Sanz: Folias

In Baroque, Baroque guitar, Chords Guitar, Gaspar Sanz, notation, tablature, transcription 46 views
Sanz: Folias,4.50 / 5 ( 2votes )

Sanz: Folias Another piece from Sanz’ Libro segundo de cifras sobre la Guiterra (1675), plate 3.

The folia is a harmonic progression used in the 17th century on which variations were developed. The chords were i – V – i – VII – III – VII – i – V. In this arrangement the chords in the first 8 bars follow the pattern so: Gm – D – F – Bb – F – Gm – D. The progression is then repeated throughout the piece.

Sanz’ Folias: You can see a facsimile here.

   Sanz’ Baroque guitar was tuned rather like the modern guitar, but with the 4th and 5 courses (of paired strings) an octave higher – the re-entrant tuning.  This means that there wasn’t really a bass line when played on a period instrument. Looking at the original tabs, however, the notation for the “lower” strings often gives the impression of a bass line. This transcription is an experiment to see what happens when, where appropriate, they are treated as such – as if this were a piece for lute or vihuela.  Not what Sanz intended, of course, but it results in a perfectly acceptable arrangement.

    In other places in the piece, the “lower” strings obviously contribute to the melody line. It was a peculiarity of Sanz’ tuning that the third course might have had a “requinta” string an octave higher than its “normal” partner, which could be preferentially plucked when contributing to the melody. All very confusing, and lots of scope for interpretation.

    The Baroque tuning provides the opportunity for “campanella” playing, where successive notes are played on different strings and held down to give a ringing sound. Sanz used this approach in some places, but certainly not throughout the piece: in many bars a line of notes is played on a single string. You will see that I have tried to set some campanella-style passages where they fit the low-G ukulele, but they are not necessarily where the composer put his.
    Interpretation of graces follows James Tyler, p. 32. They may be omitted if desired.

   You can find more information on the transcription process in my post here.

    There are four sections. Section A is arranged in “lute style”. In section B, the first 8 bars show the “high voice” option, the second 8 bars the “low voice” option. Section C emphasises the campanella style, so you will want disregard the shown note lengths and hold them for as long as possible. In section D, bar 53 is set high and bar 56 low.

   It’s not too difficult an arrangement, and in many places could be made easier (if not quite so good) by playing F on the 2nd string rather than on the 3rd.

   You can download the arrangements in the following formats:

  • pdf (between the lines)
  • pdf (on the lines)
  • MIDI
  • TablEdit

   By the way, Rob MacKillop has written a fine arrangement for re-entrant uke, with much use of the campanella style, in his 20 Spanish Baroque Pieces. Strongly recommended.

Tags: #folias

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