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Topic: Announcing Terry Dwyer's GPO Harpsichord Tutorial

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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Announcing Terry Dwyer's GPO Harpsichord Tutorial

    Terry Dwyer wrote an excellent GPO Harpsichord Tutorial. Here is the link:

    http://www.garritan.com/HarpsichordTutorilalGPO.html

    In this tutorial Terry discusses the various aspects of the harpsichord. There are three sections: Understanding the Harpsichord, Setting up the GPO Harpsichord, and How the Play the Harpsichord. Terry describes the peculiarities of the harpsichord, composing for it, temperments, tuning, stops, etc.

    Terry's tutorial is well laid out, clearly written and will be beneficial to anyone wanting to learn more about using the GPO (or any other) harpsichord.

    I want to thank Terry for wiriting this excellent and informative tutorial.

    Gary Garritan

  2. #2

    Re: Announcing Terry Dwyer's GPO Harpsichord Tutorial

    Thanks! Is it the intent to eventually have tutorials for most of the instruments in GPO? That would be excellent.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Announcing Terry Dwyer's GPO Harpsichord Tutorial

    This is awesome history! Thanks for posting again Gary. I'll have to finish reading after school were I can be free from distraction.
    When I was a boy, there was an Allergist my parents took me to once a week. I still can remember his office in his own home near Symphony Circle on the west side of Beeffalo. Yes, you heard me right...I said "BEEF-FALO!" The doctor had an Organ (no not donated) a Pianie, and a Harpsichord in his livinkroom. Once and a while if you begged him to death he would play one of them. I always asked him to play the Harpsichord. He would say to me, "Touch that you little brat and I'll... No, no, no, he never said that.
    It was OK except you could hardly hear the sound through all those people sneezing in the waiting room.
    Styxx

  4. #4
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    Re: Announcing Terry Dwyer's GPO Harpsichord Tutorial

    The GPO Harpsichord Tutorial has been updated. Let us know what you think and if you have any suggestions.

    Here is the link:

    http://www.garritan.com/HarpsichordTutorilalGPO.html

    Thanks to Terry Dwyer for doing this informative and excellent tutorial.

    Gary Garritan

    [EDIT: Could someone let me know if this tutorial works and that the links work]

  5. #5

    Re: Announcing Terry Dwyer's GPO Harpsichord Tutorial

    Garry the pages 'to text' links work great. Give Terry my thanks!

  6. #6

    Re: Announcing Terry Dwyer's GPO Harpsichord Tutorial

    Gary,

    The link works fine. The tutorial looks superb, but I'll get round to reading it properly when my family has grown up.

    arrf
    "A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules,often with the assistence of unsuspecting musicians"

  7. #7

    Re: Announcing Terry Dwyer's GPO Harpsichord Tutorial

    I must be missing something, but I didn't find any mention of figured bass? That's the key to idiomatic writing for harpsichord, I'd say. Continuo at least.

    V.

  8. #8

    Re: Announcing Terry Dwyer's GPO Harpsichord Tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by TennesseeVic
    I must be missing something, but I didn't find any mention of figured bass? That's the key to idiomatic writing for harpsichord, I'd say. Continuo at least.

    V.
    Hey Vic,

    Well, it doesn't exactly mention the term "figured bass", but it did mention this:
    "As a continuo instrument. Throughout the Baroque period, most concerted music of any kind required harmonic support from a keyboard (organ or harpsichord)."
    Continuo instruments "fill in" the written figured bass indications in the supporting harmony. Whether they be harpsichord, organ, lute, etc.
    But you are right, I think that a mention of the compositional technique of written figured bass would do a lot to illustrate why these parts were played they way there were in their supporting roles. But then again, I am an ant next to Terry in knowledge of this!

    Jerry
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  9. #9
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    Re: Announcing Terry Dwyer's GPO Harpsichord Tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by TennesseeVic
    I must be missing something, but I didn't find any mention of figured bass? That's the key to idiomatic writing for harpsichord, I'd say. Continuo at least.

    V.
    TennesseeVic,

    You are most welcome to write some material on figured bass for inclusion in the tutorial. I am sure Terry would be happy to have your input.

    Gary Garritan

  10. #10

    Re: Announcing Terry Dwyer's GPO Harpsichord Tutorial

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    TennesseeVic,

    You are most welcome to write some material on figured bass for inclusion in the tutorial. I am sure Terry would be happy to have your input.
    Ok guys, how's this?

    %%%%%%%%%
    While the solo repertoire for harpsichord can be very virtuoso -- check out Bach's Italian Concerto and the Partitas, or any of Scarlatti's 500 sonatas -- when the instrument is used as accompaniment, its playing style is completely different.

    In the baroque, the harpsichords (and occasionally small organs) were used as "continuo" instruments, short for "basso continuo". In this style of playing, which mostly applies to sonatas for solo instrument (violin, flute) and accompaniment, the composer wrote out the solo part and the bass line. The bass part was then played on Bass Viol or Cello (bassoon could do too, in a pinch) and doubled with the left hand of the keyboard instrument. The right hand was improvised, using so-called "figured bass" notation to indicate the harmonic (chord) structure of the music. This style of written out bass with improvised right hand also applies to orchestral pieces like Concerti Grossi (see Handel for the best examples).

    In figured bass, the implicit assumption is that the bass note is the root of the chord. Whether the chord is major or minor is determined by the key of the piece: in F, the G chord would be minor, the C major, et cetera. Any deviation from this simple rule would be indicated by "figures" written under the bass part. For instance, writing a sharp under a D in a piece in F would indicate a D major chord. More interesting are inversions: if an E is the bass note of a C chord, the figure would be 6, because the sixth above the E, which is the "C", would be the determining note of the chord. A bass of G under a C chord would be notated as 6-4 (the 6 written atop the 4), indicating a C and an E as other chord notes.

    In summary, when a harpsichord is used as accompaniment, it plays a simple left hand, which is doubled by the Cello, which in an orchestral setting would be a Cello section doubled by one or two basses, and a right hand part that outlines the harmony of the piece. How intricately those chords would be played is up to the performer, but in general simple is better. No riffing!
    %%%%%%%

    Gary, forward this to Terry?

    V.

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