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Francois Campion

Pieces for Baroque guitar in alternate tunings

Here are all of the pieces by Francois Campion for Baroque guitar in alternate tunings (scordatura). This represents the first half, approximately, of his book Nouvelles Decouvertes sur la Guitarre.

So that you may jump right into the music, commentary about Campion's alternate tunings and French tablature follows the table of contents below.

If you're holding a Baroque guitar in your hands, click on the "Baroque guitar" link to play Campion's original. If you're holding a modern guitar, click on "Modern guitar." This differs from the former in that strummed chords have been filled out with the implied open strings, and, here and there, octaves above 5th and 4th strings notes have been added to, or substituted for, the bass note to fill out or connect up the music. If you don't agree with my solutions, it's a simple matter of starting with the Baroque guitar original and adding octave notes where you see fit. Take a look at the "red note" version of Menuet (fc27) to see what I'm talking about. Easy!

For convenience, each piece by Campion has been assigned a short ID.

You may safely IGNORE the "(notes)" link after each piece. This is where errors in the original tablature are noted. It also presents the same piece in my superceded, but then-revolutionary, ASCII tab.

Nouvelles Decouvertes sur la Guitarre

Campion Tuning 1 - Bb D G C F

fc01: Prelude.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc02: Prelude a 4 tems.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc03: Allemande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc04: Courante.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc05: Minuet.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc06: Gigue La Somptueuse.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc07: La Montleon.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc08: Courante. La Victoire.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc09: Gavotte.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc10: Sarabande la liebar.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc11: Rondeau.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc12: Sarabande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc13: Allemande a 4 tems.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc14: Allemande a 4 tems.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc15: Les Soupirs a 3 tems.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc16: Sarabande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc17: Air.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc18: Allemande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc19: Courante la Mauleurier.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc20: Menuet Rondeau.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc21: Gigue - obmise en la suitte de la page 12me.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc22: Gavotte.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc23: Chacone.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc24: Prelude a 4 tems.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc25: Allemande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc26: Courante La petitte doucet.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc27: Menuet.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc28: Sarabande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc29: Gigue.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc30: Chacone.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc31: Untitled (Chaconne variations).   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc32: Menuet.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc33: Courante les delices.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc34: Gavotte.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc35: Gigue.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc36: Prelude.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc37: Allemande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc38: Prelude a 4 tems.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc39: Simphonie.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc40: Sarabande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc41: Courante.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc42: Gigue.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc43: Gavotte en rondeau.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc44: Gavotte en rondeau.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc45: Gigue.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc46: Gigue.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc47: Prelude a 4 tems.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc48: Allemande (Tombeau).   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc49: Gigue.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.

Campion Tuning 2 - B D G C F#

fc50: Allemande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc51: Courante.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc52: Menuet.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc53: Gigue Angloise.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc54: Gavotte.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.

Campion Tuning 3 - Bb C G C Eb

fc55: Prelude.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc56: Allemande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc57: Courante.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc58: Menuet.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc59: Sarabande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc60: Gigue.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc61: Gavotte.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc62: Passacaille.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.

Campion Tuning 4 - B C G C E

fc63: Rondeau.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc64: Gigue.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc65: Gavotte.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc66: Menuet.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.

Campion Tuning 5 - B D G C# F#

fc67: Allemande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc68: Gigue.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.

Campion Tuning 6 - C D G C F

fc69: Gigue.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.
fc70: Menuet Rondeau.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.

Campion Tuning 7 - B D G D G

fc71: Allemande.   Baroque guitar.   Modern guitar.   Notes.

Standard tuning - A D G B E

I have not translated Campion's pieces in standard tuning into modern tablature, but here are the titles and assigned IDs for potential future use.

fc72: Allemande.
fc73: Allemande les Cothurne.
fc74: Gigue.
fc75: Gavotte.
fc76: Sarabande La Geffosse.
fc77: Menuet.
fc78: Italienne.
fc79: Trompette.
fc80: Brunette.
fc81: Allegro Sonattina.
fc82: Prelude.
fc83: Sarabande.
fc84: Tombeau de M de Maltot.
fc85: Prelude.
fc86: Sonatina Allegro.
fc87: Air.
fc88: Couplet de Passacaille cy derviena.
fc89: Passacaille.
fc90: Gigue.
fc91: Gavotte.
fc92: Allemande la furieuse.
fc93: Allemande.
fc94: Gigue.
fc95: Gavotte.
fc96: Rondeau.
fc97: untitled.
fc98: Prelude.
fc99: Allemande.
fc100: Courante La Grancey.
fc101: Les Ramages.
fc102: untitled.
fc103: untitled.
fc104: Prelude allegro.
fc105: Fugue.
fc106: Air.
fc107: Allemande.
fc108: Courante.
fc109: Air.
fc110: Air.
fc111: Air.
fc112: Sarabande.
fc113: Menuet.
fc114: Gigue.
fc115: Prelude.
fc116: Bransle.
fc117: Gavotte.
fc118: Fugue allegro.
fc119: Fugue.
fc120: Fugue.
fc121: Fugue.
fc122: Fugue.
fc123: Fugue.
fc124: Fugue.

***

Francois Campion's alternate tunings

The first half, roughly, of Nouvelles Decouvertes is devoted to 71 pieces in 7 alternate tunings. The second half of the book is all in standard tuning. Campion specifies each "accord nouveau" by showing how to match unisons and octaves, using tablature. He always uses open string 3 (our G string) as the jumping off point. The tuning directions are given below in the order of appearance in the book.

I spell the tunings out from string 5 (that is, "course" 5 or string pair 5) to string 1, in the same way that we say E A D G B E for the standard tuning of the modern guitar. I don't bother to specify the precise octave of a given note because of the complication of the Baroque guitar's double stringing. Plus, it hardly seems worth the effort. Think low to high.

So, assuming a 3rd string tuned to G:

                   _______________________________
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|___0_||_
                   ____|_____|___0_|_2___|_____||_
Campion Tuning 1:  __0_|_3___|_____|_____|_____||_  =  Bb D G C F.
                   ____|_____|_____|___0_|_3___||_
                   ____|___0_|_2___|_____|_____||_
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|_____||_

                   _______________________________    
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|___0_||_
                   ____|_____|___0_|_2___|_____||_
Campion Tuning 2:  __0_|_4___|_____|_____|_____||_  =  B D G C F#.
                   ____|_____|_____|___0_|_4___||_
                   ____|___0_|_1___|_____|_____||_
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|_____||_

                   _______________________________    
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|___0_||_
                   ____|_____|___0_|_0___|_3___||_
Campion Tuning 3:  __0_|_3___|_____|_____|_____||_  = Bb C G C Eb.
                   ____|_____|_____|___0_|_____||_
                   ____|___0_|_2___|_____|_____||_
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|_____||_

                   _______________________________    
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|___0_||_
                   ____|_____|___0_|_0___|_4___||_
Campion Tuning 4:  __0_|_4___|_____|_____|_____||_  =  B C G C E.
                   ____|_____|_____|___0_|_____||_
                   ____|___0_|_1___|_____|_____||_
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|_____||_

                   _______________________________    
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|___0_||_
                   ____|_____|___0_|_1___|_____||_
Campion Tuning 5:  __0_|_4___|_____|_____|_____||_  =  B D G C# F#.
                   ____|_____|_____|___0_|_4___||_
                   ____|___0_|_2___|_____|_____||_
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|_____||_

                   _______________________________    
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|___0_||_
                   ____|_____|___0_|_2___|_____||_
Campion Tuning 6:  __0_|_5___|_____|_____|_____||_  =  C D G C F.
                   ____|_____|_____|___0_|_3___||_
                   ____|___0_|_0___|_____|_____||_
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|_____||_

                   _______________________________    
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|___0_||_
                   ____|_____|___0_|_0___|_____||_
Campion Tuning 7:  __0_|_4___|_____|_____|_0___||_  =  B D G D G.
                   ____|_____|_____|___0_|_____||_
                   ____|___0_|_3___|_____|_____||_
                   ____|_____|_____|_____|_____||_

What matters, of course, is the relative tuning of the strings. The following chart shows how Campion's seven alternate tunings relate to the standard tuning, A D G B E, and provides some lower tension options.


   Tuning Name   |     --- Tuning ---  |  Deviation in semi- |    Strings
    (pieces)     | ID       notes      | tones from standard |    retuned
---------------------------------------  -------------------------------------
Campion Tuning 1 | 1.   A# D  G  C  F  | +1 +0 +0 +1 +1 = +3 |  3 up.
   (fc1-fc49)    | 1a.  A  C# F# B  E  | +0 -1 -1 +0 +0 = -2 |  2 down.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Campion Tuning 2 | 2.   B  D  G  C  F# | +2 +0 +0 +1 +2 = +5 |  3 up.
  (fc50-fc54)    | 2a.  A# C# F# B  F  | +1 -1 -1 +0 +1 =  0 |  2 up, 2 down.
                 | 2b.  A  C  F  A# E  | +0 -2 -2 -1 +0 = -5 |  3 down.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Campion Tuning 3 | 3.   A# C  G  C  D# | +1 -2 +0 +1 -1 = -1 |  2 up, 2 down.
  (fc55-fc62)    |                     |                     |  
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Campion Tuning 4 | 4.   B  C  G  C  E  | +2 -2 +0 +1 +0 = +1 |  2 up, 1 down. 
  (fc63-fc66)    |                     |                     |                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Campion Tuning 5 | 5.   B  D  G  C# F# | +2 +0 +0 +2 +2 = +6 |  3 up.
  (fc67-fc68)    | 5a.  A# C# F# C  F  | +1 -1 -1 +1 +1 = +1 |  3 up, 2 down.
                 | 5b.  A  C  F  B  E  | +0 -2 -2 +0 +0 = -4 |  2 down.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Campion Tuning 6 | 6.   C  D  G  C  F  | +3 +0 +0 +1 +1 = +5 |  3 up.
  (fc69-fc70)    | 6a.  B  C# F# B  E  | +2 -1 -1 +0 +0 =  0 |  1 up, 2 down.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Campion Tuning 7 | 7.   B  D  G  D  G  | +2 +0 +0 +3 +3 = +8 |  3 up.
     (fc71)      | 7a.  A# C# F# C# F# | +1 -1 -1 +2 +2 = +3 |  3 up, 2 down.
                 | 7b.  A  C  F  C  F  | +0 -2 -2 +1 +1 = -2 |  2 up, 2 down.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Of course, in playing these pieces you will not always be retuning from standard tuning. Here is a suggested route through the tunings which should streamline the tuning effort. The connecting line | shows at a glance which string(s) need to be retuned.

Starting with standard tuning . . .

                                                                    with total 
                                       retune                       deviation from 
    To get               for           strings     yielding         standard tuning.
    ----------   -------------------   ---------   --------------   ----------------
    (standard tuning)                              A  D  G  B  E       0 semi-tones
                                                      |  |
    Tuning 1a    49 pieces (fc1-49)    4, 3        A  C# F# B  E      -2     "
                                                   |            
    Tuning 6a     2 pieces (fc69-70)   5           B  C# F# B  E       0     "
                                                   |           |
    Tuning 2a     5 pieces (fc50-54)   5, 1        A# C# F# B  F       0     "
                                                            |   
    Tuning 5a     2 pieces (fc67-68)   2           A# C# F# C  F      +1     "
                                                      |  |     |
    Tuning 3      8 pieces (fc55-62)   4, 3, 1     A# C  G  C  D#     -1     "
                                                   |           |
    Tuning 4      4 pieces (fc63-66)   5, 1        B  C  G  C  E      +1     "
                                                   |     |     |
    Tuning 7b     1 piece  (fc71)      5, 3, 1     A  C  F  C  F      -2     "

 

***

Francois Campion, Baroque guitar, and the tablature

Nouvelles Decouvertes sur la Guitarre was Francois Campion's first work, published in 1705. This makes him the third important French Baroque guitarist, following Francesco Corbetta (published works from 1639 to 1674) and Robert de Visee (published works from 1682 to 1686).

I have translated only Campion's pieces in alternate tunings into modern tablature because, a) tablature is the way to go for all Baroque guitar music, and b) it is downright necessary for pieces in unfamiliar tunings. If someone published these pieces in music notation, who could play them as intended?

Also, Campion's pieces for guitar in standard tuning are fairly well represented in modern transcriptions. In my music collection, I have about 20 examples from Richard Pick, Adalbert Quadt, Bruno Henze, and Siegfried Behrend.

As always, I encourage you to track down a facsimile copy of Nouvelles Decouvertes. Everything you need to play the music is here, but even if you never actually play from a facsimile, just looking it over and comparing a few bars here and there with the modern tablature should bring you a lot closer to Campion.

CAMPION'S TABLATURE: Campion used "French tablature". Specifically, it is right-side-up; has 5 lines for the 5 strings; and uses swirly letters to indicate frets.

While it is generally very neat and legible, it would look quite scary to anyone not familiar with old tablatures: "b"s that look like "f"s (and spread across three strings!); loopy "d"s; "c"s and "e"s looking almost like twins; "a b c" mapped into "0 1 2", not "1 2 3" (what could the French have been thinking???); ornaments shown behind the "note"; and skeletal rhythmic information.

CAMPION'S STRINGING: I have seen conflicting ideas on whether or not Campion used a bourdon (bass string) on his 5th course. All I know is that the music sounds fine on a modern guitar strung normally. You might also consider terz guitar strings. The brighter sound and the lighter touch (I tune them a half-step below the designated pitch) may be more "in tune" with this ancient music.

Some Baroque guitar composers made melodic use of the high octaves on pairs 5 and 4. They were used for melody notes in passages called "campanelas", where notes of a scale are gotten by jumping back and forth between strings on different sides of the fingerboard.

Since Campion did not write campanelas passages, his music works quite well played directly on a modern guitar. But there are spots where adding the octave above the 5th or 4th string note may improve the texture or help the melody. This is usually very easily done. See the "red note" version of Menuet (fc27) for modern guitar. Of course, you might add more, or fewer, notes than I did.

ORNAMENTATION: Campion notated 3 different ornaments. In his tablature, "x" meant a trill, "," meant a mordent, and "#" meant vibrato. These symbols were placed behind the note (i.e., fret letter) they acted on. In this modern tablature, I use symbols which suggest twiddles from above or below, and place them in front of the fret number.

" = trill (starting on upper neighbor.)

, = mordent (main note to lower neighbor and back up.)

# = vibrato.

Campion showed explicitly the auxilliary note for every trill. I haven't worked this in since it is almost always obvious which note to use. In the few cases where there might be some doubt, I give Campion's auxilliary note in the notes. When you find yourself going for the wrong trill note, write in the correct one.

If a note is too short to work in a full trill, I simply play an inverted mordent (main note to upper neighbor and back down.) It sounds fine to me; sorry if I've baroquen some inviolate performance practice law.

STRUMS: Campion punctuates all of his pieces with at least a few strums - a characteristic element of Baroque guitar music. The arrowheads show the direction of the strum.

In general, open strings were not shown in strummed chords. Sometimes Campion tells you explicitly where an open string should not be played in a strummed chord (with a dot "."), but he is not consistent about this. I suggest that you write in the open strings that you find work well in the strum and, further, mark the undesired open strings with the "no strum" dot.

MORE SYMBOLS:

↑ = strum from bass to treble.

↓ = strum from treble to bass.

. = do not hit this string in the strum.

$ = petite reprise symbols. Repeat the material between the signs.

NOTES INEGALES: Consider the use of the inegales rhythm ("swing" 8ths) when playing this French Baroque music. I mention this in the notes to the pieces for which I thought inegales worked, but please understand that I am NOT an authority on Baroque performance practices.

SIMPLIFICATIONS: I find most trills executed with the little finger very difficult. In my versions for modern guitar, I've taken the liberty of moving notes to different strings to get a strong finger on the trill. If I've insulted your pinkie, please consult Campion's original where you suspect I've done this.

IGNORED NOTATION: Campion uses parentheses ( ) on the top line of the tablature staff to show where a barre is in effect. I argue that this is never needed in music notation (since fingerings show barres clearly) and even less so in tablature.

Also, Campion makes extensive use of diagonal slashes, indicating where to hold notes. He writes:

/ \ Je mets ces deux marques les premieres comme les plus necessaires. Elles sont indispensables c'est pourquoi j'avertis et je prie meme de tenir les doigts autant que l'on pourra, la premiere est pour les basses et la seconde est pour les dessus.

Plugging that into a translation program:

I put these two marks first and most necessary. They are indispensable, that is why I warn and even pray to hold your fingers as much as you can, the first is for the basses and the second is for the top.

Campion's tablature is sick with these slashes and, truth to tell, I don't see how one would play a piece any differently with or without them.

THANKS: to early music scholar Joseph Weidlich for giving me the copy of Campion's book he received years ago from the Bibliotheque Nationale Paris. Almost all of my work was done from this copy. Thanks to Baroque guitar enthusiast and scholar Beverly Ross for answering a lot of questions and lending me the Minkoff facsimile, which helped wrap up a few loose ends. Thanks to Jean-Jacques Sacri for supplying Campion's explanation of his slashes.

COPYRIGHT: This work may be copied freely by anybody. Help yourself.

 

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