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Guidelines for Transcribing Baroque Lute Music for the Modern

Guitar, Using Silvius Leopold Weiss's Sonata

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text; Electronic Dissertation

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Serrano Munoz, Jaime Renato

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The University of Arizona.

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GUIDELINES FOR TRANSCRIBING BAROQUE LUTE MUSIC FOR THE MODERN


GUITAR, USING SILVIUS LEOPOLD WEISSS SONATA 36 (FROM THE DRESDEN
MANUSCRIPT) AS A MODEL
by
Renato Serrano
__________________________
Copyright Renato Serrano 2016

A Document Submitted to the Faculty of the


FRED FOX SCHOOL OF MUSIC
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
For the Degree of
DOCTOR OF MUSICAL ARTS
In the Graduate College
THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

2016

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA


GRADUATE COLLEGE
As members of the Dissertation Committee, we certify that we have read the document prepared
by Renato Serrano titled Guidelines for Transcribing Baroque Lute Music for the Modern
Guitar, Using Silvius Leopold Weisss Sonata 36 (from the Dresden Manuscript) as a Model, and
recommend that it be accepted as fulfilling the document requirement for the Degree of Doctor
of Musical Arts.
_______________________________________________________________________

Date: January 6, 2016

Thomas Patterson
_______________________________________________________________________

Date: January 6, 2016

Carrol McLaughlin
_______________________________________________________________________

Date: January 6, 2016

Philip Alejo

Final approval and acceptance of this document is contingent upon the candidates submission of
the final copies of the document to the Graduate College.
I hereby certify that I have read this document prepared under my direction and recommend that
it be accepted as fulfilling the document requirement.
________________________________________________ Date: January 6, 2016
Document Director: Thomas Patterson

STATEMENT BY AUTHOR
This document has been submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an
advanced degree at the University of Arizona and is deposited in the University Library to be
made available to borrowers under rules of the Library.
Brief quotations from this document are allowable without special permission, provided
that an accurate acknowledgement of the source is made. Requests for permission for extended
quotation from or reproduction of this manuscript in whole or in part may be granted by the
copyright holder.

SIGNED: Renato Serrano

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I want to express my gratitude to the members of my advisory committee: Professor
Thomas Patterson, Dr. Carrol McLaughlin, and Dr. Philip Alejo, who constantly supported me in
this work. In addition, I would like to thank Les and Suzanne Hayt, who were like a family
during this process. Finally, I want to thank my family, especially to my parents for their support
from the start.

DEDICATION
To Perla, Nicanor, Silvestre, and Rulfo, for being who they are.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF FIGURES.9

LIST OF TABLES.12

ABSTRACT...13

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION..14
Intent and Scope of Study....14
Statement of Primary Thesis....16
Review of Scholarly Literature....17
Sources from the period.....17
Scholarly publications....18
PhD dissertations and DMA documents about Weiss...19
Editions of Weisss music..22
DMA dissertations about transcriptions.23
Conclusions about related literature...24
Biographical Review of Silvius Leopold Weiss..24
The Dresden Manuscript..27
Structure of Sonata 36..29
Organization of the Guidelines................................................................................................30

CHAPTER 2: TABLATURE RENDERING AND GUITAR TUNING..31


Placement of Pitches....31
Octave Displacement...34
Rhythmic Rendering....36
Diplomatic and Semi-Diplomatic Transcription..38
Alternative Guitar Tuning for Sonata 36.41

CHAPTER 3: STYLISTIC AND IDIOMATIC RESOURCES47


Style bris.....47
Weisss Legato Style....48
String alternation and arpeggiation49
Slurs...52
Combined resources...58

CHAPTER 4: ORNAMENTATION.63
Essential Ornaments in Weisss Tablature..64
Short trill and appoggiatura from above65
Extended trill..67
Appoggiatura from below..67
Two string appoggiatura68
Port de voix....69

Mordent..70
Slurs...70
Diminutions.....71
Arpeggiation..72
Filling in intervals..72
Transfer of register.73
Rhythmic elaboration of motives...75

CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION..77

APPENDIX A: SUGGESTED PRELUDE FOR SONATA 36....80


APPENDIX B: SEMI-DIPLOMATIC TRANSCRIPTION..83
APPENDIX C: DEMONSTRATION OF ALTERNATIVE TUNING....96
APPENDIX D: GUITAR TRANSCRIPTION............................................................................100
APPENDIX E: REALIZATION OF ESSENTIAL ORNAMENTS IN THE ALLEMANDE AND
THE SARABANDE............................................................................114
APPENDIX F: REALIZATION OF DIMINUTIONS IN THE ALLEMANDE AND THE
SARABANDE.................................................................119

REFERENCES....125

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2.1: First course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation32
Figure 2.2: Second course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation32
Figure 2.3: Third course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation...33
Figure 2.4: Fourth course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation.33
Figure 2.5: Fifth course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation....33
Figure 2.6: Sixth course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation...33
Figure 2.7: Diapasons in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation..34
Figure 2.8: Tablature and transcription of the diapasons with editorial changes..35
Figure 2.9. Guitar transcription of Allegro, measures 26-27. Voice leading criteria36
Figure 2.10a. Tablature of the Allemande, measures 4-5..37
Figure 2.10b. Transcription of Allemande, measures 4-5. Prolonged notes in bass and upper
voices. ...37
Figure 2.11a: Semi-diplomatic transcription of Menuet39
Figure 2.11b: Guitar transcription of the Menuet..40
Figure 2.12: D minor tuning with variations.43
Figure 2.13: Concert pitches of D minor tuning with variations...43
Figure 2.14: Revised version of alternative guitar tuning. 45
Figure 2.15: Concert pitches of the revised version of scordatura45
Figure 2.16: Demonstration of alternative guitar tuning in standard notation and tablature.46
Figure 3.1a. Tablature of Courante, measures 1-3.49

10

Figure 3.1b. Transcription of Courante, measures 1-3. Alternation of strings in arpeggiated


texture. ..50
Figure 3.2: Transcription of the Courante, alternation of strings. 51
Figure 3.3: Transcription of Allegro, measures 23-24. Slurs. ..53
Figure 3.4a: Semi-diplomatic transcription of the Allegro, measures 6 and 7. Inconsistent use of
slurs. ..54
Figure 3.4b: Guitar transcription of the Allegro, measures 6 and 7. Inconsistent use of slurs..54
Figure 3.5a: Semi-diplomatic transcription of Bourre. Slurs. .....................................................56
Figure 3.5b: Guitar transcription of Bourre. Slurs. .57
Figure 3.6a. Semi-diplomatic transcription of Allegro, measures 41 and 42. Overlapped slurs...58
Figure 3.6b. Transcription of Allegro, measures 41 and 42. Sonic effect of overlapped slurs.59
Figure 3.6c. Guitar transcription of Allegro, measures 41 and 42. Overlapped slurs...59
Figure 3.7a: Tablature of Allegro, measures 21 and 22. Campanella. ..60
Figure 3.7b: Guitar transcription of Allegro, measures 21 and 22. Campanella...60
Figure 3.8: Guitar transcription of Allegro. Fingering criteria. ....62
Figure 4.1a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 1. Short trill. 65
Figure 4.1b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 1. Realization of short trill...66
Figure 4.2a: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 20. Appoggiature from above.66
Figure 4.2b: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 20. Realization of appoggiature from
above..66
Figure 4.3a: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 3. Extended trill. .67
Figure 4.3b: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 3. Realization of extended trill67

11

Figure 4.4a: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 22. Appoggiatura from below.68
Figure 4.4b: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 22. Realization of appoggiatura from
below..68
Figure 4.5a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 6. Two string appoggiatura..68
Figure 4.5b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 6. Realization of two string
appoggiatura. .69
Figure 4.6a: Guitar transcription of Bourre, measures 1 and 2. Port de voix..69
Figure 4.6b: Guitar transcription of Bourre, measures 1 and 2. Port de voix realized as
appoggiatura from below. .70
Figure 4.7a: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 26. Mordent. ...70
Figure 4.7b: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 26. Realization of mordent.70
Figure 4.8a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 1. Blocks of chords..72
Figure 4.8b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 1. Arpeggiation72
Figure 4.9a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 13. Ascending leap from G4 to B4..73
Figure 4.9b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 13. Filled-in interval....73
Figure 4.10a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 25. .74
Figure 4.10b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 25. Transfer of register to higher
octave. ...74
Figure 4.11a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 2. ...74
Figure 4.11b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 2. Transfer of register to lower
octave.75
Figure 4.12a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measures 3 and 4. 75

12

Figure 4.12b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measures 3 and 4. Rhythmic elaboration of


motive. ..76

LIST OF TABLES

Table 2.1: Comparison of guitar and lute tunings. 44

13

ABSTRACT
Guidelines for Transcribing Baroque Lute Music for the Modern Guitar, Using Silvius
Leopold Weisss Sonata 36 (from the Dresden Manuscript) as a Model analyzes the process of
creating guitar transcriptions of Weisss music. The methodology unfolds through three steps: 1)
rendering the tablature into modern guitar notation, 2) analyses of stylistic issues for the
definition of fingerings on the guitar, and 3) two categories of ornamental practicesessential
embellishments and diminutions. In addition, the study includes a discussion about an alternative
tuning and presents a suggested prelude for Sonata 36 from the Dresden manuscript.
The purpose of this research is twofold: first, to create a new guitar transcription of a
sonata by Weiss, analyzing the challenges inherent in this process, and second, to train
intermediate and advanced guitar students to develop their own original transcriptions following
the model presented in this study.

14

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

Intent and Scope of Study


Guidelines for Transcribing Baroque Lute Music for the Modern Guitar, Using Silvius
Leopold Weisss Sonata 36 (from the Dresden Manuscript) as a Model, heretofore referred to as
this study or as this document, provides intermediate and advanced guitar students with an
analytical guide to help them understand the diverse steps that must be undertaken when
transcribing a work for lute by the baroque composer and lutenist Silvius Leopold Weiss (16891750) for guitar.1 The scope of this study is limited to the Sonata 36 in D minor (Allemande,
Courante, Bourre, Sarabande, Minuet, Allegro), taken from the Dresden manuscript, which was
published in a facsimile edition by Tim Crawford.2
A composition by Silvius Leopold Weiss is chosen for this research because Weiss stands
as a leading figure among Baroque lute composers. Testimonies to the quality and impact of his
work are found in texts such as Ernst Gottlieb Barons Study of the Lute.3 Baron refers to Weiss
as the first to show that more could be done on the lute than was hitherto thought possible. And
in regards to his skill, . . . it makes no difference whether one hears an ingenious organist

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., s.v. Transcription. The term transcription
will be utilized in this study, for the usage of the concept meets the definition provided in the entry in New Grove
Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed.
1

Silvius Leopold Weiss. Complete Works for Lute: The Dresden Manuscript. Transcription, ed. Tim
Crawford (Kassel: Brenreiter, 2007).
3

Ernst Gottlieb Baron, Study of the Lute, trans. Douglas Alton Smith (Redondo Beach: Instrumenta
Antiqua, 1976).

15

performing his fantasias and fugues on a harpsichord or hears Monsieur Weiss playing.4 Even
Johann Sebastian Bach, who was acquainted with Weiss, recognized the level of his music by
arranging for violin and harpsichord Weisss Sonata 22 from the Dresden manuscript (also
known as Sonata S-C 47).5 This arrangement corresponds to the Suite in A Major BWV 1025.
According to Cramer, the harpsichord part is an almost literal transcription of Weisss original
solo lute work. The violin part consists of newly composed material that is inextricably linked to
the harpsichord part, to the extent that the violin part would be incomprehensible if separated
from the harpsichord.6
Sonata 36 from the Dresden manuscript is selected because it represents a mature
example of Weisss work. Weiss scholar Tim Crawford agrees that Sonata 36 exemplifies the
composers late style for two reasons: 1) the absence of the Sonata in the London manuscript,
which can be safely dated 1717-1725, and 2) stylistic issues, such as the dimension of the
movements (which are longer than those attributed to Weisss early output) and the range of the
lute used.7 Weiss played different lutes during his life, evolving from an 11-course to a 13-course
instrument.8 In addition, the absence of a prelude allows the inclusion of a suggested prelude
created especially for this study, which is attached to the appendix of the document.

Ibid., 70.

Christopher Charles Cramer, A Transcription and Performance Edition of Silvius Leopold Weiss
Suonata in A major, S-C 47 (Dresden 22) for Guitar (DMA Document, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006).
6

Ibid., 18.

Silvius Leopold Weiss. Complete Works for Lute: The Dresden Manuscript. Transcription, ed. Tim
Crawford (Kassel: Brenreiter, 2007), XXIII.
8

Oxford Music Online, s.v. Courses, accessed November 15, 2015, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.
According to the entry in the Oxford Music Online, in this study course is understood as the term by which ranks of
strings on plucked instruments were known from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. A course may consist of

16

It is important to understand that Weisss compositions are highly idiomatic for the lute.
For this reason, it is critical to use the tablature to make a proper transcription. The tablature
indicates in detail how idiomatic resources are used originally on the lute. Instrumental practices
such as fingerings, slurs, ornaments, and campanella are clearly expressed in the tablature,
providing strong indications about how to interpret the work on another instrument. Considering
the similarities between the guitar and the lute, the guitar performer can adapt idiomatic
resources to resemble a lute performance practice.
The following theoretical frameworks and practical applications are the main topics for
analysis in this study: rendering the tablature into standard musical notation for guitar, analysis
of tuning criteria, use of slurs, practical applications of style bris, different uses of ornaments
(agrments and diminutions), and aesthetic considerations of diminutions.

Statement of Primary Thesis


Analysis of the modern facsimile edition of Sonata 36 for lute by Silvius Leopold Weiss
(1689-1750) yields information pertinent to the following issues facing modern transcribers of
Baroque lute music for guitar: 1) rendering of eighteenth-century French lute tablature into
modern guitar notation, 2) applying technical and stylistic issues of Weisss lute music on the
guitar, and 3) defining ornamental performance practices on the guitar. The process of
transcribing this work for guitar can be used as a model for the creation of new performance
editions for guitar based upon modern facsimile editions of Weisss works for lute.

one, two or even three strings. The Baroque lute usually had a single first course called a chanterelle, and from
about 1650 onwards, the second course was a single string as well the rest of the courses were strung in pairs.

17

Review of Scholarly Literature


This document is based on information collected from primary sources (facsimile
editions of manuscripts and documents from the period), scholarly publications, PhD
dissertations and DMA documents related to Weisss music, edited transcriptions of Weisss
music, and DMA documents about the transcription process. The validity and usefulness of each
reference will be demonstrated through this review.

Sources from the period


Three sources from the period are examined. The first one is the recent edition of the
Dresden manuscript, which features the facsimile of the tablature and its transcription into twostave notation edited by Tim Crawford.9 The facsimile of this publication is the primary source
used for the transcription of this study, specifically volume five, which includes Sonata 36. It is
consulted to compare fingerings used on the lute and to discover where common fingerings may
be employed in the guitar edition. The second reference from the period is also published in a
relatively recent edition; hence, a similar approach is undertaken for the examination of the
London manuscript.10 It is edited by Douglas Alton Smith and is also published with the
facsimile of the tablature and its transcription to modern musical notation in two staves. Even
though it does not contain an alternative version of Sonata 36, it has relevant information about
the dates of Weisss output, filling in missing information about dates present in the Dresden
9

Silvius Leopold Weiss, Complete Works for Lute: The Dresden Manuscript. Facsimile of the Tablature,
Vol. 5, ed. Tim Crawford (Kassel: Brenreiter, 2007).
10

Silvius Leopold Weiss, Complete Works for Lute: The London Manuscript, ed. Douglas Alton Smith
(Frankfurt: C. F. Peters, 1983).

18

manuscript. The last source from the period is the translation by Douglas Alton Smith of Ernst
Gottlieb Baron's Historisch-Theoretisch und Practische untersuchung des Instruments der
Lauten.11 Dated 1727, it is an important publication containing a comprehensive survey of the
lute's history. Its discussions on practices and theories enhance the understanding of eighteenthcentury lute music, since it analyzes relevant evidence of stylistic resources from the period. This
is a fundamental source due to Barons acquaintance with S. L. Weiss.

Scholarly publications
The publication Harpsichord and Lute Music in 17-Century France by David Ledbetter
analyzes several topics relevant to this study.12 The text establishes a symbiotic relationship
between performance practices on both the lute and the harpsichord. The shared stylistic and
idiomatic elements help illuminate such concepts such as style bris, approaches to
ornamentation, and assumptions about performance interpretations regarding non-measured
preludes. This last element is a thread that can lead to further insights about extemporaneous
renditions of non-written music, which is particularly important, as many of Weisss preludes are
expressed only as chordal blocks. This book also contains a discussion about the evolution of
style bris, explaining its fundamental characteristics during the 17th century.
Two important articles are also reviewed. The first, written by Tim Crawford, appears in
Early Music magazine.13 The article reviews several recordings and is useful to compare

11

Ernst Gottlieb Baron, Study of the Lute, trans. by Douglas Alton Smith (Redondo Beach: Instrumenta
Antiqua, 1976).
12

David Ledbetter, Harpsichord and Lute Music in 17th-Century France (London: Macmillan Press, 1987).

13

Tim Crawford, "18th-Century Lutes," Early Music 22, no. 3 (August 1994): 527-528.

19

different styles of performances. His critical description of the performance of a prelude in


improvisatory style by lutenist Hopkinson Smith sheds light on Baroque performance practices.
The second is the entry on Silvius Leopold Weiss written by Edward T. Reilly, Douglas Alton
Smith, and Tim Crawford in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed.14 It
provides a deep insight into Weisss background, such as his close connection to J. S. Bach, as
well as how the style of Weisss music can be compared with Bach's lute-related output.
Another essential reference for embellishments is Frederik Neumanns comprehensive
publication Ornamentation in Baroque and Post-Baroque Music: With Special Emphasis on J. S.
Bach, which defines with exhaustive detail the different types of ornaments and ornamental
practices found in Baroque music.15 Thus, it becomes important to the section devoted to this
topic in this document. Its discussions observe an evolution in ornamental practices throughout
the eighteenth century, offer a clear explanation on regional practices (particularly from Italy,
France, and Germany), and describe in detail embellishments according to their use by specific
composers.

PhD dissertations and DMA documents about Weiss


Douglas Alton Smith is one of the most respected scholars of Silvius Weisss work. In his
PhD dissertation, he exhaustively examines the stylistic elements from the lute sonatas that

14
15

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., s.v. Silvius Leopold Weiss.

Frederick Neumann, Ornamentation in Baroque and Post-Baroque Music: With Special Emphasis on J.
S. Bach (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978).

20

characterize the late style of the composer.16 In addition, he includes discussions about Weisss
legato style, the type of lute used by Weiss, and the chronology of his compositions. This insight
supports practical applications in the task of transcribing Sonata 36 to guitar, such as the
characterization of improvised preludes, and the fingerings used in order to create a style bris
effect.
The document by David Crittenden is both a critical and a performance edition of two
sonatas by Weiss which are also found in the Dresden manuscript.17 It covers diverse topics
related to the task of transcribing Weisss music to the guitar, such as notated ornamentation as it
appears in Weisss tablature, practical application of stylistic issues on the guitar, a technical
discussion about slurs, details about rendering music from the tablature, and the characterization
of a critical edition of the composers music. Crittendens research has proven to be very useful
not only for its validity, but because it has also helped to define the limits of the originality of
this study. This is due to the fact that both studies present many common topics, such as the
adaptability on the guitar of Weisss repertoire and the use of stylistic resources on the guitar.
The lecture recital document by Christopher Cramer is also reviewed.18 This research is a
transcription and performance edition of a Weisss Sonata 22 from Dresden Manuscript. This
Sonata is particularly important and reflects the esteem Bach held for Weisss music. Bach
arranged Sonata 22 for harpsichord and violin, BWV 1022. In addition, Cramers document
16

Douglas Alton Smith, "The Late Sonatas of Silvius Leopold Weiss" (PhD diss., Stanford University,

1977).
17

David Todd Crittenden, Silvius Leopold Weisss Solo Lute Sonatas 20 and 33 from Dresden Manuscript
2841, V. I in the Schsische Landesbibliothek: A Transcription from the Tablature and a Critical Edition for
Classical Guitar (DMA document, University of Georgia, 1996).
18

Christopher Charles Cramer, A Transcription and Performance Edition of Silvius Leopold Weiss
Suonata in A major, S-C 47 (Dresden 22) for Guitar (DMA document., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006).

21

includes discussions about Weisss historical background, stylistic implications, editorial


methods, and a description about the type of lutes used by Weiss.
The thesis by Charles Nelson Amos encompasses an extensive description about the
different techniques used on the lute during 1500 and 1750, the year of Weisss death.19 Amos
analyzes the evolution of lute and lute practices in Germany during this period, and the influence
of other regional practices on German lutenists, who were known to absorb the music style of
their neighbors.20 Amos research shows the influence of the French style in German lute music,
therefore the style bris can be observed as a natural consequence in Weisss compositions.
Amoss work also contains an extensive list of lutenists in Germany from 1500 to 1750. This
detailed description provides a clear panorama of the field, and helps to understand Weisss
stature within it.
The PhD thesis by Joan Ellen Smiles complements the literature concerning ornamental
practices.21 It refers to the different styles of ornamentation focusing mainly on three regions
during the eighteenth century: Italy, France, and Germany. Its scope is broader in comparison
with previous literature, because it includes extensive discussions about improvised
ornamentation, especially on arbitrary ornaments. The research is drawn from treatises from the
period, which were written by composers and theorists who were not lutenists. These insights
provide perspectives to evaluate potential interpretations of ornaments.

19

Charles Nelson Amos Lute Practice and Lutenist in Germany Between 1500 and 1750 (PhD diss.,
University of Iowa, 1975).
20
21

Ibid., 1.

Joan Ellen Smiles, Improvised Ornamentation in Late Eighteenth Century Music: An Examination of
Contemporary Evidence (PhD diss., Stanford University, 1978).

22

Editions of Weisss music


Ruggero Chiesas transcription of the London manuscript was published in 1967.22 This
edition renders the tablature with minor editorial changes, such as octave displacements for
basses out of the range of the guitar. Chiesa uses a single octave treble clef performed at one
octave lower; this is standard classical guitar musical notation. The transcription is preceded by
brief discussions on Weisss biographical facts, tablature descriptions, editorial criteria, and
essential ornamental practices. Because it lacks a facsimile, it is difficult to determine where
campanella and Weisss legato style were employed. The facsimile of the tablature would have
shown left hand fingerings and other vital information. Nevertheless, it keeps the original slurs
written as they appear in the tablature, hinting at possible fingerings for the left hand.
When it comes to published transcriptions for guitar of Weisss solo lute music, the
edition of the Moscow manuscript transcribed by Tim Crawford and arranged for guitar by Alan
Rinehart stands as one of the most complete editions.23 It is published in two volumes. The first,
edited by Crawford, is a reproduction of the manuscript in facsimile and a transcription in
standard musical notation. The second volume contains Rineharts guitar arrangements based on
Crawfords transcription. Rineharts arrangements do not indicate where he has made editorial
changes, principally moving bass notes up an octave. Therefore, the performer would need to
consult Crawfords facsimile where they will find further information in the form of footnotes to
the musical text.

22

Silvius Leopold Weiss, Intavolatura di Liuto: Dall Originale del British Museum. Transcribed by
Ruggero Chiesa (Milano: Suvuni Zerboni, 1967).
23

Silvius Leopold Weiss, The Moscow Weiss Manuscript: m. i. Glinka State Central Museum of Musical
Culture, MS 282/8, transcribed by Tim Crawford (Columbus: Editions Orphe, 2006).

23

Other published transcriptions for guitar of Weiss's music are not as complete as the
editions by Crawford and Reinhart, mainly because they do not include the facsimile edition.
There are many publications that deliver only the transcription adapted for guitar with fingerings,
yet they do not provide an account of the editorial modifications, such as necessary alterations of
octaves in the bass, nor do they share information about stylistic features to be considered for the
performance, like discussions about style bris or Weisss legato style. Examples include the
publications by John Duarte and Terrel Stone.24 They both accurately render the pitches and
rhythms of the tablature, but the absence of the facsimile does not allow the performer to
understand Weisss original intentions.

DMA dissertations about transcriptions


Two theses regarding the process of making arrangements are included in this review.
The work by Guilherme Vincens provides a clear understanding of the difficulties that arise
during the process of arranging music on the guitar.25 Its historical perspective on guitar
arrangements is a fundamental reference and provides a fine description about natural limitations
of the guitar and possible solutions for arrangements. Darren Bruce Bastian's thesis analyzes the
adaptation of a work written for violin and adapted to the marimba.26 The dichotomies exposed
24

Silvius Leopold Weiss, Suite in D Minor: The Moscow Manuscript, ed. John Duarte (London: Universal
Edition, 1981); Silvius Leopold Weiss, Partita in Bb Major for Lute: From the Warsaw Manuscript RM 4137, ed.
Terrel Stone (Bologna: UT Orpheus, 1998).
25

Guilherme Vincens, "The Arrangements of Roland Dyens and Srgio Assad: Innovations in Adapting
Jazz Standards and Jazz-Influenced Popular Works to the Solo Classical Guitar" (DMA document, University of
Arizona, 2009).
26

Darren Bruce Bastian, "Bach Transcription for Marimba: Creating an Authentic Performance Edition of
Johann Sebastian Bach's Sonata No. 1 for Violin Solo, BWV 1001, and Sonata No. 2: Grave, BWV 1003, Using
Guitar and Lute Transcriptions as Models" (DMA document, University of Arizona, 2009).

24

here are similar to those that arise between the lute and the guitar, and many ideas discussed by
Bastian apply directly to the transcription process for lute and guitar.

Conclusions about related literature


A thorough review of the literature and its deep analyses, practical applications, and
conclusions, has had significant influence on this study. This document, however, expands the
scope of the related literature by presenting further discussions about and/or demonstrations of
performance practices of improvised preludes, alternative tunings on the guitar, the realization of
ornamental practices, and the transcription of a Sonata by Weiss that had not previously been
transcribed for guitar. In addition, the methodology has considered a pedagogical approach,
which is intended to serve as a model for the creation of future transcriptions of Weisss music.

Biographical Review of Silvius Leopold Weiss


For many years, it was widely accepted that Silvius Leopold Weiss was born in Breslau,
Silesia (currently Wroclaw, Poland) in 1686.27 Relative recent research by Frank Legl has
questioned this assumption, revealing evidence that the birthplace was Grottkau (currently
Grodkw, a town located about 37 miles away from Wroclaw) and the year was 1687.28 Silvius
Weiss was the son of Johann Jacob Weiss, an accomplished lutenist who worked in the court of

27

Smith; Silvius Leopold Weiss. Complete Works for Lute: The Dresden Manuscript. Transcription, ed.
Tim Crawford (Kassel: Brenreiter, 2007). This biographical review relies mostly on Douglas Alton Smiths PhD
dissertation and in Tim Crawfords edition of Weiss complete works.
28

Frank Legl, Between Grottkau and Neuburg: New Information on the Biography of Silvius Leopold
Weiss, Journal of the Lute Society of America 31 (1998): 49-55.

25

the Palatine chapel in Dsseldorf and whose compositions did not survive. Besides Silvius
Leopold, Johann Jacob Weiss also trained his younger children Johann Sigismund and Juliana
Margaretha, as they were known to be lutenists as well. Among the siblings, Silvius was the only
one who, at the age of seven, performed in front of the Emperor Leopold I.
In 1706, Silvius Weiss started his first known appointment in Breslau as court lutenist for
Count Carl Philipp of the Palatine. During that year, he performed in Kassel for Palatine Elector
Johann Wilhelm, who was an important patron of the arts, thus spreading his reputation in the
highest social circles. From 1710 he served in the court of Prince Alexander Sobieski, who lived
in Rome with his mother, Queen Maria Casimira. This sojourn was important since Weiss had
the chance of getting acquainted with Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti, as well as with
Arcangelo Corelli. In 1714, Prince Alexander passed away, and Weiss returned to the court of
Carl Philipp in Dsseldorf.
In 1717, while Weiss was still working in Dsseldorf, he appeared on a payroll list of the
Dresden Chapel with a payment of 1000 Reichstaller200 Reichstaller below the highest paid
musicians in the court.29 The appointment in the court of Prince Elector of Saxony, August the
Strong, in Dresden became official in 1718. This position was highly regarded, for this city was
one of the most active and elevated centers for music, arts, and sciences in the Empire. Among
his colleagues were important musicians such as flutists Pierre-Gabriel Buffardin and Johann
Joachim Quantz, and violinists Francesco Veracini and Johann Georg Pisendel. By the end of
1718, along with a select group of 11 of the most skilled musicians from the court of Dresden, he

29

His salary was raised again in 1733 to 1200 Reichstaller and one last time in 1744, to 1400 Reichstaller,
becoming by then the highest-paid musician in the court.

26

went to Vienna for an official visit. There, Weiss distinguished himself through a performance
for both the Emperor Charles VI and the Empress Elisabeth Christine.
In 1722 Weiss had a serious incident with violinist Petit, who attacked the former in an
act of vengeance and nearly bit his thumb off! The attack was prompted by suspected
machinations against him at the court.30 After his recovery, Silvius Weiss continued his normal
activities with an intense agenda as court musician and making acquaintances with selected
people of the nobility. In the fall of 1722, he traveled alongside Pierre-Gabriel Buffardin for a
performance in Munich for the marriage of one of the daughters of Emperor Joseph I. During the
next year he went to Prague with Johann Quantz and singer Carl Graun for the crowning of
Emperor Charles VI as King of Bohemia. Five years later, during his three-month sojourn in
Berlin in 1728, Weiss made a strong impression on Princess Sophie Wilhelmine, who was an
amateur lutenist, and the sister of the future King Frederick the Great.
In 1736, Weiss was tempted by the Viennese court with a generous offer, but he declined
it. This fact may reflect the positive feelings he had for his position in Dresden, and his strong
established social networks. In 1738 the lutenist was arrested, allegedly for having offended an
elevated public figure.31 On this occasion, Weiss received support from the Imperial Count
Hermann von Keyserlingk, who intervened on his behalf.
Incidentally, Count Keyserlingk was also a patron of Johann Sebastian Bach, and he
commissioned the Goldberg Variations. The acquaintance of Weiss and Bach is supported by
several facts. Friedemann Bach, the son of Johan Sebastian, was appointed organist at the
30

Smith, 11.

31

The offended figure was the Matre des Plaisirs von Breitenbauch.

27

Dresden Sophienkirche from 1733 to 1746. Smiths interpretation of this circumstance points out
that it is very likely that the two musicians saw each other intermittently over a period of
several decades.32 In addition, Bachs arrangement of Weisss lute Sonata 22 from the Dresden
manuscript (BWV 1025) is a testimony of the high regard in which Weisss music was
considered by Bach.
Silvius Leopold Weiss died on October 16, 1750, and was buried three days later. With
his wife Maria Elizabeth, he had 11 children, seven of which were alive at the time of his death.
Weiss is considered the greatest lutenist and composer for the instrument during the eighteenth
century, leaving more than seventy lute sonatas which constitute a paramount source of literature
for the lute and potentially for the guitar as well.

The Dresden Manuscript


The Dresden manuscript compiles a great portion of Weisss music.33 Along with the
London manuscript,34 they contain more than two-thirds of Weisss music.35 The manuscript is
organized in six volumes, the first five featuring the tablature of 36 sonatas for solo lute, and the
last one, the tablature of the lute part of chamber music works. The other instruments parts
unfortunately are lost. According to Crawford, this manuscript was purchased by the Library in

32

Smith, 14.

33

Mus. 2841-V-1, in the Schsische Landesbibliothek Staats-und-Universittsbibliothek Dresden.

34

Ms. Add. 30387, in the British Library, London.

35

Silvius Leopold Weiss. Complete Works for Lute: The Dresden Manuscript. Transcription, ed. Tim
Crawford (Kassel: Brenreiter, 2007), XVIII.

28

1928-1929 at the sale of an enormous music collection assembled by Werner Wolffheim (18771930).36
Unlike the London manuscript, this source is organized by keys and he precise dates of
the sonatas cannot be verified. This latter idea is due to the fact that the manuscript underwent
many manipulations by collectors and editors during the composers life and also after his death
in 1750. In addition, the manuscript evidences the calligraphy of four copyists, one of them being
Weiss. However, Crawford claims that recent research by lutenist Andr Burguete has concluded
that Sonata 36 belongs to the group of sonatas written in the hand of the main scribe of the
manuscript, Friedrich Wilhelm, who was a long-time student of Weiss.37
According to Crittendens research,38 the manuscript was discovered in 1929 by Hans
Neemann, who partially published it in tablature facsimile and transcription into standard
musical notation ten years later.39 Neemanns work was vital for the reconstruction of some
sections of the manuscript, which were damaged by water during World War II. Currently, the
most complete publication of the manuscript was edited by Tim Crawford in facsimile of the
tablature and two-stave standard musical notation. Crawfords edition is the main source of this
document.

36

Ibid., XX.

37

Ibid., XXII. For a thorough discussion about this matter, please see the introduction in this reference
written by Tim Crawford.
38
39

Crittenden, 8.

Hans Neemann, ed., Lautenmusik des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, Das Erbe Deutscher Musik
(Braunschweig: Henry Litolffs Verlag, 1939), 12.

29

Structure of Sonata 36
Weisss sonatas are organized following the standard structure of the eighteenth-century
French suite. Regarding the overall organization of Weisss sonatas, Smith points out two
relevant aspects: 1) Froberger standardized the sequence of dances of the French suite as
Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, and Gigue and 2) Weiss expanded this group of dances by
adding a Bourre after the Courante and a Minuet after the Sarabande.40 Sonata 36 from the
Dresden manuscript follows this standard organization, though substituting the Gigue for an
Allegro. Further substitutions or additions in other sonatas include, for example, the use of an
Overture instead of the Allemande, a triple-meter Allegro instead of the Courante, and a Paysane
or Gavotte instead of the Bourre.
The absence of a prelude does not necessarily mean that a stylistically appropriate
performance of Sonata 36 would ignore this introductory practice. Following Smiths analysis,
the prelude appears to have been optional and improvised[.]41 Since deeper analyses of
improvised and semi-improvised practices such as non-measured preludes, figured-bass
realizations, and improvised preludes are beyond the scope of this study, the reader is referred to
research by David Ledbetter and Stephen C. Grazzini for a comprehensive study of such
practices.42 Nevertheless, considering the stylistic implications of this practice, this study
suggests the inclusion of prelude for Sonata 36, which was composed by the author of this
document. This prelude is attached in the Appendix A.
40

Smith, 43.

41

Weiss, XVII.

42

Ledbetter; Stephen C. Grazzini, Reconstructing the Improvised Keyboard Prelude of the French
Baroque (PhD diss., Indiana University, 2014).

30

Organization of the Guidelines


This study strategizes a three-step guideline for developing transcriptions of Weisss
sonatas for modern guitar. This method is explained in Chapters 2, 3, and 4, using each chapter
for the introduction of a new step. The process of the creation of a transcription of Weisss music
unfolds from the basicshow to render and interpret the tablature into standard guitar notation.
This concept is covered in Chapter 2. Once a satisfactory guitar score is achieved, stylistic
features are addressed in the next chapter. In Chapter 3, it is explained how to use characteristic
resources of Weisss style for fingerings on the guitar. Finally, ornamental practices are
introduced in Chapter 4, considering two categories of embellishments: 1) essential
embellishments and 2) diminutions, which were an ornamental practice in use during the first
half of the eighteenth century.

31

CHAPTER 2: TABLATURE RENDERING AND GUITAR TUNING

Placement of Pitches
Tablature is the form of musical notation for lute in which the specific fret and course for
finger placement is indicated using letters or numbers. Silvius Leopold Weiss used French
tablature, which indicates the finger placement with letters, the a being an open string, the b the
first fret, the c the second, the d the third, and so on.43 This type of tablature uses a six-line staff
in which the top line represents the first course and the bottom line, the sixth. Since Weisss lutes
had eleven and thirteen courses depending on the period, the rest of the courses after the sixth,
called diapasons, are unfretted and represented beneath the bottom line. The first one is written
as a letter a below the six-line staff, and the following three, are expressed with an extra line
before that a, as in /a, //a, and ///a. After the third additional line, the rest of the diapasons were
written using numbers 4, 5, and 6.
The tuning used by Weiss is known as D minor tuning and, according to the Oxford
Companion to Music, was introduced in France by Denis Gaultier around 1650.44 By the first
half of the eighteenth century, this tuning was widely used throughout much of Europe,
mirroring the strong influence of other French trends such as style bris (search style brise,
without the), French tablature, and French court dances within instrumental suites. The D
minor tuning Weiss uses features the first six open courses of the lute in a chord of D minor.

43

A Basic Introduction to Renaissance Lute Tablature for Beginners, Dartmouth College Website,
accessed November 10, 2015, http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~wbc/lute/tab-intro.html. In Weisss tablature, as in
other tablatures since the Renaissance, the c looks like an r because it is easy to differentiate a c from an e.
44

Oxford Music Online, s.v. Lute, accessed November 15, 2015, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com

32

From the highest to the lowest, the pitches of the open courses are F4, D4, A3, F3, D3, and A2.45
On Weisss lutes the first and second courses consisted of a single string. The third, fourth, and
fifth courses were paired in unison, and the sixth was paired at the higher octave. In Figures 2.1
to 2.5, a detailed explanation of the pitches of each course and its location on the fingerboard up
to the twelfth fret is provided. In the case of Figure 2.6, the transcription denotes the doubling of
this course, representing also the higher octave.

Figure 2.1: First course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation.

Figure 2.2: Second course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation.

45

This study uses a sub-octave treble clef (standard for guitar musical notation), which establishes the
middle C or C4 on the second space from the top to the bottom of the clef.

33

Figure 2.3: Third course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation.

Figure 2.4: Fourth course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation.

Figure 2.5: Fifth course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation.

Figure 2.6: Sixth course in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation.

34

After the sixth course, the diapasons descend diatonically, considering the key of the
music for the necessary chromatic alterations of the tuning. In the case of a lute with 11 courses,
they reach down to C2, and in an instrument with 13 courses, the register is extended to A1. In
addition, the diapasons paired string is tuned at the higher octave, as is the paired string of the
sixth course. In the case of Sonata 36 the tuning presents the following pitches for the lower
octave of the diapasons: G2, F2, E2, D2, C1, Bb1, and A1. Figure 2.7 represents the
transcription of the diapasons and their doubling at the higher octave.

Figure 2.7: Diapasons in tablature and its transcription into standard guitar notation.

Octave Displacement
Standard guitar tuning presents the following pitches: E4, B3, G3, D3, A2, and E2. The
transcription of this study uses this tuning with dropped D on the sixth string, which establishes
the lowest note of the guitar as D2. Therefore, three notes from the diapasons are out of the
guitars reach: C2, Bb1, and A1. The criteria for solving this issue is to raise these pitches an
octave and to mark these editorial changes with a number 8 below the altered notes, as shown in

35

Figure 2.8. In addition, the guitar transcription developed in this research will not notate any
doubling at the higher octave, as presented in the sixth course and in diapasons.

Figure 2.8: Tablature and transcription of the diapasons with editorial changes.

Editorial changes are based on Baroque principles related to voice leading and melodic
phrasing. In rare cases throughout the transcription, a melodic bass line may start in one register
and then transfer to another. This situation happens when a bass melody uses D2 as a passing
tone. An example of this shift is shown in Figure 2.9, where the basses in measure 26 end a
phrase on E2. On the first beat of the next measure, the bass melody is continued on D2. In the
tablature, this descending stepwise motion reaches B1a note out of the range of the guitar.
Since D2 is the lowest pitch of a guitar tuned with the 6th string in D, it is preferred to write the
first bass of measure 27 as D2, and then to raise the next one an octave to D3. Thus, the
descending stepwise motion of the bass line is resolved using a voice-leading criterion that
prioritizes any melodic relationships of seconds over leaps of sevenths.

36

Figure 2.9. Guitar transcription of Allegro, measures 26-27. Voice leading criteria.

Rhythmic Rendering
In French tablature, rhythms are indicated above the six-line staff. This rhythmic writing
uses the stems of standard rhythmic notation and indicates the succession of consecutive notes
following the value of the stem. Therefore, rhythmic rendering is particularly challenging due to
the fact that the tablature does not indicate rhythmic duration, but only the moment of the attack.
During the first half of the seventeenth century, lutenist Antoine Francisque developed a
rule for polyphony which said that each note is held until another one is played on the same
course.46 This approach was true for his compositions, but Weisss developments in elaboration
and texture did not rigorously adhere to this criterion. This study agrees with Crittendens idea
that this particular feature of tablature writing lies within the realm of the interpretation of the
performer.47 Rather than to prescribe a specific reading of the rhythmic context, the rhythmic
writing describes it, as shown in Figure 2.10a.48 Therefore, part of its beauty is to leave open the
possibility of diverse contrapuntal readings or rhythmic durations by different performers.
46

David Ledbetter, Harpsichord and Lute Music in 17th-Century France (London: Macmillan Press, 1987),

34.
47

David Todd Crittenden, Silvius Leopold Weisss Solo Lute Sonatas 20 and 33 from Dresden Manuscript
2841, V. I in the Schsische Landesbibliothek: A Transcription from the Tablature and a Critical Edition for
Classical Guitar (DMA document, University of Georgia, 1996), 20.
48

Silvius Leopold Weiss. Complete Works for Lute: The Dresden Manuscript. Transcription, ed. Tim
Crawford (Kassel: Brenreiter, 2007).

37

Rhythmic writing in this edition describes the attack point of each note in a way that it
corresponds to the value expressed on the tablature. As long as a coherent harmony can be
maintained, exceptions can occur in upper voices and bass notes as easily sustained notes in
either the left hand or open strings, as shown in Figure 2.10b.

Figure 2.10a. Tablature of the Allemande, measures 4-5.

Figure 2.10b. Transcription of Allemande, measures 4-5. Prolonged notes in bass and upper voices.

In addition, Figure 2.10a presents an interesting rhythmic situation on the first beat of
measure 4. In the tablature the first note is an eighth note and the following three are thirtysecond notes. Since the first note is written as an eighth note, this study interprets the following
three notes as a triplet of sixteenth notes, as shown in Figure 2.10b. This criterion is held
throughout the entire transcription.

38

Diplomatic and Semi-Diplomatic Transcription


In the field of manuscript studies of Medieval and Early Modern sources, the term
diplomatic edition is used to refer to a transcription of a single MS (no attempt to indicate
best readings), indicating as far as possible the state of the text in this manuscript.49 Taking
into account also that a semi-diplomatic transcription makes a number of changes in the
interests of clarity and readability,50 this document uses the term semi-diplomatic transcription
for a transcription of the tablature into standard musical notation that does not attempt any
editorial change or correction, but interprets rhythmic writing as described above. The semidiplomatic transcription developed for this study uses standard guitar notation, reproducing the
sonic perception of a lute performance.51 In Figure 2.11a, the semi-diplomatic transcription of
the Menuet is provided as an example. This version of the movement shows two important
aspects for editorial changes: 1) basses that are out of the reach of the guitars tessitura and 2)
actual sound of notes played on the sixth course and diapasons, whose doubling at the higher
octave is notated and parenthesized.52 These two features are closely related because the bass
notes out of the register of the guitar are also doubled by notes that belong to the guitars
tessitura.
49

Stephen R. Reimer, Manuscript Studies, Medieval and Early Modern. V.iii. Textual Bibliography:
Kinds of Editions. University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, 2015, accessed November 27, 2015,
http://www.ualberta.ca/~sreimer/ms-course/course/editns.htm
50

Scriptorum, Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Online. University of Cambridge, 2009,
accessed November 27, 2015, http://scriptorium.english.cam.ac.uk/handwriting/materials/conventions/
51
52

The complete semi-diplomatic transcription of Sonata 36 is attached in Appendix B.

These doublings are notated and parenthesized only in the semi-diplomatic transcription provided in this
chapter in order to clarify the actual sound of these basses. The rest of the semi-diplomatic transcriptions in this
study will not include doubling notes at the higher octave.

39

Editorial changes in the guitar transcription keep only one note in these bass doublings,
favoring either the lower octave for strengthening the bass register of the instrument or the

Figure 2.11a: Semi-diplomatic transcription of Menuet.

40

Figure 2.11b: Guitar transcription of the Menuet.

41

higher octave because of melodic implications of bass lines.53 In Figure 2.11b, a practical
application of this criterion is demonstrated. This version of the movement presents the guitar
transcription ready for fingerings. Aside from the exceptional case of measure 28, all of the bass
doublings have been eliminated, keeping either their higher or lower octave. Even though the
latter has been generally preferred, in the following two examples the higher octave is chosen for
melodic implications: 1) in measures 25-27 for the melodic ascent from A2 to C3, which ends in
a rising leap of perfect fourth to F3, and 2) in measures 30-34 for the sequence from G3 in
measure 30 to C#3 in measure 35. In addition, in measures 39, 40, and 43, the upper octave is
used because the lower one is out of the range of the guitar.

Alternative Guitar Tuning for Sonata 36.


Alternative tunings, or scordature, have been attempted for guitar transcriptions of
Weisss music. In his DMA document, David Crittenden reviews guitar editions by Victor van
Puijenbroeck and Jef Goor, which are noteworthy for their use of unusual scorditura [sic] for
the first and third strings of the guitar.54 Even though the transcription in this study uses
dropped D tuning, an original approach to an alternative scordatura will be presented and
demonstrated in this discussion.
The reason that dropped D tuning is used in this edition is primarily practical. When
guitar strings are re-tuned, they need time to settle on the new pitch. This is due to the fact that

53

An exception occurs in measure 28, where the two voices of the doubling are left in order to provide a
start point of the sequence from measures 28-35 and a deeper sonority of the lower register of the instrument.
54

Crittenden, 7.

42

they are generally made of nylon or composite monofilament, which are materials that respond
with resistance after stretching.55 This factor makes it difficult to use a scordatura that alters
many strings in a concert or recording situation, because it may affect the tuning stability for the
rest of the repertoire that does not share the same scordatura.
Nevertheless, there are favorable arguments that attract guitarists to use a scordatura
similar to lute D minor tuning, such as closer idiomatic ties and harmonic resonance of open
strings. During the process of this study, experimental tunings were attempted for comparative
analysis. Assuming that the tablature contains critical information about idiomatic resources in
lute performance, the first attempt considered using a guitar scordatura similar to lute tuning.
The advantage of re-tuning the guitar strings as the six first courses of the lute is that a semiliteral reading of the tablature becomes possible on the guitar. Conversely, the disadvantages are
that the register of the guitar is limited to A2 as the lowest possible pitch, and that raising the
pitches of the strings increases the tension on the harmonic top, which can cause serious damage
to the instrument.
A first step for solving these issues is to exchange the pitch class of the fifth and sixth
strings. In lute tuning, the fifth string is D3 and the sixth, A2. They may switch the pitch class in
a way that the fifth string becomes A2 and the sixth string, D2. The final outcome of this
experiment is a D minor tuning with variations, as shown in Figure 2.12. However, the tension
issue of the first four strings is still important, and is resolved by loosening the tension of the
strings. This is achieved by dropping all pitches a whole step, keeping the intervallic relationship
of the strings. Consequently, the instrument features a C minor tuning. In order to facilitate the

55

Strings made of the composite monofilament material are also known as carbon strings.

43

reading and the correspondence with the original key of Sonata 36, the writing in standard
musical notation is kept in D minor. This fact considers the guitar as a transposed instrument in
C minor tuning. Figure 2.13 shows the actual concert pitches of this alternative tuning.
According to John Lienhard, Baroque pitches varied all the way down to around A-390.56
Considering that the sound of a pitch C tuned in A-440 equals the sound of a pitch D tuned in A390, the usage of the guitar as a transposed instrument in C minor tuning does not depart from
the original aesthetic of Sonata 36, which is in the key of D minor. Furthermore, lutenist Robert
Barto uses A-390 in his Naxos recording of Sonata 36.57

Figure 2.12: D minor tuning with variations.

Figure 2.13: Concert pitches of D minor tuning with variations.

56

John H. Lienhard, Engines of Our Ingenuity. No. 1305: A = 440. University of Huston, 1998, accessed
November 25, 2015, http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi1305.htm.
57

Silvius Leopold Weiss, Lute Sonatas Volume 8: Nos. 19, 34, and 36, Robert Barto, recorded
November 17-20, 2005, Naxos, 2007, CD.

44

This experimental guitar tuning is compared with lute D minor tuning in Table 2.1. This
illustration demonstrates that this guitar tuning features the pitches of all of the six first courses
of the lute, except for the fifth course (D3). The absence of the representation of this course on
the guitar creates a significant problem for fingerings, because the pitch E3 is not present within
the first six frets of the instrument. The pitch E3 is significantly recurrent in Sonata 36, and with
this tuning is oddly located on the seventh fret of the fifth string and on the 14th fret of the sixth
string.

Table 2.1: Comparison of guitar and lute tunings.

String / Course

Guitar

Lute

F4

F4

D4

D4

A3

A3

F3

F3

A2

D3

D2

A2

For practical reasons, the tuning of the fourth string (F3) is dropped a half-step,
presenting E3 as an open string. This scordatura is shown in Figure 2.14, and is used to
demonstrate the feasibility of an alternative tuning for Sonata 36. Finally, Figure 2.15 presents
the concert pitches of this revised version of the scordatura.

45

Figure 2.14: Revised version of alternative guitar tuning.

Figure 2.15: Concert pitches of the revised version of scordatura.

The Allemande is used to demonstrate this approach. Since the guitar is using a particular
scordatura, the reading of this transcription from the standard guitar notation is particularly
challenging. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a tablature below the standard guitar notation
for a better understanding of fingerings. In order to familiarize the reader with French lute
tablature, the six-line staff below uses letters similar to those found in the facsimile of Weisss
Sonata 36. This demonstration is attached in the Appendix B and Figure 2.16 shows its first page
as an example.

46

Figure 2.16: Demonstration of alternative guitar tuning in standard notation and tablature.

47

CHAPTER 3: STYLISTIC AND IDIOMATIC RESOURCES

Style bris
Style bris is a compositional and performance technique that characterizes seventeenthcentury French lute music. According to David Ledbetter, this shapes the texture of the music by
alternating registers, which denotes the process of playing the notes of music in two or more
parts successively rather than simultaneously.58 Ledbetter also points out that the origin of the
style is found in technique elements of Renaissance and Baroque lutenists, such as Albert de
Rippe, Antoine Francisque, Jean-Baptiste Bessard, Robert Dowland, and Robert Ballard. Their
approach to voice alternation and polyphonic melodies evolved and was eventually crystallized
in the work of Ren Mesangeau, who developed style bris during the 1620s.59
These composers applied the style as a division technique for dances, using no set pattern
for voice alternations. This practice created an unpredictable succession of notes that commonly
restrained the use of vertical chords for cadences. These figurations were meant to add
liveliness and rhythmic interest to the plain original.60 According to Ledbetter, the treble line
rarely possessed a well-defined melodic profile; when it did, it was only for few bars.61 These
stylistic implications influenced Weisss style. Ernst Gottlieb Baron, who was acquainted with

58

David Ledbetter, Harpsichord and Lute Music in 17th-Century France (London: Macmillan Press, 1987),

59

Ibid., 36.

60

Ibid., 33.

61

Ibid., 36.

33.

48

Weiss, claimed that in arpeggios he [Weiss] has an extraordinary full-voiced texture.62 Further
analysis of the tablature of the Courante yields pertinent conclusions about how this effect was
achieveda constant arpeggiation of different voices and registers. The harmony was expressed
horizontally as an articulated melody rather than as vertical blocks of chords. This manner of
writing correlates with the division techniques of the style bris, increasing the rhythm and
articulating both the melody and harmony.

Weisss Legato Style


Weisss compositional approach was highly idiomatic for the lute and permitted him to
develop a unique aesthetic for legato, known as Weisss legato style. This term was coined by
Douglas Alton Smith in his PhD thesis, describing the criteria used by Weiss for textures and
fingerings.63 According to Smith, the concept is focused in two technical applications: 1) string
alternation and arpeggiation, avoiding the placement of more than three notes in sequence on the
same string, and 2) ascending or descending slurs. These two stylistic resources are examined in
this research, for they are critical factors that define the criteria for fingerings in this
transcription.

62

Ernst Gottlieb Baron, Study of the Lute, trans. by Douglas Alton Smith (Redondo Beach: Instrumenta
Antiqua, 1976), 70.
63

1977), 35.

Douglas Alton Smith, "The Late Sonatas of Silvius Leopold Weiss" (PhD diss., Stanford University,

49

String alternation and arpeggiation


The analysis of the Courante of Sonata 36 reveals a systematic use of course alternation
in order to achieve a legato articulation, making the Courante an ideal example for this practical
application of Weisss legato style. The tablature of measures one to three is shown in Figure
3.1a.64 In this excerpt, it is clearly seen how adjacent notes are plucked on different courses
(except for the slur on the last two eighth notes of the example). The guitar transcription follows
this fingering model, for it is required in order to produce the effect of Weisss legato style, as
shown in Figure 3.1b. This example clarifies string alternation, denoting the strings by circled
numbers. However, Figure 3.1b presents minor editorial changes. Exceptions for the alternation
of strings occur in measures 1 and 2. The fourth and fifth notes of measure 1 are expressed in
different strings in the tablature, as are the first two notes of measure 2. In cases like these,
editorial changes aim to avoid left-hand shifts, facilitating the ease of fingerings.

Figure 3.1a. Tablature of Courante, measures 1-3.

64

Silvius Leopold Weiss. Complete Works for Lute: The Dresden Manuscript. Transcription, ed. Tim
Crawford (Kassel: Brenreiter, 2007).

50

Figure 3.1b. Transcription of Courante, measures 1-3. Alternation of strings in arpeggiated texture.

The examination of the tablature is crucial for understanding this stylistic resource. Left
hand fingerings are expressed in the tablature as fixed positions and the rhythmic activity is
executed by the arpeggiation of the chords, frequently holding the same harmony within the
measure. Consequently, practical applications on the guitar reflect this concept by finding
fingerings that can be held as fixed positions, as demonstrated in Figure 3.2.65 Due to differences
in tuning, this alternation cannot be followed exactly as expressed in the tablature. However, the
application of the concept is assumed within the idiomatic resources of the guitar, yielding an
overlapped sonic effect that simulates the resonance of the lute version. As a general approach,
passages that are not fingered with alternation of strings present no more than three adjacent
notes on the same string, as shown in the last three eighth notes of measure 5 in Figure 3.2. In
such cases a slur is included to enhance the legato, avoiding the excessive repetition of plucked
notes on the same string.

65

A complete guitar transcription of the movement is included in the Appendix D.

51

Figure 3.2: Transcription of the Courante, alternation of strings.

52

Slurs
On fretted instruments such as the lute and the guitar, this concept denotes a performance
technique in which two or more notes are played consecutively on the same string, plucking only
the first note. The subsequent note (or notes) are executed by either hammering on (ascending
slur) or pulling off (descending slur) the same string. This technique resembles the vocal slurring
of notes, in which a single syllable is to be sung to several notes.66 In Barons study, slurs are
referred to as an ornamental practice rather than an articulation resource.67 In German
terminology, the ascending slur was called Einfall, and the descending, Abzug. In addition Baron
points out that this technique was widely used in lute music, for it comes out very naturally and
in a singing manner on the lute.68
In Weisss music, slurs are not limited to intervals of seconds, but they may include
further leaps as well. Regarding this idiomatic usage, Smith states that slurs may connect a high
tone (on the seventh fret of the first string) and the open string.69 Although the slurring of two
notes at such a distance is not common in this transcription of Sonata 36, a representative case is
found in the Allegro.
Figure 3.3 shows the transcription of measures 23 and 24 of the Allegro. Even though in
the tablature these notes are written on different strings, the diminished-fifth leap from the

66

Oxford Music Online, s.v. Slur, accessed November 15, 2015, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com

67

Ibid., 141.

68

Ernst Gottlieb Baron, Study of the Lute, trans. by Douglas Alton Smith (Redondo Beach: Instrumenta
Antiqua, 1976), 140.
69

1977), 38.

Douglas Alton Smith, "The Late Sonatas of Silvius Leopold Weiss" (PhD diss., Stanford University,

53

second to the third sixteenth-note of measure 23 is slurred in the guitar version. This editorial
alteration mirrors Weisss practice of slurring larger intervals. The ease added by this slur
significantly simplifies the passage for both hands.

Figure 3.3: Transcription of Allegro, measures 23-24. Slurs.

In addition, the slurs on the third beat of measure 23 and on the first and third beats of
measure 24 are not written as slurs in the tablature. In the latter the pitches are expressed on
different strings instead. In cases like these, the addition of a slur not present in the tablature
follows the logic of the avoidance of excessive plucking on the same stringa stylistic trend
proper of Weisss style.
Placement of slurs within rhythmic patterns is not always consistent due to idiomatic
implications. In Figure 3.4a, the counterpoint follows a 10-5 interval pattern, which is described
below the staff. In the upper voice, the diminutions of the sequence are divided into two parts: 1)
a stepwise descending motion spanning a third, heretofore referred to as Motive 1, and 2) an
ascending leap that returns to the initial pitch. This diminution pattern is transposed diatonically
by descending stepwise motion until it ends at the last beat of measure seven. In order to avoid
left-hand shifts in Figure 3.4a, Weisss use of slurs within Motive 1 is inconsistent, because an
idiomatic approach for fingerings considers also string alternations. Therefore, the slurring

54

within Motive 1 presents variations in the fourth beat of measure 6, and in the second and third
beats of measure 7, combining both slurs and string alternations.

Figure 3.4a: Diplomatic transcription of the Allegro, measures 6 and 7. Inconsistent use of slurs.

Consequently, the guitar transcription follows this criterion for fingerings. In Figure 3.4b,
the three-note slur of Motive 1 occurs only one time on the first beat of measure 7. In order to
facilitate left-hand fingerings, further occurrences of Motive 1 present an indistinct combination
of slurs and alternation of strings.

Figure 3.4b: Guitar transcription of the Allegro, measures 6 and 7. Inconsistent use of slurs.

Two important aspects need to be considered in situations that alter the slurring as written
in the tablature: 1) the natural dynamic and 2) the legato implications of slurs. Regarding the
former, it is understood that the first note of a slur is the only one that is plucked. Consequently,

55

the following note or notes can either retain or gradually, slightly decrease the intensity of the
volume. The latter considers Barons claim about the slurring of tones, which comes out very
naturally and in a singing manner on the lute.70 In vocal performance practices, slurs are
achieved by singing two or more notes in one breath, smoothly connecting the pitches. This
legato effect is mirrored in Weisss legato style and may be achieved on the guitar through a
special care with involuntary accents on plucked notes of slurs.71
More than prescribing an accent on the plucked note, this description provides a hint
about how to interpret the slurred notes from the tablature, especially when those notes are no
longer played as slurs in the guitar transcription. Following the natural dynamic shape of a slur is
crucial for a proper interpretation of Weisss legato style, for an arbitrary accent within a
particular phrase may produce an odd interruption in the flow of the music. This idea is relevant,
considering that the guitar has a higher string tension than the lute. This difference is particularly
important because the guitars string tension may intensify the dynamic range naturally produced
by slurs, thus creating involuntary accents within the motive. In most cases in Figure 3.4b, the
slur is placed at the beginning of the motive, which facilitates the legato performance because the
slur is plucked on the first note of the motive. However, on the last beat of measure 6 and the last
beat of measure 7, the slur is performed on the last two notes of Motive 1. In situations like
these, the slur should be played discretely, without interrupting the flow of the legato.

instead.

70

Baron, 141.

71

In this study, it is recommended to avoid the use of rest strokes, favoring free strokes in the right hand

56

Figure 3.5a: Semi-diplomatic transcription of Bourre. Slurs.

57

Figure 3.5b: Guitar transcription of Bourre. Slurs.

58

Among the movements of Sonata 36, the Bourre stands out for its recurrent use of slurs.
Even though the guitar transcription presents minor editorial changes, its criteria for fingerings
and slur placement reflect the articulation aesthetic used in the tablature. Figure 3.5a shows the
semi-diplomatic transcription of the Bourre, where the slurs have been placed exactly where
they appear in the facsimile. A comparative analysis with the guitar transcription, presented in
Figure 3.5b, proves that most of the slurs remain in the same place in the guitar version. Editorial
changes occur in measures 31, 44, 48, and 56, where the original slurred notes are expressed on
alternated strings.

Combined resources
A particular type of pulled-off slur occurs during the Allegro, combining both elements
proper of Weisss legato styleslurs and alternation of strings. In these cases, the pulled-off note
of the slur is released after another note has been plucked on a different string. Smith refers to
this matter explaining that [i]n a few instances a slur in Weisss tablature will require the
performer to hold a tone for a beat or more after it has been struck and then release it to a lower
tone.72 Figure 3.6a exemplifies this situation in measures 41 and 42, denoting the slurring and
string changes, while Figure 3.6b shows the overlapping sonic effect of the same excerpt.

Figure 3.6a. Semi-diplomatic transcription of Allegro, measures 41 and 42. Overlapped slurs.
72

Smith, 37.

59

Figure 3.6b. Transcription of Allegro, measures 41 and 42. Sonic effect of overlapped slurs.

In order to reflect this idiomatic lute practice, the guitar transcription defines fingerings
that mirror this effect. In Figure 3.6c, the guitar transcription of measures 41 and 42 is presented
specifying fingerings for overlapped slurs and string alternations.

Figure 3.6c. Guitar transcription of Allegro, measures 41 and 42. Overlapped slurs.

Campanella is an idiomatic technique of any plucked-string instrument in which a


passage of adjacent or repeated notes is achieved by drawing the notes from different strings.73 In
the Grove Music Online dictionary, David Ledbetter defines that [t]he notes of scale passages
are allowed to ring on, one melting into the other in the manner of a harp or bells, hence the term

73

This effect is similar to the overlegato on keyboard instruments.

60

campanellas (little bells) used for it by Gaspar Sanz (1675).74 This alternation of string creates
an overlapped legato effect used by Weiss in short scale passages, as shown in Figure 3.7a.75 In
this excerpt, campanella is used after the third beat of measure 21 until the first beat of measure
22. Considering that this technique is derived from one of the most characteristic features of
Weisss legato style, the application of campanella in this guitar transcription follows the criteria
used by Weiss for fingerings. Figure 3.7b exemplifies the practical use of this concept in the
guitar transcription of the same musical excerpt.

Figure 3.7a: Tablature of Allegro, measures 21 and 22. Campanella.

Figure 3.7b: Guitar transcription of Allegro, measures 21 and 22. Campanella.

74

Oxford Music Online, s.v. Campanella, accessed November 15, 2015,


http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com
75

Silvius Leopold Weiss. Complete Works for Lute: The Dresden Manuscript. Transcription, ed. Tim
Crawford (Kassel: Brenreiter, 2007).

61

Figure 3.8 presents the first page of the guitar transcription of the Allegro.76 Technically,
this movement is the most challenging of Sonata 36. This feature demands the combined use of
all of the concepts discussed in this chapter, thus integrating slurs, alternation of strings, and
campanella. Even though most of the fingerings follow the tablature model, editorial changes are
made in many cases. However, any alteration incorporates the aesthetic concepts of Weisss
legato style, developing a guitar sonority that mirrors the sonic effect of the lute.

76

A complete guitar transcription of the movement is included in the Appendix D.

62

Figure 3.8: Guitar transcription of Allegro. Fingering criteria.

63

CHAPTER 4: ORNAMENTATION

Weiss developed the most significant part of his output during the first half of the
eighteenth century, thus absorbing ornamental practices of the period. During this time,
ornaments were divided into two categories: essential ornaments and diminutions.77 According
to Smiles thesis Improvised Ornamentation in Late Eighteenth-Century Music: An
Examination of Contemporary Evidence, the former were ornaments of fixed form and small
melodic range that can either be indicated on the score or tablature, or not indicated at all and
left to the improvisation of the performer.78 The latter were free-form, wide-range ornaments,
which were written out by the composer or added extemporaneously by the performer.79
Mid-eighteenth-century ornamental practices in Europe were varied and depended on
regional trends, mainly regarded as the French, the Italian, and the German styles. As a general
description, the French style was based on essential ornamentsthe agrmentswhich were
denoted by specific signs in the score. This practice left practically no space for the inclusion of
improvised embellishments.80 The Italian style considered both essential ornaments and
diminutions. The latter were a characteristic trend of the Italian, who were almost free to add
77

Essential ornaments were also known as graces, agrments (French for ornaments), effetti (Italian for
effects), wesentliche Manieren (German for essential manners). Diminutions were also known as arbitrary
ornaments, divisions, broderies (French for embroidery), passi (Italian for steps), willkhrliche Manieren (German
for arbitrary manners).
78

Smiles, 5.

79

Ibid., 8.

80

Ibid., 13.

64

ornaments . . . within the boundaries of taste and decorum[.]81 Finally the German style was a
point of balance between the previous two regional practices. The German used essential
ornaments, but allowed the performer to realize diminutions, though in a more restricted way
than the Italian. Through consideration of these historical and stylistic traits, including analysis
of both essential ornaments and diminutions, it is possible to draw conclusions about ornamental
performance practice in Weisss Sonata 36.

Essential Ornaments in Weisss Tablature


Analysis of the tablature of Weisss sonatas provides evidence about signs for essential
ornaments. Embellishments used in these sonatas are listed below:
Short trill and appoggiatura from above
Extended trill
Appoggiatura from below
Two-string appoggiatura
Port de voix
Mordent
Slur
Vibrato
Arpeggiation of chords.

81

Ibid., 13.

65

Considering research by Weiss scholar Tim Crawford, the list above incorporates all of the
essential ornaments found in the Dresden manuscript.82 There is, however, an explanation of
each embellishment used in Sonata 36 provided below, considering its notation and actual
realization. It is relevant to note that the placement of ornaments before or on the beat is
obscured by the stylistic nature of lute performance practice. This is due to the fact that [g]reat
freedom of rhythm, where rubato as well as arpeggiation often blurred the location of the beat,
was the essence of style luth.83

Short trill and appoggiatura from above


Both the short trill and the appoggiatura from above are written as a single curved line
beside the ornamented note. The short trill is exemplified on the third beat of measure 1 of the
Sarabande, as shown in Figure 4.1a. The realization of the short trill is presented in Figure 4.1b.

Figure 4.1a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 1. Short trill.

82

Silvius Leopold Weiss. Complete Works for Lute: The Dresden Manuscript. Vol. 5, ed. Tim Crawford
(Kassel: Brenreiter, 2007), XXVI.
83

Frederick Neumann, Ornamentation in Baroque and Post-Baroque Music: With Special Emphasis on J.
S. Bach (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978), 67.

66

Figure 4.1b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 1. Realization of short trill.

According to Crawford, the curved single line beside a note also may represent an
appoggiatura from above.84 In such cases, the appoggiatura works either as a repetition of a
previous note or as a passing tone, as exemplified in Figures 4.2a and 4.2b. The tone iteration
happens on the third eighth note of measure 20 of the Allemande. Subsequently, the use of the
appoggiatura from above as a passing tone connects the sixth eighth tone of the same measure
with the next note. In this case, the descending major third from A3 to F3 becomes the stepwise
motion A3, G3, and F3.

Figure 4.2a: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 20. Appoggiature from above.

Figure 4.2b: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 20. Realization of appoggiature from above.

84

Ibid., XXVI.

67

Extended trill
The extended trill is written as a double curved line beside the ornamented note, as shown
in Figure 4.3a. In order to mimic its practice on the lute, the guitar transcription uses slurs for the
notes of the ornament. Figure 4.3b indicates the actual realization of the embellishment.

Figure 4.3a: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 3. Extended trill.

Figure 4.3b: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 3. Realization of extended trill.

Appoggiatura from below


This embellishment is written in the tablature as a curved line below a single ornamented
note, as exemplified on the third beat of measure 22 in Figure 4.4a. Its realization is achieved by
slurring the lower neighbor tone of the ornamented note to its resolution, as shown in Figure
4.4b.

68

Figure 4.4a: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 22. Appoggiatura from below.

Figure 4.4b: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 22. Realization of appoggiatura from below.

Two string appoggiatura


This ornament is a type of written appoggiatura, in which the two notes of a minor or
major seconda dissonant dyadare notated as if meant to be played simultaneously on two
separate strings, but instead are played one after the other, from the lower to the upper note. This
is shown on the first beat in measure 6 of the Sarabande in Figures 4.5a and 4.5b.

Figure 4.5a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 6. Two string appoggiatura.

69

Figure 4.5b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 6. Realization of two string appoggiatura.

Port de voix
In Weisss tablature, the notation of this ornament is very similar to the appoggiatura
from below. While the latter is a curved line below a single ornamented note, the port de voix is
a curved line below two notes playing the same pitch on different courses. One of these courses
is played open and the other is ornamented in a fashion very similar to the appoggiatura from
below, slurring from a lower neighbor tone. The simultaneity of the two courses creates an
overlapped effect highly idiomatic for the lute, but not for the guitar. Therefore, this guitar
transcription interprets the occurrences of ports de voix as appoggiature from below. This is
shown on the second beat in measure 2 in the semi-diplomatic transcription in Figure 4.6a and in
the guitar transcription in 4.6b.

Figure 4.6a: Semi-diplomatic transcription of Bourre, measures 1 and 2. Port de voix.

70

Figure 4.6b: Guitar transcription of Bourre, measures 1 and 2. Port de voix realized as appoggiatura from below.

Mordent
In Weisss tablature this ornament is written as an x right beside the ornamented note.
Its realization is like an inverted trill, starting from the upper tonethe ornamented noteto the
lower neighbor note. Figures 4.7a and 4.7b exemplify the embellishment and its realization on
the third beat in measure 26 of the Allemande.

Figure 4.7a: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 26. Mordent.

Figure 4.7b: Guitar transcription of Allemande, measure 26. Realization of mordent.

Slurs
For a complete discussion on slurs, please see Chapter 3.

71

Diminutions
Diminutions are ornaments of free form that need to be treated with a proper
understanding of compositional techniques, because they expand the melodic range, rhythmic
variety, and arpeggiated texture.85 The diminution practice divides long notes into a series of
shorter notes that are superficially used for ornamental purposes and that do not have harmonic
structural relevance. This study defines four techniques for the development of diminutions,
which are listed below:
Arpeggiation
Filling in intervals
Transfer of register
Rhythmic elaboration of motives
It is important to remark that in most of the cases these techniques may work in
combination. In addition, the eventual incorporation of more notes will create an increase in the
rhythmic pace and melodic variety. These developments must consider the Affekt and mood of
the ornamented piece. Due to the complexity of the Affektenlehre, a thorough explanation of this
German concept is beyond the scope of this document. However, a comprehensive analysis of
the topic has been done by Frederick Wessel in his doctoral dissertation The Affektenlehre in
the Eighteenth Century,86 and in works by other writers.

85

A complete realization of diminutions in standard guitar notation in both the Allemande and the
Sarabande of Sonata 36 is provided in the appendix of this document.
86

1955).

Frederick T. Wessel, The Affektenlehre in the Eighteenth Century (PhD diss., Indiana University,

72

Arpeggiation
This approach to diminutions expresses horizontally chords that originally were
presented as blocks. This procedure is exemplified on the first two beats in measure 1 of the
Sarabande in Figures 4.8a and 4.8b.

Figure 4.8a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 1. Blocks of chords.

Figure 4.8b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 1. Arpeggiation.

Filling in intervals
This diminution practice transforms a melodic interval larger than a second into a
stepwise motion between the intervals original notes. On the first two beats of Figure 4.9a, the
top voice leaps from G4 to Bb4. In Figure 4.9b, this leap is filled in by a passing tone (A4) that
connects the two notes.

73

Figure 4.9a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 13. Ascending leap from G4 to B4.

Figure 4.9b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 13. Filled-in interval.

Transfer of register
This technique transfers the register of a note to a higher or lower octave. Once the note
is transferred, the original register is reached back through stepwise motion. Figures 4.10a and
4.10b show an example of the transfer of the register to the higher octave. Figure 4.10a shows
the unornamented version of measure 25 of the Sarabande, while Figure 4.10b, exemplifies the
same measure embellished with transfer of register. Thus, in Figure 4.10b the first note of the top
voice reaches over its higher octave and then moves stepwise downward to its original register
within the same beat.

74

Figure 4.10a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 25.

Figure 4.10b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 25. Transfer of register to higher octave.

Figures 4.11a and 4.11b present the same diminution technique, but in this case applied
to the lower octave. The second and third beats in measure 2 of the Sarabande are realized as a
melodic transfer of register from G4 to G3, as shown in Figure 4.11b. This shift is supported on
the second beat by the arpeggiation of G4, E4, and C4 on the longer notes of the dotted rhythms,
with passing tones F4 and D4.87 A leap takes the melody down to G3 right after the first note of
the third beat, and subsequently the melodic line ascends diatonically as a scale from G3 to G4.

Figure 4.11a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 2.

87

In this study, this is considered as an arpeggio in a deeper level, excluding the passing tones F2 and D2.

75

Figure 4.11b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measure 2. Transfer of register to lower octave.

Rhythmic elaboration of motives


The last technique for diminutions modifies the rhythm of musical cells, but does not
alter their contour. This enables the recognition of these motives after the elaboration, which is
due to the fact that the motives melodic characteristics remain unaltered. A practical application
of this technique is seen in Figures 4.12a and 4.12b in measures 3 and 4 of the Sarabande. Figure
4.12a presents the melodic motive G4-F4-E4-F4 in the top voice on the third beat in measure 3.
Subsequently, the last F4 leaps a rising major sixth to D5 on the first beat of the next measure.
Figure 4.12b exemplifies a rhythmic compression of the motive G4-F4-E4-F4. In this example,
the melodic cells duration is reduced to half its original value. This elaboration allows room for
a combined ornamental technique, thus filling in a major sixth from F4 to D5.

Figure 4.12a: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measures 3 and 4.

76

Figure 4.12b: Guitar transcription of Sarabande, measures 3 and 4. Rhythmic elaboration of motive.

77

CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION

Scrutiny of the original Baroque lute tablature is crucial for the creation of a scholarly
guitar transcription. The tablature contains much information that can be applied to a guitar
transcriptiona process that demands a thorough understanding of technical and stylistic issues.
This process was executed using three steps, outlined below, thus developing a methodology for
creating guitar transcriptions that may be applied to a wide variety of Baroque lute repertoire.
The organization of this three-step guidelines has pedagogical implications, since it follows a
logical order for addressing the questions of what to play, how to play it, and what to add. Thus,
the analyses start from the basics for transcribing lute Baroque music, passing through a more
complex topic such as stylistic resources, and finalizing with ornamental practices, for
embellishments are the last addition in a performance preparation.
The first step of this method was developed in Chapter 2, and addressed the use of
techniques for solving problems that arise when transcribing Baroque lute music in tablature
form into standard musical notation for guitar. In order to organize this process, it was necessary
to create a semi-diplomatic transcription for two reasons:88 1) it facilitates the guitarists reading
by showing the pitches, rhythms, slurs, and ornaments expressed in the tablature in standard
musical notation, and 2) it defines the pitches which are within the guitar range. Consequently,
editorial changes in the guitar transcription rely on the semi-diplomatic transcription for
rendering pitches and rhythms, placement of ornamental signs, and octave displacements.
88

For a definition of semi-diplomatic transcription please see Chapter 2.

78

The second step in this process analyzed stylistic considerations, which were addressed in
Chapter 3. This step mainly addressed Weisss legato style, which consistently uses string
alternation and slurs in order to produce the particular effect of legato. Even if these two styles
cannot always be reproduced on the guitar because of idiomatic reasonsbased on tuning
differences between the lute and the guitarWeisss legato style can guide the election of guitar
fingerings. Thus, the guitar is able to achieve a similar type of resonance available to the lute in
Weisss music. This idea is particularly important, for it implies that elements of Weisss legato
style can be applied to a variety of pieces, regardless of the style or key of a specific piece of
music. Consequently, in cases of Weisss music composed originally in a key that is idiomatic
for the lute but not for the guitar, the style may be applied to a transposed version of the piece.
For example, the semi-diplomatic transcription of a suite in Eb majoran odd key on the guitar
because the occurrence of common tones between open-string notes and pitches of the tonic triad
is reduced to onemay be transposed to D major, a key regularly used in guitar music. In this
case, a satisfactory application of Weisss legato style will consider both the tablature and the
semi-diplomatic transcription. Adherence to Weisss legato style will guide guitar fingerings in
the transposed version of the music.
Finally, Chapter 4 of this document analyzed the last step of these guidelines: the
execution of ornaments. It is important to note that an original, creative approach to diminutions
must not be limited to the methodology shown in Chapter 4, which has been created from the
authors personal perspective, and with a demonstrative purpose. Students are encouraged to
expand this scope in a personal way within the extent of their understanding of compositional
techniques.

79

Using the techniques provided in this document, students of intermediate to advanced


levels should be able to produce their own transcriptions of Baroque lute music. This study
addresses specifically Silvius Leopold Weisss music. However, it is certainly possible that the
techniques contained in this document may be used with other Baroque lute composers music.

80

APPENDIX A: SUGGESTED PRELUDE FOR SONATA 36

81

82

83

APPENDIX B: SEMI-DIPLOMATIC TRANSCRIPTION

84

85

86

87

88

89

90

91

92

93

94

95

96

APPENDIX C: DEMONSTRATION OF ALTERNATIVE TUNING

97

98

99

100

APPENDIX D: GUITAR TRANSCRIPTION

101

102

103

104

105

106

107

108

109

110

111

112

113

114

APPENDIX E: REALIZATION OF ESSENTIAL ORNAMENTS IN THE ALLEMANDE AND


THE SARABANDE

115

116

117

118

119

APPENDIX F: REALIZATION OF DIMINUTIONS IN THE ALLEMANDE AND THE


SARABANDE

120

121

122

123

124

125

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diss., University of Iowa, 1975.

Barbosa-Lima, Carlos. "The Art of Transcription." Music Journal 34, no. 5 (May 1 1976): 32.

Baron, Ernst Gottlieb. Study of the Lute. Translated by Douglas Alton Smith. Redondo Beach:
Instrumenta Antiqua, 1976.

Bastian, Darren Bruce. "Bach Transcription for Marimba: Creating an Authentic Performance
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No. 2: Grave, BWV 1003, Using Guitar and Lute Transcriptions as Models." DMA
document, University of Arizona, 2009.

Brown, Howard M. "Introductory Guitar Transcriptions." Early Music 2, no. 1 (January 1974):
37-39.

Cramer, Christopher Charles, A Transcription and Performance Edition of Silvius Leopold


Weiss Suonata in A major, S-C 47 (Dresden 22) for Guitar. DMA document,
University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006.

Crawford, Tim. "18th-Century Lutes." Early Music 22, no. 3 (August 1994): 527-528.

Crittenden, David Todd. Silvius Leopold Weisss Lute Sonatas 20 and 33 from Dresden
Manuscript 2841, V. I in the Schsische Landesbibliothek: A Transcription and a
Performance Edition for Classical Guitar. DMA document, University of Georgia, 1996.

Koonce, Frank, ed., The Solo Lute Works of Johann Sebastian Bach. San Diego: Neil A. Kjos,
1989.

126

Ledbetter, David. Harpsichord and Lute Music in 17th Century France. London: Macmillan,
1987.

Legl, Frank. Between Grottkau and Neuburg: New Information on the Biography of Silvius
Leopold Weiss. Journal of the Lute Society of America 31 (1998): 49-55.

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