Day 6

Hans Gerle (c. 1500, Nuremberg - 1570, Nuremberg) was a German lutenist and arranger of the Renaissance.

Little concrete information is available regarding Gerle's life. His father was probably Conrad Gerle (died 1521), one of the city's better-known lute makers. Gerle likely spent his entire life in Nuremberg.

Gerle published three volumes of lute music through Hieronymus Formschneider, a Nuremberg publisher. The first two were issued in 1532-33, and the last in 1552; this third volume refers to Gerle as "the elder" on the title page, so it is presumed that Gerle had either a son or another relative with the same name. The first publication contains an introduction to the performance of lute, viola da gamba (Grossgeigen), and rebec (Kleingeigen), as well as an explanation of musical notation, and is a significant source of information on performance practice. The book is primarily made up of intabulations of German composers such as Ludwig Senfl, Johann Walter, Heinrich Isaac, Thomas Stoltzer, and Paul Hofhaimer.

His second volume, for solo lute, features works from many older composers, such as Hayne van Ghizeghem, Josquin des Prez, Isaac, and Jacob Obrecht, as well as popular contemporaries such as Claudin de Sermisy, Adrian Willaert, Jean Mouton, and Senfl. The third volume was a transcription into German tablature of pieces previously only available in Italian tablature, including works of Giovanni Maria da Crema, Domenico Bianchini, Simon Gintzler, Francesco Canova da Milano, Pietro Paolo Borrono, and Alberto da Ripa.

Biography sourced from Wikipedia

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  1. Rupert Waddington says:
    I am getting very behind with the daily challenge – more like “every-other-day-challenge” for me.

    Will the challenge still be available in February? 🙂

    1. Alex McCartney says:

      Yes, I was thinking I’d leave it up for a while so that everyone has time to take it at their own pace.

  2. George Chaconas says:

    Hey Alex, thanks for doing this! So for this piece I keep finding myself wanting to resolve the cadences into full chords with 3 or 4 voices. So why does the piece remain two parts throughout? Is it a literal transcription of a song for 2 voices? or was this type of 2 part format stylistically common at this time? or am I simply lacking an educated musical palette for music from this early on and my preferring a thicker texture at points of resolution? Is this verboten or would lutenists of the time done that?
    Alberta, Canada

    1. Alex McCartney says:
      Hello George, No problem at all!
      I think this is a case of ‘simplification during transcription’ which was not uncommon for lute transcriptions. The original (video recording here) is quite complicated and would be fairly difficult on the lute as a direct transcription.
      For my taste, I’d be happy adding other voices; although because it is polyphonic music, I’d probably look to add another complete voice/part. Make it your own in any case!
  3. Jean-Loup Demory says:

    Thank you for these precious tips. I find it quite interesting to play the piece, then listen to you and play again. It really enlightens my understanding and interpretation
    Jean-Loup, from France

    1. Alex McCartney says:

      I’m so pleased to hear that it’s useful for you. Thanks for taking up the challenge!

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