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Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Thought I'd post about a bit of fun I had this afternoon.

I arranged with some fellow string players from orchestra to meet up this afternoon and play through some of the substantial collection of viol consort music I have. There were 5 of us - 2 violins 1 viola, 1 cello and me with both tenor viol and cello. The reason for the latter being that we should have been six, but the other viola player couldn't make it. So, where we had two tenor parts, I was going to play one of them on the tenor viol for those written in either octave treble or alto clef, and cello where written in bass clef (it's a Renaissance music thing - clefs get complicated!).

I'm the only early music specialist in the group so the first shock for people was the time signatures - typically 4/2, 3/2 or 6/2, plus the odd 2/2 and 6/4.

Next shock is it's polyphonic. This means each line is playing its own tune and does not necessarily "line up" vertically to produce block harmony that way that we are used to (since the Baroque era, "tune and accompaniment" is much more common). Rhythms are also more complex.

We played some great music by various English composers such as Holborn, Alfonso Ferabosco II :confused:, William Byrd, and John Dowland. In case you're wondering, Ferabosco's father (that would be Alfonso I) came to England having been poached by Henry VIII from the Papal court and he settled here. There are at least three generations of Ferabosco's recorded as being musicians in London.

They all enjoyed it and were quite surprised at the complexity of the rhythms and syncopations.

Here is a link to Ferabosco's Dove-house Pavan, one of the works we played. BTW his name gets spelt with both one and two "R"s
 
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Nick Wyver

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If you can find a copy of "Late 14th Century Avant Garde" by The Early Music Consort of London (directed by David Munrow, 1973) there's some suitably weird stuff on there by Solage, Machaut and others.
 

jrintaha

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Very intriguing music, TV. Any recommendations for CD-format compilations of similar music? Would like to explore more.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Yes, there are. The two main UK based viol consorts are the Rose Consort of Viols and Fretwork. I did a search on Amazon which brought back lots of choice. There are a few others, e.g. Phantasm, Hesperion XX etc
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
If you can find a copy of "Late 14th Century Avant Garde" by The Early Music Consort of London (directed by David Munrow, 1973) there's some suitably weird stuff on there by Solage, Machaut and others.
I have a number of Munrow recordings. I remember watching his early music programme on Sunday mornings in about 1976. This is an example of him.
 
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