Music in the Sharp Tuning

this book is sold out

works by Réne Mesangeau from Panmure #5 in the National Library of Scotland

typeset by Wayne Cripps

In the 1620's people began to experiment with new ways to tune the lute, and new styles and techniques of playing were developed. Réne Mesangeau was a well known lute player in Paris, who played for the King, Louis XIII, and who developed the new style, which is now called briseé. One of his students kept a book, in which Mesangeau would write out music, and that book is now in the Panmure collection at the National Library of Scotland. My book is the set of tunes in the sharp tuning from that manuscript, Panmure #5.

The book contains 31 pieces on 31 pages. Most of the pieces are untitled dance tunes, in three. Only two of these pieces are in the edition of Mesangeau by Souris and Rollin published by CNRS.

The sharp tuning is a tuning that allows the use of many open strings, which lets the lute resonate in a wonderful way. I have found that the sharp tuning is close enough to renaissance tuning to let one retune without needing to change strings, though if you really like this music and want to play it often you might get a heavier top string. Since Panmure #5 is a student's book, most of the pieces are well within the abilities of an intermediate player. A ten course lute is recomended - you can play some of the music on an eight course lute by fretting the lowest course, but it is tricky, and does not give you the rich resonant sound of a ten course lute. Of course a baroque lute may also be tuned to the sharp tuning, with excellent results.

Jakob Lindberg plays some of these pieces on his recording of Scottish French music.

Since this book is out of print, you may want to look at the original manuscript, Panmure #5, MSS.9452, which is available in microfilm and other formats from the

  National Library of Scotland
  George IV Bridge
Edinburgh  EH1 1EW
Scotland, U K
You may also find that your interlibrary loan librarian can find a copy from some other library.

You can no longer order this book for $10.00 USA plus $2.50 shipping ($3.50 express mail, and $7.50 overseas) from:

     Wayne Cripps
     P.O. Box 677
     Hanover, N.H. 03755-0677
     U.S.A.
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