minstrel: Guitars

Tadhg O Cuileannain Tadhg at flash.net
Fri Dec 21 21:50:29 PST 2001

That's pretty much what I do--the cuatro (which has five courses) is in standard tuning
(actually terz, a minor third higher: CFBbDG) and the four course guitar is in D modal
(DGAD).  I'm still experimenting with different tunings for the oud.  I just wondered if
anyone had come up with any ideas I hadn't thought of yet.

I refer to plucked strings in contrast to bowed-- I confess I hadn't thought much about
the plucked-strummed contrast.  I suspect the critical factor there may be frets--it
would be very difficult to play any kind of chords beyond simple double stops on an
unfretted instrument, and the guitarra moriscas don't appear to be fretted.


Lisa and Ken Theriot wrote: On the other hand, the Cantigas (as well as many other
pre-1400 documents)

> refer to strumming; the main difference between the guitarra morisca (a
> lute clone) and the guitarra latina was that the moorish guitar was plucked
> while the latin guitar was primarily strummed.
> My husband plays a lot in alternate tunings, which has many advantages: you
> pick up some lovely modality, your chords aren't identifiable as "standard"
> (and indeed, they are not), and no one can ask to borrow your guitar.  You
> might try playing around with something like DADGAD (especially as you
> mentioned you're in D, G, and A a lot), strum along, and see what you
> think.  He's almost got me converted.  Modal D is very versatile, as it can
> accompany D, D maj, Dm, so your vocalist has to go a long way before they
> hit something that doesn't work.  If you want a quick primer in forming
> some basic chords in DADGAD, I've just been working on one....  you can
> write me offlist and I'll get you started.  It sounds like you're already
> half-way there with tuning your bass string down and going for a drone
> sound.
> Adelaide
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