Lachrimae 1 of 3

by Gerardo Siere

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  • Hello everyone, it's good to see you again. Today I´m bringing a style that you may be unfamiliar with. This piece, the lachrimae Pavan was composed by John Dowland in the 17 century. You may find it strange but this piece is very popular, there are hundreds of manuscripts and arrangements over this song and it has served as inspiration for many composers.

    This version it´s a transcription for guitar from the lute tablature so there are some things you may find useful to know. The lute has a lot of strings so it is not posible to play many chords "plaque", so many chords are played arpegiated. You´ll notice I´m using a capo, it gaves the guitar a lute flavor, it doesn´t have any relationship with tuning. In 17 century nylon or steel string didn´t exist, instead strings made of gut were used, so the tuning was whatever tension those strings could resist.

    The renaisance music is very linear and have a poliphonic texture, we´ll have to handle with a lot of voices (lines). This is modal music, the tonal system as a hierarchy of grades wasn´t the norm until the late barroque, be aware off this if you find strange some chord, sequence or their placement.Oftenly chords are the result of the coincidence off the lines, composer of that period were very interested in contrapunct and intervalic teory to deal with that coincidence, the function of the harmony was to share and reforce the vibe of the text. Rennaisance music is mostly based on vocal music, check out http://youtube.com/watch?v=f7vLOjzG4no or look for a song called flow my tears and you will find it familiar. Being based on vocal music means than the phrasing is based on the lyrics and not on armonic structure.

    You will need to tune the third string to F#.

    Try playing, or better singing each line alone, as you can see, different lines has different rythm and stem direction in the standart notation score, also they jump very very little, except the bass, we are dealing with vocal music here.

    Try to play this piece with very light touch, and avoid rest strokes, they don´t fit in this style.

    In the standart notation score I include several alternative fingerings, specially for the right hand.

    Its a good idea to feel the in two beats per measure, but first you should try studying with 8 beats per measure, so you´ll know where are all the notes placed.

    For the fast dominant typical cadence, the rythm is not so strict, remember we are following a "singer", so we let him take his time.

    The last thing I must talk you about are teorical values, there are rythm values in the score that are not posible to maintain to the fullest, so we must make a choice of what do we sacrifice, and we must do it so the listener dont realice there is any note missing. I´ll talk about it in the others videos.

    Notation:

    Right hand

    i= index
    m= medium
    a= ring
    p= thumb


    Left hand

    1= First finger
    2= Second finger
    3= Third finger
    4= Fourth finger

    Hope you like it. Good luck.

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