Gorlier: Autre canon

In 16th century, arrangement, Chords Guitar, notation, Renaissance guitar, tablature, transcription 4384 views

Gorlier: Autre canon A second piece by Simon Gorlier, published in 1551, which has made me think at least twice.

Facsimile of the original, first 17 bars.

Transcription for the ukulele, first 14 bars. The full score, tabs and notation, can be downloaded from the link below.

The canon is set, I think, in the mode of A Aeolian (i.e. the scale you get when playing the white keys of a piano starting on A), but I’m not sure whether that mode was particularly current in 1551. The only divergences are the cadence in bars 23 to 25, and the Picardy third at the conclusion. The upper voice starts on B, and is followed one bar later by the lower voice starting on E. They continue ± in parallel, but displaced by one bar, throughout the piece.

The same bars, but with the bass line displaced one bar to the left. The full analysis can be downloaded from the link below.

There is another level of interpretation, though. What at first looks like a simple exercise in 2-voice counterpoint is actually quite cunning. In some places we do have a simple upper and lower voice, running in parallel a bar apart. Elsewhere one can detect scalar passages which pass from the upper to the lower voice.

BARS     Scale passage
 8 – 11 D5 – C4
11 – 13 C5 – C4
13 – 16 D5 – B4
15 – 16 B4 – F4
16 – 18 C5 – C4
18 – 20 C5 – C4
26 – 27 C5 – G4
28 – 31 E5 – E4
32 – 34 D5 – D4
34 – 36 E5 – E4
36 – 38 D5 – D4
49 – 52 C5 – C4
62 – 65 D5 – C4
65 – 66 C5 – C4
69 – 71 B4 – C4
71 – 72 C5 – C4

For my own use I have to resort to colouring in a transcript to show these passages: I include below a link to a pdf, suitably coloured.

In performance it is not easy to make these passages coherent: as one line descends through the strings and voices, and another comes in above it to make a duplet. Good luck!
Available to download free in the following formats:
  • pdf (notation & tabs)
  • pdf with scalar passages highlighted (tabs)
  • pdf showing canon analysis (notation)
  • TablEdit
  • MIDI

There is a beautifully clear facsimile here:

The piece has been transcribed for classical guitar by Keith Calmes: Guitar music of the 16th Century, 2008, Mel Bay Publications.

Tags: #autre #canon #gorlier

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