[LAU] Le faux Gaultier - music

Dave Phillips dlphillips at woh.rr.com
Tue Aug 11 14:57:46 UTC 2015

On 08/11/2015 06:26 AM, Edgar Aichinger wrote:
> Hello Dave,
> Am Montag, 10. August 2015, 11:17:41 schrieb Dave Phillips:
>> Greetings,
>> Music for two 13-course Baroque lutes :
>>       https://soundcloud.com/davephillips69/le-faux-gaultier
>> Downloads enabled, comments welcome.
> Well now that's a surprise!

Hi Edgar, I was waiting to hear from you. :)

> I knew that you like to hear lute music. I also knew that you sometimes compose in a traditional sense for guitar or small ensemble, probably as a part of teaching music.

It's just to please myself. I have no reputation or career as a 
composer. I have written stuff for students, nothing lately though. 
Alas, I have very few students into music beyond the popular styles.

> On the compositional side I'd be curious how you would describe the key elements in the Gaultier's music you tried to catch the spirit of (I think we talk about Ennemond and Denis, not so much of Jaques or even Pierre who both lived earlier and wrote in somewhat different styles)? I ask because I don't recognize the major part of this as style brisee - to me it rather bears reminiscences of english late renaissance (or is it transitional/early baroque, music in the fashion of Henry Lawes etc., which would point at Jaques again, whose music I really don't know all that well ;) - but OTOH I often fail in recognizing elements when they appear in abstracted form, so please share your thoughts!

You're right, the Gaultiers I've heard most are Denis and Ennemond, 
largely thanks to the recordings by Hopkinson Smith. I thought the music 
was glorious and rather solemn at the same time. If I recall correctly, 
someone once referred to Denis's music as funereal, even in his up-tempo 
pieces. :)

When I was a young guitarist I played through the collections by 
Alexander Bellow, they were my introduction to player/composers such as 
Corbetta, Brayssing, and Foscarini (L'Academico Caliginoso). To my ears, 
tonal harmony was in its formative years for those composers, its formal 
implications hadn't been ironed out yet, so there's more freedom in the 
treatment of the chords per se, rather than in the overall progression. 
That "structured randomness" you hear in my music is a far reflection of 
the impression that music made on me then. Less predictability in the 
progressions, often striking use of suspensions and ornamentation, an 
apparent love of rich chords for their own sake - but please bear in 
mind that these impressions are just that, not the result of any 
analysis or particular study. I was also inspired by Smith's performance 
style, especially in the pieces from La Rhetorique des Dieux. IIRC he 
had a broad sound, very flexible tempo (very musical though), and a 
gorgeous tone. Of course, the Baroque lutes are vastly different beasts 
than their Renaissance ancestors, and until the Smith recordings I'd 
never heard the instrument.

> Anyway I really enjoy the composition per se, I think I recognize elements I know from some of your other stuff, hard to describe, maybe some sort of structured randomness ;)

See above. :)

> On the sound side, this is the first lute sound from a software instrument that sounds convinceing to me, I'm really impressed by that... are those samples opensourced or proprietary?

They're from a collection of early instruments in GIG format, by Bolder 
Sounds. Not free, but inexpensive and very nicely recorded.

> Inevitably after a while into the composition, it sounds a bit like a key instrument now and then, but I wouldn't know how to avoid that when working with MIDI in a sequencer and having anything else than the most elaborate sampling libraries a la VSL and their articulations, and players...

The collection includes a sample that passes from flesh to nails via the 
mod wheel, I haven't played with that one yet. The sample I used is a 
flesh-only recording, it's still pretty bright though.

> I hope I haven't talked all too much rubbish, but as amateur lutenist who has played a lot of Gaultier, I just wanted to comment :D

A rare pleasure. For lute and guitar music, the early Baroque is a 
fascinating period, but not many classical music fans know much about 
it. I've always assumed that the Baroque lute was somehow more difficult 
to play, compared to the Renaissance instrument. What do you think ?

> Oh and is there a chance to see a score or get the MIDI file of this? I'd love to see if it's indeed playable in baroque tuning, and how the music is shared between the two lutes (I had difficulties telling them apart when listening via my speakers, haven't tried headphones yet) ...

Ah, and now I have to reveal my secret. It isn't composed as a duet, 
it's a single track, written in such a way that the music just turned 
into a duet, but it's played by a single instance of the instrument. As 
I listened to evolve it I realized it was quickly turning into something 
unplayable by a single performer, and so it became a duet. :)

Perhaps at some point I'll separate parts into a true duet, but that 
will have to wait. I'd like to continue writing more pieces for the 
instrument, perhaps adding more sections in a conventional suite of 
dance movements (coranto, sarabande, gigue, etc).

A MIDI file is do-able, but alas again, Bitwig doesn't export the tempo 
changes, and there are a few of them in the piece. Still, it's easy to 
create the file, I'll send it if you want to look at it as-is.

> Thanks for sharing!
> Edgar

Thanks for listening and for the comments. I hoped you'd have something 
to say about it. :)

Best always,


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