Selection of Music for this Book
All the pieces in this book were written for the Renaissance guitar and were included in 9 surviving books published by Adrian Le Roy and Guillaume Morlaye:
Premier livre de tabulature de guiterre (1551) — Cinquiesme livre de guiterre en tabulature (1554)
Premier livre en tabulature de guiterne (1552) — Quatriesme livre en tabulature de guiterne (1552)
Some of the pieces have already been arranged and included in the following books from Ancient Music for Ukulele:
- Favourites of Le Roy on the Ukulele (Books 1 and 2)
- Favourites of Morlaye on the Ukulele (Books 1 and 2)
- Favourites of Brayssing on the Ukulele
Notes on the Composers and Pieces
All sources are Wikipedia.
A fantasia or fantasie is a musical composition with its roots in the art of improvisation. The term was first applied to music during the 16th century, at first to refer to the imaginative musical “idea” rather than to a particular compositional genre. Its form and style consequently ranges from the freely improvisatory to the strictly contrapuntal, and also encompasses more or less standard sectional forms (i.e. it sometimes but doesn’t always follow the “rules”).
All the pieces in this book should be played using varying tempos and styles to fit the mode of the music.
Adrian Le Roy (c.1520–1598) became an accomplished musician and entered the service of, first, Claude de Clermont, then, Jacques II (Baron de Semblançay and Viscount of Tours), both members of the aristocracy who had influence at court. Le Roy and his cousin Robert Ballard founded the printing firm “Le Roy & Ballard”, and in August 1551 obtained a royal privilege from Henry II to print music. Royal patronage was a major factor in the company’s success since it ensured both a ready supply of new music from the court musicians and a market for its publications. Over the following two decades other rival companies dropped out of the market and from the 1570s onwards Le Roy & Ballard enjoyed a virtual monopoly in music publishing. Le Roy achieved renown as a composer and arranger of songs and instrumentals, his published work including at least six books of tablature for the lute, five volumes for the guitar and arrangements for the cittern. Le Roy’s book L’Instruction pour la mandore gives modern historians hints as to the instrument’s origins and design.
- There are two fantasies in Premier livre de tabulature de guiterre (1551). They are designated as “premiere” and “seconde” by Le Roy,
- NOTE: The “seconde” fantasie is also in the book “Le Roy Favorites on the Ukulele (Book 1)” from Ancient Music for Ukulele.
Gregoire Brayssing (flourished 1547-60) was born in Augsburg in Bavaria. He left the after the victory of Charles V over Elector Johann Friedrich of Saxony at Mühlberg in 1547. He was a lute and guitar player and composer active in France in the period 1547-1560. His sole surviving works for guitar are in Quart livre de tabulature de guiterre (1553) which was published by Le Roy in Paris. Little else is known about him.
- There are six outstanding and challenging fantasies in Tiers livre de tabulature de guiterre (1552). They are designated “La premiere” to “La sixieme” by Brayssing. The first fantasie also has the notation “des grues”, translated as “the cranes”.
- NOTE: The fifth (“La cinquieme”) or shortest fantasie is also included in the book “Brayssing Favorites on the Ukulele” from Ancient Music for Ukulele.
Guillaume Morlaye (ca 1510 – 1558) was a French Renaissance era lutenist, composer and music publisher. He was a pupil of Albert de Rippe and lived and worked in Paris. In 1552 he received a ten-year license to publish music from Henry II, and between 1553 and 1558 published four lute collections in cooperation with Michel Fezandat and six lute collections compiled by Albert de Rippe. He also published three books of his own four-course Renaissance guitar compositions during 1552–53, including fantasies and dances, and also lute arrangements of Pierre Certon and Claudin de Sermisy. Besides his music publishing activities, Morlaye was reported to have engaged in the slave trade, although reliable evidence for this is scant.
- The two fantasies in Premier livre en tabulature de guiterne (1552), numbered I an II for convenience, and the two fantasies in Second livre en tabulature de guiterne (1553), numbered III and IV for convenience, are included in this book of arrangements.
- Fantasie II is also in the book “Morlaye Favourites on the Ukulele (Book 1)” from Ancient Music for Ukulele.
Fantasie d’Albert de Rippe is by Albert de Rippe (1500-54), an Italian lutenist and composer, who was Morlaye’s teacher. It is unclear if the two fantasies in Morlaye’s Quatriesme livre en tabulature de guiterne (1552) are transcriptions or arrangements of the music.
- The fantasie included in this book of arrangements is the first one. It has the notation “a chorde auallée” which means to use an alternate tuning where the lowest string is dropped in pitch by a whole tone.
- The second fantasie is in the book “Morlaye Favorites on the Ukulele (Book 2)” from Ancient Music for Ukulele.