Tielman Susato

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I've been playing a few Tielman Susato pieces as solo instrumentals for a while, and they are both easy and enjoyable to play in that way. At the same time, I'm aware that they were not written for a single voice, but rather for (usually) four parts: two treble, tenor and bass.

    There are a number of good arrangements at the Icking Archive: Link

    In order to see how they work on mandolin with more voices, I've recorded one of the dances, Ronde No. 2 Mon Amy (PDF), with my Mid-Mo taking the two treble voices and the tenor guitar taking (naturally) the tenor part. I don't have a mandocello, so I've just left the bass voice out.

  2. Gelsenbury
    I have played this back on two computers on two different days now, and I don't think the different parts are in sync with each other. Perhaps an error during video editing or upload?

    Otherwise I really like this rendition. I had heard the piece on a CD before, without ever being aware of its title or composer. Very nice!
  3. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas

    The parts are in sync with each other, except for the odd note where I didn't manage to keep in time. If you look at the sheet music, the parts are not parallel harmonies as you would expect from a more modern piece, but each part has a different phrasing resulting in there being quite a few instances in which two of the voices play on the beat (straight quarter notes), and one voice plays syncopated (dotted quarter followed by an eighth). Played on a plucked instrument, that can easily sound like the parts are out of sync, but is as written. There may be a case for changing the phrasing to eliminate these isolated eights -- the arrangement was written for recorders, and just about all ensemble renditions on Youtube are either by recorder or brass quartets, and what sounds neat and tidy on a sustained wind instrument may sound a bit ragged when played with the sharp attack of a plucked instrument.

    I find that it works best when listened through headphones, as I have separated the voices across the stereo spectrum, but less so when listened through mono speakers or speakers with little stereo separation.

  4. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Actually, Gelsenbury, I think you were right that the tracks weren't properly aligned after all. I've just gone back to the Audacity multitrack file and have shifted the second and third voices slightly to make them align better, and I think the revised version sounds better. I rather suspect that this wasn't a technical problem but me playing behind the beat when laying down the second mandolin voice, but if I can fix it after recording, then so much the better.

    I've updated the original video link to now point at the revised audio, so please do listen again if you have already listened to it.

  5. Gelsenbury
    Yes, that's made a lot of difference! It's such a nice piece. I like your selection of pictures, too. They make me wonder if I want a lute, or if the mandolin is in fact the better brother of the lute.

    Thanks for the video and the link to the sheet music. I'll give this a try when I have time.
  6. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I've just recorded another three Tielman Susato tunes, all from four-part recorder arrangements from the Icking Archive site. As before, I've played the two treble recorder voices on mandolin and the tenor voice on tenor guitar, omitting the bass voice. Multitracked recording using Audacity.

    These Susato tunes are part of the standard early music repertoire, but one typically hears them played either on viols or wind instruments. They sound very different indeed on plucked instruments!

    Ronde I Pour Quoy:

    Ronde V Wo bistu:

    Basse Danse No. 1 Dont vient cela:

  7. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    I have recorded another one of the Susato rondes: this one is Ronde III.

    Same instrumentation as the previous tunes in this thread -- Mid-Mo on the top two voices, tenor guitar on the tenor voice -- but better sound quality as I now record using my new (and very nice) Zoom H2n as a USB microphone.

    This recording, and all previous ones in this thread along with a few more renaissance tunes, is available as MP3 download from my Soundcloud page: Link

  8. Gelsenbury
    Very nice! I like the recording and the artwork, too.

    I'm not sure if anyone else feels the same, but I tend towards folk in the warmer months and towards early music in winter time. I'm feeling the draw of the very old right now.
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