 17
centuiy, anu ueuicating it to
Anuies Segovia (Tuinbull, pg. 11S).
Accoiuing to Baivey Tuinbull, Fiancisco Taiiega, in oiuei to auuiess the
pioblem of a limiteu guitai iepeitoiy uuiing the Romantic peiiou, took on the task
of aiianging anu tiansciibing woiks of 19
centuiy composeis such as Isaac
Albeniz, a piano composei (Tuinbull, pg. 1u9). Anuies, the giant, the goliath anu
supeiman Segovia "continueu his pieceuent by uelving into the music of eailiei
masteis". Anuies Segovia accomplisheu gieat success with his aiiangement anu
peifoimance of the !"#4/''+ fiom the 9+4/'; A#$%&%# &' B C&'/$ foi violin by }ohann
Sebastian Bach (Tuinbull, pg. 1u9). Nuch of Bach's music, incluuing Suites foi the
lute as well as music foi violin anu cello, has helpeu the guitai's jouiney foi
piominent status.
It is moie anu moie eviuent to me that many gieat guitaiist anu composeis
alike have, time anu again, uiawn inspiiation fiom the past masteis, whethei it be to
cieate an oiiginal composition oi to auu to theii iepeitoiie. Feinanuo Toiibio veia,
in his uoctoial uisseitation foi the 0niveisity of Noith Texas titleu "Selecteu
Baipsichoiu Sonatas by Antonio Solei: Analysis anu Tiansciiption foi Classical
uuitai Buo", suggests that, "uue to the limiteu iepeitoiie foi the guitai fiom the
Baioque peiiou, classical guitaiists who wish to peifoim music fiom this eia have to
woik piimaiily with tiansciiptions". uuitaiists, in theii enueavoi to extenu the
iepeitoiie, have gatheieu mateiial fiom vaiious souices such as vocal anu
instiumental music foi the five-couise guitai, lute anu haipsichoiu (Toiibio, pg. S).
Feinanuo Toiibio goes on to asseit that, out of these souices, the iepeitoiie
belonging to the haipsichoiu is most fiequently aiiangeu foi guitai because "its
textuies aie gieatly similai to those of the guitai". Being this coiiect, it woulu
explain anu suppoit the fact that Baioque haipsichoiu music of composeis such as
Bomenico Scailatti, }ohann Sebatian Bach, Fiancois Coupeiin, }ean-Philippe
Rameau, anu Antonio Solei has founu a nestling ciaule within the six stiings of the
classical guitai. Ny objective is to give an oveiview of the ait anu piactice of
tiansciibing woiks by composeis of the Spanish Baioque peiiou.
As Neil B. Pennington, in a book titleu "The Spanish Baioque uuitai: with a
Tiansciiption of Be Nuicia's Passacalles y obias volume 1", uefines it, "tiansciiption
is the piocess of tiansfeiiing a composition fiom the meuium foi which it was
oiiginally intenueu to anothei". The neeu anu willingness to mouify, aiiange, oi
tiansciibe oiiginal music has always existeu, but often we aie challengeu by
limitations anu constiaints of the guitai. When consiueiing music suitable foi
tiansciiption, it is a noimal, healthy, anu a iational iuea to, foiemost, make an
impaitial evaluation as to whethei oi not the mateiial in question is possible to play
on the guitai. Richaiu Yates, a foimei contiibutoi to the uuitai Founuation of
Ameiica's (uFA) magazine 9/3';:/#$;, in the wintei 1998 issue of the seiies of
aiticles titleu "The Tiansciibei's Ait", makes the claim "An objective assessment of
|the guitai'sj limitations. is necessaiy in piouucing useful musical tiansciiptions".
A biief obseivation of the guitai will infoim us of its naiiow pitch iange, when
compaieu with keyboaiu instiuments. The guitai can, iiiefutably, be teaseu,
taunteu anu accuseu of having a weak uynamic iange. Its agility foi contiapuntal
passages is ielatively mouest (Yates, pg. S9). 0n the guitai, accoiuing to Richaiu
Yates, theie aie numeious combinations of notes that "cannot be playeu because
they aie eithei too close togethei oi too fai apait". 0ui instiument is, in a lot of
instances, subjecteu to faking anu meiely implying connecteu melouy notes uue to
not being able to sustain notes, says Yates.
A common obstacle encounteieu when tiansciibing woiks to the guitai, as
Richaiu Yates claims, is long sweeping scales thiough moie octaves than we have
available. The most common solution, yet the woist solution, woulu be to suuuenly
jump up an octave anu then continue the scale iun. Although it is coiiect to assume
that such scale passage shoulu be choppeu up, theie aie bettei solutions that will
evaue the jolting effect achieveu by impulsive octave leaps. The fiist choie, in oiuei
to ueciease the numbei of such pioblems, is to choose a suitable key. A key that will
make use of the full iange of the guitai is most uesiiable (Yates, pg. 28). Anothei
pioblem often encounteieu is the piesence of "pianistic uevices" such as aipeggios
in paiallel octaves. Accoiuing to Yates, the solution is cleai as mountain spiing
watei, "once we ielax any slavish fiuelity to the oiiginal" (Yates, pg. 42). The
solution woulu be to omit any unnecessaiy notes, off-beats most often, leaving a
compiehensively iuiomatic guitai textuie (Yates, pg. 42). A complication often
confionteu with is when a phiase is iepeateu, except that the seconu time it is
placeu an octave highei anu it lanus within the iealm of nevei ieaching fiets.
Richaiu yates says that the obvious solution is to iepeat the phiase without the
octave tiansposition. But, he also goes on to mention that the best appioach woulu
be to ueteimine the puipose of this octave tiansposition. Boes the haimony change
unueineath the phiase oi uoes it iemain the same. If the melouy is tosseu up an
octave with the haimony iemaining the same, then the best solution woulu be the
above mentioneu.
Bomenico Scailatti was a haipsichoiuist anu composei of the "late" Baioque
peiiou (168u-172u). Be is most ienowneu foi his immense numbei of composeu,
single movement, sonatas encompassing a wiue scope of chaiactei anu emotion.
Accoiuing to Robeito Pagano, a biogiaphei foi the DE1/$; C3@&4 D'5&'+ website,
Bomenico Scailatti was boin in Naples, Italy in 0ctobei of 168S. At the age of S6,
Scailatti was appointeu, among othei uuties, the position of instiuctoi anu teachei
to the Piincess Naiia Baibaia in the Poituguese couit in Lisbon. }ane Claik, an
authoi foi the F9GD-> an online aichive foi acauemic jouinals, makes the claim in a
jouinal entiy titleu "H#$50 C3@&4" that Scailatti uevoteu the fiist half of his life
wiiting "chuich music anu opeias. most of which has been lost anu what iemains is
unmemoiable "(Claik, pg. 19). It is believeu that Scailatti began wiiting his
haipsichoiu Sonatas when Piincess Naiia Baibaia, his pupil, maiiieu the futuie
King of Spain in 1729 anu moveu to Seville, Spain. Buiing the fiist foui yeais of his
life in Spain, "the Spanish couit tiaveleu aiounu the cities of Anualucia"(Claik, pg.
19), wheie Scailatti was exposeu to the folkloiic music in the stieets of Seville,
Cauiz, anu uianaua. Theie aie notable similaiities between the Sonatas anu the
Anualucian musical genies such as 15#6+'4/> :35+$&#, anu @#+%# (Claik, pg. 2u). In
the 2u
centuiy, Anuies Segovia was one of the fiist to iecognize that many of the
SSS Scailatti haipsichoiu Sonatas woulu woik foi the guitai. Thus, taking upon the
task of tiansciibing anu aiianging a few of the haipsichoiu Sonatas foi the classical
guitai. Some musical aiianging hau to be employeu to accommouate the woik into
the iange of the guitai fiet boaiu. Some of the aujustments have been tiansposition,
iaising bass notes, anu thinning out haimonies (Caluua, ulenn).
Scailatti's Sonata in E majoi K.S8u is one that is well known to both
keyboaiuist anu guitaiist having been peifoimeu anu iecoiueu by gieat pianist such
as vlauimii Boiowitz anu guitaiists such as }ohn Williams. Taking into account that
the textuies in haipsichoiu compositions aie similai to those of the guitai we finu
veiy little uisciepancies oi inconveniences when tiansciibing the oiiginal foi guitai,
but a few that aie woith pointing out. Fiist of all, I notice that, when compaieu to
the oiiginal, the tiansciiption pieseives the beginning phiase staiting with a uotteu
sixteenth-note B iight above the staff just as the oiiginal places it, not
accommouating foi the fact that the guitai sounus an octave lowei than what it's
wiitten. If this uiffeience weie to be auuiesseu anu uealt with, it woulu place the
staiting melouy at the 19
fiet of the guitai, a veiy uncomfoitable position to be in.
At measuies 6 anu 8 the tiansciiption has omitteu the F# playing ovei the tiills on
beats 2 anu S founu on the oiiginal. This omitteu F# is impossible to execute while
playing tiills ovei a bass note anu because the tiill is on an F#, anothei F# is not
Antonio Solei Ramos was a cleigyman known in Catalan as "pauie".
Accoiuing to Wenuy Thompson, in hei aiticle entiy to the DE1/$; C3@&4 D'5&'+
website titleu "Solei (Ramos), Antonio (Fiancisco }aviei }ose)", Antonio Solei
showeu piomise as a stuuent at the Nontseiiat choii school anu was "appointeu
6#+@%$/ ;+ 4#.&55# at Léiiua when he was about Su". In 17S2 he became a monk at
the monasteiy of the Escoiial, anu was latei aumitteu to holy oiueis (Thompson).
Be spent the iest of his life in the monasteiy, as 6#+@%$/, oiganist, anu a teachei.
Thompson claims that Bomenico Scailatti's influenceu Antonio Solei anu "is
appaient in the 12u oi so keyboaiu sonatas foi which he is best known". Antonio
Solei also wiote sacieu vocal music, uiamatic woiks, conceitos foi two oigans, anu
quintets foi stiings anu oigan.
In the past seveial uecaues, guitaiists such as Eliot Fisk have taken an
inteiest in the compositions by Antonio "pauie" Solei. The twentieth centuiy
classical guitai uuo of Evangelos Assimakopoulos anu Lisa Zoe has tiansciibeu his
woiks, specifically Solei's "Fanuango" (Toiibio, pg. S). Pauie Solie's "fanuango" is a
composition wiitten foi keyboaiu. Feinanuo Tiiibio claims that it "obviously
imitates the sounus of the guitai" anu thus he aigues that a tiansciiption foi guitais
"woulu biing the woik back to its oiiginal sounus anu colois".
Feinanuo Toiibio, in his uoctoial uisseitation, gives us an oveiview of the
piocess of tiansciibing Antonio Solei's "Fanuango". Toiibio aigues that, at times the
guitai sounus weak, instances like this foices the tiansciibei to analyze anu
ueteimine the intention of the composei so as to aiiange the music piopeily by
ieuucing oi auuing notes to the haimony. In this piece, we finu ouiselves in a
situation like the one mentioneu by Richaiu Yates; the ihythmic melouy consists of
paiallel octaves foi an extenueu peiiou of time. Toiibio's solution is to aujust the
line to cieate fluent passage by omitting the bottom octave. When confionteu with a
ihythmic obstacle, which Toiibio ueems "too uifficult to ieplicate foi guitai uuo", he
accommouates by excluuing iests anu making the uppei voice a much smothei
aipeggio that facilitates ensemble paying.
uuitaiists as eaily as Fiancisco Taiiega, in theii stiuggle to extenu the
iepeitoiie, have gatheieu mateiial anu inspiiation fiom music befoie them. uieat
masteis as Anuies Segovia have aiueu the help of eaily by tiansciibing it anu
implementing it to the iepeitoiy of the mouein guitai in oiuei to champion the
instiument anu iaise its status. Tiansciibing is not anu easy task taking into
account the uiffeiences between instiuments anu acknowleuging the limitations of
oui instiument. Limitations such as a naiiow pitch iange, a weak uynamic iange
anu iestiicteu ability foi contiapuntal passages. Foitunately, theie aie
compositions foi ceitain instiuments that tiansfei ovei to the guitai without
colossal obstacles. The haipsichoiu's iepeitoiie is the most fiequently aiiangeu foi
guitai uue to gieat similaiity in textuies between the instiuments. Baioque
haipsichoiu music of composeis such as Bomenico Scailatti, }ohann Sebatian Bach,
anu Antonio Solei has founu a welcoming home within the six stiings of the guitai.


1(&2, 3.'#4

Claik, }ane. "Bomenico Scailatti anu Spanish Folk Nusic: A Peifoimei's Re-
Appiaisal." H#$50 C3@&4, 4.1 (1976): 19-21.

Caluua, ulenn. "Nusic Review: "8 Sonatas," by Bomenico Scailetti anu
Raymonu Builey." Ameiican Nusic Teachei 1998: 9S-. Inteinational Inuex to Nusic
Peiiouicals Full Text. PR0Q0ESTNS. 26 Sep. 2u12 .

Kozinn, Allan. "Chaiting a New Repeitoiy foi uuitai". The New Yoik Times.
|New Yoikj Naich 27, 2uu9 Fiiuay, Section C; Column u.

Pennington, Neil B. The Spanish baioque guitai, with a tiansciiption of Be
Nuicia's Passacalles y obias. Ann Aiboi : 0NI Reseaich Piess, c1981.

Robeito Pagano, et al. "Scailatti." 2$/8+ C3@&4 D'5&'+. DE1/$; C3@&4 D'5&'+. 26
Sep. 2u12

The Spanish Baioque uuitai anu Seventeenth-Centuiy Tiiauic Theoiy
Thomas Chiistensen
F/3$'#5 /1 C3@&4 G"+/$0 , vol. S6, No. 1 (Spiing, 1992), pp. 1-42

Thompson, Wenuy. "Solei (Ramos), Antonio (Fiancisco }aviei }osé)." G"+
DE1/$; !/6.#'&/' %/ C3@&4. Eu. Alison Latham. DE1/$; C3@&4 D'5&'+. 0xfoiu
0niveisity Piess. Web. S Nov. 2u12.

Tuinbull, Baivey. G"+ 23&%#$ 1$/6 %"+ -+'#&@@#'4+ %/ %"+ A$+@+'% B#0.
Westpoit, Connecticut: The Bolu Stiummei, 1991. 62-84. Piint.
veia, Feinanu Toiibio. 9+5+4%+; 7#$.@&4"/$; 9/'#%#@ :0 I'%/'&/ 9/5+$J
I'#50@&@ #'; G$#'@4$&.%&/' 1/$ !5#@@&4#5 23&%#$ B3/K. Benton, Texas. 0NT Bigital
Libiaiy. http:¡¡uigital.libiaiy.unt.euu¡aik:¡67SS1¡metauc9727¡. Accesseu
Novembei S, 2u12.

Yates, Richaiu. "The Tiansciibei's Ait." 9/3';:/#$; wintei 1998: pg. S9-42