Arranging Medieval / Early Music

Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.
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Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

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Scuttlegoat
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:36 pm

Arranging Medieval / Early Music

Post by Scuttlegoat » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:02 pm

Yesterday I got the sudden urge to arrange the "Palästinalied", the one Song by famous minnesinger Walther von der Vogelweide we actually have some notes written for.

I have already arrenged about half of it, tried to keep the accompaniment harmonically simple and just use a lot of arpeggios. I do like the sound of it, but I´m still rather unclear about working with modes. I was once told that one should embrace the notes that make the mode different from natural minor/major - in this case, the E Natural, the song is in G-Dorian. I used it a few times, but i just felt that it didn´t fit at some points.

Any advice? How do you guys work with modes, if you´ve done it before...? I´m also unclear what would´ve been historically accurate. But i guess everyone is when talking about medieval music...

Edit: Attached the version, WIP. I´m still thinking about the accompaniment, want to maybe smooth it out a little rhytmically.
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David Norton
Posts: 3988
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: Arranging Medieval / Early Music

Post by David Norton » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:30 pm

An arrangement is certainly a very personal choice. That being said, the arpeggio figuration you use here seems to me to be more appropriate to a 19th century work than it is for a medieval piece. The dominant musical genre of that era was vocal, so a block chord "church choir" sort of accompaniment (e.g. what you'd see in a Luys Milan "pavana") would seem more correct.

If you really prefer to have the arpeggio effect, maybe stick with keeping the pattern going in one direction only, to emulate an ancient harp piece?
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT

Scuttlegoat
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:36 pm

Re: Arranging Medieval / Early Music

Post by Scuttlegoat » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:44 pm

Now that you said it, I´ve never seen anything in early music that has these arpeggio patterns - you are certainly right. I like your suggestion in having the arpeggio pattern in one direction only. I will try that for now, and maybe try a block chord church accompaniment in a few days. Can´t hurt to try some different things, i guess i´ve never done too much with just one piece. Might be helpful for practicing arranging.

edit: Spelling.

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David Norton
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Re: Arranging Medieval / Early Music

Post by David Norton » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:35 pm

The other common practice would be to play the melody over a tonic-dominant drone bass, and not worry about filling in harmonies.
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT

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David Norton
Posts: 3988
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: Arranging Medieval / Early Music

Post by David Norton » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:44 pm

Here's a good example of medieval music set to the guitar:


Youtube
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT

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