The Role of the Guitar in the Rise of Monody: The Earliest Manuscripts
This item appeared in The Journal of Seventeenth Century Music in Volume 9, no. 1
Documentary evidence shows that the “Spanish” guitar was employed by several of the composers and singers of early monody before 1600. The technique and tuning of this guitar yields a strictly chordal accompaniment, devoid of contrapuntal voicing, and its fret system enables it to play in remote keys with relative ease. The earliest sources of its characteristic alfabeto notation date from the 1580s and were produced in southern Italy or by musicians from that region who traveled to the north. As an early form of monody accompaniment, it predates basso continuo notation and may well have served as the model for...
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