A substantial amount of early music for the guitar remains unknown to modern performers and audiences. In recent years, however, many fine musicologists, scholars, and performers of period instruments have provided a wealth of new materials--facsimile reprints, critical editions, translations of early treatises, and other resources--with which we may now begin to rediscover this music. Nevertheless, many may feel intimidated by the prospect of sorting through and learning to use such resources for the first time. For the uninitiated, just knowing where to start can be difficult.
Scholarly editions, which serve different purposes than performance editions, are not often designed with the modern guitarist in mind. For instance, Renaissance vihuela and lute tablatures are usually transcribed with the open first string as G, not E. Most are presented in double-staff notation, a medium that is superior for realizing counterpoint but unconventional as guitar notation. Furthermore, these editions sometimes give idealized, but not realistic, solutions for voicing, note duration, and other matters that need to be considered within the limitations of our instrument. Guitarists who try to play from these editions essentially are faced with the task of transcribing the transcription!
This 188-page anthology is designed as a companion volume to The Baroque Guitar in Spain and the New World (MB21122) and includes representative selections from the seven books for vihuela that were published in Spain between 1536 and 1576. As well as being fun and entertaining music for all to enjoy, these collections are intended to help bridge the gap between scholarly editions and performance editions by providing a hands-on introduction to tablature transcription and to issues concerning historically informed performance on the modern guitar.