"Wilson's Wilde": Easy Renaissance Fingerstyle Guitar in Tab, Standard Notation and Audio

Updated on October 18, 2018
chasmac profile image

Chasmac is a semi-retired guitar teacher who has taught in various schools in London and elsewhere for over 30 years.

Wilson's Wilde - in guitar tab, standard notation and audio
Wilson's Wilde - in guitar tab, standard notation and audio

"Wison's Wilde" is an easy guitar piece played by classical and fingerstyle guitarists who enjoy music of the Renaissance Period. It's an English Elizabethan tune of anonymous origin dating from the 16th century but has been arranged for lute (and other instruments) by several Elizabethan composers such as John Dowland and William Byrde. Lute music transcribes well for guitar, so here is an arrangement of it that I hope you'll enjoy.

The video capsule below contains an audio track along with the score, which is also reproduced in full below the video. Make sure the score in the video is clear by viewing it in full screen mode at 1080HD quality if possible. If the score below the video is too small, use the "Gallery feature" (click "See all photos") to enlarge it.

Wilson's Wilde

Study Notes for Learners

Typical of the period, the music follows a 'theme and variations' format. Each section is similar to the previous one but modified to make it more interesting.

The time signature is 68 'six-eight' which is a so-called compound duple time signature, meaning there are two beats per bar, and every beat is worth a dotted quarter note. Feel those two beats driving the music forward.

Hammer-ons and Pull-offs

In this arrangement, although I've used plenty of hammer-ons and pull offs in the recording, I've resisted the temptation to include them in the score as I thinks it's better for each player to put them in wherever they feel they sound good. The same applies to slides - slide up to certain notes where you feel it enhances the effect.


Some fretting hand fingering is shown as a suggestion. You can use any fingering that suits you better. The same goes for your picking hand. All single notes with downward pointing stems are bass notes that should be played with your thumb, but the others can be played according to what you find most practical. One rule that comes from classical technique is that you should always alternate fingers on melodic runs and not be tempted to use the same finger twice in succession. It makes for greater fluency.

Lute-like effects

Two things can make the arrangement more 'lute-like'. One is to spread or roll certain chords, especially at the ends of phrases. The other is to use a capo on the 3rd fret. I haven't used one on this recording to ensure the pitch is the same as the tab and notation, but using a capo does give a pleasing lute-like effect.

Chord Tones
A major
A C# E
Tonic (home chord)
D major
D F# A
Subdominant (pre-dominant)
E major
E G# B
Dominant (leading to tonic)
Chords and their chord tones used in Wilson's Wilde

Key and chords

The key is A major, so the key signature is the three-sharp signature of F#, C# and G#. Don't forget to make those notes sharp every time they appear, and keep in mind that that applies to any line or space of the notation, not just the lines or spaces that they are placed on in the key signature. Tab readers can ignore this completely as the tab automatically makes them sharp.

The notes combine to form just three chords: A major, D, major and E major. The chords are all in root position so you can easily identify which chord is being played by looking at the bass notes, i.e., if the bass note is A, the chord is A major. Knowing the chords and the chord tones that make them isn't essential to playing the piece well, but it does make for more confident playing when you know how the piece has been constructed, musically.

The tonic chord, A major, is the home chord. Notice how the piece starts and ends on this chord. Starting on that chord isn't really significant, but ending on it is. It needs the tonic chord to make it sound finished and complete.

The dominant chord, E, is the chord that leads to the tonic chord and, in the process, confirms the tonic chord as the main chord or tonal centre of the piece.

The subdominant chord has a pre-dominant function. It leads naturally to the dominant chord.

Renaissance music pre-dates our modern major-minor key system, but you can see how it's not far off. Apart from the complete absence of the expected dominant 7th chord (E7), the chord scheme is very similar to any later 'tonal' piece.

More Renaissance Period Guitar Arrangements

Here are a few more easy pieces from the Renaissance period - all are English Elizabethan pieces and have an authentic 'olde-worlde' charm that makes them popular with classical and fingerstyle guitarists.

Orlando Sleepeth by John Dowland

Kemp's Jig (anonymous)

The Renaissance Period of Europe is a time rich in culture, arts and innovations. You can learn more about Renaissance Period music on Wikipedia.


The music dates from the 16th century (composer anonymous), and is in the Public Domain.

The score, cover image and audio are produced by chasmac on Finale, Photoshop and Goldwave.

Questions & Answers

    © 2014 chasmac


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, spinditty.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)