Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

The Five-Course Guitar and Seventeenth-Century Harmony: Alfabeto and Italian Song


This dissertation examines the repertory of printed Italian song with the chordsymbol notation for five-course guitar known as alfabeto. This repertory spans the first half of the seventeenth century, representing the notated trace of a widespread unwritten tradition of semi-improvised song and dance that influenced both the performance and composition of printed Italian song in the seventeenth century. An examination of the relationship between the alfabeto symbols and the notated music reveals varied approaches to alfabeto notation in these songbooks. In some, particularly the Roman and Neapolitan editions from the 1610s and 20s, the alfabeto symbols are incompletely integrated into the music, and are set with little or no attention to their practical value for the guitarist. But in later prints, particularly from Venice in the 1620s-1650s, the alfabeto suggests a new understanding of and influence from the dance-song...

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