Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.
This is a simple but charming Baroque-period lute minuet transcribed for classical or fingerstyle guitar. Unlike later classical guitar music, lute music of the Baroque period and Renaissance period transcribes as well for steel-string acoustic guitar as for nylon-string classical guitar, so play it on either—both sound good in their own way.
Minuet in G: J. Losy
You can follow the score on the video while listening to a MIDI to AUDIO rendition of it. The video is best viewed in full-screen mode (preferably at 1080HD playback quality) for the clearest view. Clicking on the score will also display it enlarged.
Playing Tips for Learners
This minuet is in two 8-bar sections: A & B. Repeat each section immediately after playing it. In the audio track, you can hear how some of the chords are spread or rolled in order to mimic the strummed effect of the lute. You don't have to do it, but it makes the piece sound more lute-like. You can also choose to do it for different chords than what you hear in the audio track.
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The picking-hand fingering is shown at the beginning as a suggestion to start you off. Whichever fingering you choose, try to keep it logical and practical and avoid awkward jumps from note to note using the same finger. Alternating fingers produces a more fluent playing style.
The fretting-hand fingering is shown by numbers in several places where they might be useful, but, as with the picking-hand fingering, you're free to do it in whichever way you feel you can do most smoothly. Again, the point of fingering is to move from note to note in the most efficient way possible. The most difficult bar for fretting-hand fingering is bar 9 as you need to use fingers 2 & 3 on the 5th and 2nd strings, respectively. It's a little awkward but is necessary because you need fingers 4 and 1 free for the 1st string notes, G & F.
Key and Chords
This section is purely for interest. There's no need to know what the chords are called in order to play the piece.
The principal key is C major, and the minuet modulates (changes key) to G major at the end of the first section. The second section starts off in G and makes its way back to the home key, C major at the end.
- Tonic - The home chord (C major)
- Dominant - the chord built on the 5th scale degree (G major). It's the chord that leads us back home to the tonic.
- Supertonic - the chord built on the 2nd scale degree (D minor). Its function is 'pre-dominant. That is, it leads naturally to the dominant chord, G major.
- Submediant - The chord built on the 6th scale degree. (A minor). In this case, it's a pivot chord that is used to modulate smoothly from the home key of C major to the closely-related key of G major. Pivot chords work because they belong to both keys.
- Secondary Dominant - (D) This is a foreign chord that follows the pivot chord and then progresses to the tonic of the new key - in this case, G major. It's actually the dominant chord of the key of G major, which is why it's referred to as a secondary dominant in the home key of C major.
C E G
G B D
A C (E)
D F A
D F# A
Jan Antonin Losy
Count Jan Antonin Losy (1650 - 1721) was a noted lute player and composer of Baroque lute music. As an aristrocrat, he wasn't a professional musician, but his skills and accomplishments were highly respected. His compositions, most of which weren't published until after his death, are still around, although mostly as guitar transcriptions rather than in their original lute arrangements.
The music featured in this article was composed by Jan Antonin Losy (1650 - 1721) and is in the Public Domain.
The score, audio track and images are by chasmac.
© 2014 Chas Mac