Music session - 20th May 2017 (Tuesday!)

Music session - 20th May 2017 (Tuesday!)


Sympkyn of the Moor, hammered dulcimer
Katherine of Glastonbury, harp
Elena Harper, bray harp, alto rebec
Katherina Weyssin, treble viol da gamba
Emrys Tudor, violin, viola d'amore

Tunes played:

Started with Lorrayne Almain, which is getting back up to speed nicely overall.

Revived Madame Sosilia's Almain, which needed a bit of rust scraped off. Will practice again next week.

The we did New Almain, of which we're definitely getting the hang.

Revived Black Almain to see what would happen.

Then blatted through Earl of Essex Measures.

Finally we played Pease bransle and realised that we needed to make a decision on where to play it.

This throws back to the comment made about a month ago where I wrote,

"It was suggested that we play all bransles in the same "key" (to use the modern vernacular), specifically with F sharps. This is to make it easy to play them back to back in the future when two of us are on harps without levers.*" 

I have since edited this post to include:

"*Edit: this is not entirely accurate any more as we have since decided to try and use (where possible) the "key" in which the original manuscript is written. Usually this means either (a) no sharps or flats or (b) has B flats, but often accidentals (often F#s) will turn up in the melody."

The point of this is consistency and where possible historical accuracy, especially necessary when one bears in mind that some tunes I have taught myself by ear and therefore may have placed them rather arbitrarily, pitchwise.

In the instance of Pease bransle, the extant manuscript that we consulted during this discussion (online fascimile thereof) places the tune starting on Bflat. We tried it in this place and decided it was quite a lot easier on most instruments to nudge it slightly so that it starts on a C. This is where we will be playing it in future. It is worth noting that there is a slight deviation in the tune as far as what my ear believed it to be vs what was on the manuscript, specifically that the sixth and seventh notes are actually a tone apart, rather than a semitone. Starting on C, this makes the notes in question an E and then an F# rather than an F. After playing this several times through we decided we liked the sound of it and would adopt this in future.

I will publish a lead sheet with this amendment in due course.

Next week is likely to focus on Old Measures again, largely due to the fact that we understand the incoming Crown is of Tudor ilk and these tunes correspond with that fact rather nicely.

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