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Toccata III - Girolamo Kapsberger (1611) - G minor

For Solo (instrumental or vocal part)



Uploaded on Jun 18, 2018

edit: i have implemented voicing and the baroque trill at last.

This is my first real transcription and arrangement, which was pretty challenging for a learner. Two days ago I wanted to play some Kapsberger on guitar, specifically his Toccatas, because they are very well written and contains many innovations, flavours and colors, but the one edition available was nowhere near reasonably priced, so I had to do this myself. However I wasn't in possession of a baroque lute or knew anyone close, so I had to learn how to read Baroque tablature from scratch, here I must thank Mr. Rob Mckillop for his helps.

I've started with transcribing Kapsberger's 400 years old "Libro primo d'intavolatvra di lavto" fret by fret, it was easy enough once you knew all the symbols and indicators, and the layout of Baroque lute. And it helps that Italian tablature kinda looks like modern tabs, which is the opposite of French Baroque tabs.

I have then attained raw transcription of the Toccata III. With the help of musescore I translated it into Piano clefs. This was the easy part, the real technique lies in the arrangement of the piece, of which I lack. You have to be a serious guitarist and arranger to do this properly, and I must say that I am neither. Therefore what you see in front of you might be very problematic in terms of guitaristic idiom, or music theory perfection.

My method was to remove all the impossible bass notes at first, such as D2, therefore the first problem I dealth with was octaves. Other than the impossible notes, I had to shift some of the notes in some measures up an octave (in the beginning I had already shifted the whole piece down an octave), in order for them to be reasonably playable. One interesting part is the succesion that starts from measure 28, and then again in measure 37, here I have shifted the notes up an octave, to their original places, because firstly it was a lot harder to do it in the previous octave, and secondly and more importantly, I think this shift gives a character, a color to the parts, it might be because I shifted the whole thing down at the beginning, but it's up to the player to decide where he wants to play these parts. I especially like the measure 39-42 to be played brightly and an octave higher.

Then I had to rearrange some of the chord voicings in order for the arrangement to be playable, at least for me, though almost never changing the top note, in order for the progression of melody to be felt as the original. Lastly, though in very few measures, I had to remove some of the notes from chords, which I saw as the least important in the given chord.

The various arpeggios you see in this sheet is from the recording of the great Paul O'Dette, I have closely tried to emulate his arpeggios but at one point decided to stop doing that, because it was his style and there are also other performers that have great sound. Such an example is "Luthval": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4cbqmFNbvU

He plays it exactly as the written tablature from 1611, same thing as my transcription. Paul O'dette probably follows the instruction of Kapsberger to arpeggiate some chords, though I don't know the source of this. Anyway, if you want you can arpeggiate, roll as much as you want, if you are not crazy about historically accurate performance.

One thing I can say that this arrangement aspires to is to keep the original flow of the melody and key intact, the other keys didn't work so well, maybe because the piece itself is chromatic.

If you want to improve this, be my guest, i'd be grateful...

And by the way if you want to play this from the real tablature and in baroque lute tuning, just tune your third string down a semitone, and put a capo at the fifth fret.

baroque lute tablature kapsberger theorbo

Pages 2
Duration 02:25
Measures 48
Key signature 1 flat
Parts 1
Part names Guitar
Privacy Everyone can see this score
License Attribution, non-commercial, share alike
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