An abstract submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements
For the degree of Master of Music in Music Performance
Wilhermino Diaz Schimmeyer
June 2007
The abstract of Wilhermino Diaz Schimmeyer is approved:
Professor Ronald Borczon
California State University, Northridge
Signature Page
John Dowland .
Johann Sebastian Bach.
Federico Moreno-Torroba.
Leo Brouwer. .
Observations of the Compositional Approaches to the Guitar.
Recital Program
Sources Consulted
John Dowland
John Dowland (1563-1625) was an English lutenist during the Renaissance Period
whose reputation as a performer and a composer was well-known throughout Europe.
Dowland's most noted compositions are his lute-songs that are found in his
collection of four books: THE FIRST BOOKE OF SONGS OR AYRES OF foure parts,
with Table-ture for the Lute, 1 THE SECOND BOOKE of SONGS or AYRES, of2.4.and With Tableture for the Lute or Orpherian, with the Viall de Gamba, 2 THE
Another noted composition is his Lachrimae or Seaven Teares that was "specifically
written for five viols, or violins, and lute had never before appeared in England."5 Lastly,
Dowland wrote numerous solo lute works such as pavans, almains, galliards, jigs,
corantos, and fantasies.
Of his fantasies, Dowland wrote a total of seven where "five are composed on
diatonic themes while the remaining two are wholly chromatic in character."6 The
opening melody ofFantasie No.7 that is found in his Varietie of Lute-Lessons, is based
on the Italian lauda, Alia Madonna. An example of this Italian lauda can be found in a
collection compiled by Matteo Coferati (1638-1703) entitled Corona di Sacre Canzoni.
John Dowland and Robert Dowland, English Lute Songs 1597-1632: A Collection ofFacsimi1e Reprints,
General ed. F.W. Sternfeld, ed. Diana Poulton, vol. 4 (England: The Scolar Press Limited, 1970).
Diana Poulton, John Dowland, new rev. ed. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University ofCa1ifomia Press,
1982), 342.
Ibid., 112-113.
Alia Madonna along with "All of the 140 laude in this book are for one voice
only"7 where "None is credited to a composer." 8 The characteristics of the laudas are
described as to "to have a distinct popular flavor and may be imitations of actual products
of folk art. " 9
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was one of the most industrious German
composers during the Baroque Period. His output consists of cantatas, oratorios,
passions, motets, and chorales in addition to keyboard, solo, orchestral and chamber
During this period, Bach was well aware of the lute since it was standard practice
for it to be used in continuo playing in many musical settings. This is further enriched by
his connection with Silvius Leopold Weiss (1686-1750) while Bach was the director of
the Collegium Musicum:
Finally, the concerts often featured debuts and returns of well-known
guest artists, including the Dresden cappellmeister Johann Adolf Hasse,
his wife, the diva Fuastina Bordoni, and the lutenist-composer Silvius
Leopold Weiss, among many others, who came to visit Bach in Leipzig
during the 1730' s. 10
Concerning Bach's contact with an actual lute composition, Weiss provides that
Ennanno F. Gizzarelli, Laude spiritua/i, Bulletin of the American Musicological Society, no. 4
(September 1940): 19. JSTOR. California State University Northridge, May 2007.
°Christoph Wolff, Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician (New York:
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2001), 355.
The Trio for violin and harpsichord in A major, BWV 1025, from around
1740, is a good example. Here Bach expands on a lute suite by Silvius
Leopold Weiss of the Dresden court capelle by adding a contrapuntal line
to the original lute part that alternates between the violin and the right hand
of the keyboard. 11
Fortunately, Bach did compose several works for lute: (1) Suite (BWV 995)
(2) Suite (BWV 996) (3) Prelude, Fugue and Allegro (BWV 998) (4) Prelude (BWV 999)
(5) Fugue (BWV 1000) (6) Suite (BWV 1006a).
The Suite (BWV 1006a) was originally composed for violin as part of the Violin
Sonatas and Partitas (BWV 1001-1006). From there, the Suite underwent two
transformations: The first is the arranged for lute (BWV 1006a) that is notated on the
grand staff in the key of E-Flat Major. The second is the use of the Prelude in a larger
body of work:
sinfonia to cantata BWV 29, for concertato organ, 3 trumpets, timpani,
2 oboes, strings, and continuo, first performed at the annual city council
election service on August 27, 1731 12
Federico Moreno-Torroba
Bringing the early nineteenth-century guitar out of obscurity, the innovative
construction technique of fan bracing by Antonio de Torres Jurado (1817-1892),
significantly increased the guitar in size. This outcome resulted with a wider fingerboard
that enabled greater ease in playing contrapuntal music and a larger body that provided
more volume and projection.
Ibid., 388.
Soon afterwards, the tireless effort of Francisco de Asis Tarrega Eixea (18521909) to promote the new instrument gave way to the standardization of the playing
technique, and more importantly, the expansion of the repertoire. This new foundation
would produce Tarrega's most notable pupils, Miguel Llobet (1878-1938), Maria Rita
Brondi ( 1889-1941) and Emilio Pujol ( 1886-1980). They would further the cause of the
guitar towards the 201h century by bringing it back to the concert stage on an equal level
as with most solo concert instruments such as the violin or piano.
A self-proclaimed, self-taught composer-guitarist, Andres Segovia (1893-1987),
was also part of the movement to bring the guitar to the concert stage.
Not only by performing public recitals but also by approaching composers to write music
for the guitar. One of many composers that he approached is Federico Moreno-Torroba
(1891-1982) from Spain and as Segovia described, "there was a 'first' in the field of the
guitar: For the first time, a composer who was not a guitarist wrote a piece for the
guitar." 13
At a premiere of one ofTorroba's compositions performed by the National
Symphony conducted by Maestro Arb6s, Senor Frances, the first violinist, introduced
Segovia to Torroba which led to the germination of Suite Castellana:
It did not take us long to become friends, nor for him to accede to my
suggestion: Would he compose something for the guitar? In a few
weeks he came up with a slight but truly beautiful Dance in E Major. 14
Andres Segovia, Segovia: An autobiography of the years 1893-1920, trans. W. F. O'Brien (New York:
Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1976), 194.
Ibid., 194-195.
Over time, Torroba finally completed the three movement work:
The abovementioned Dance in E Major in time became part ofTorroba' s
Suite Castellana, joining the other components of the suite, the Fandanguillo
and the Arada. These last two Torroba composed after my return from South
America. 15
From this simple act of a collaboration of a performer and a composer, this
encouraged other composers to recognize the feasibility of the guitar as a new medium
for creativity. As Segovia described of Suite Castellana, "That success prompted Manuel
de Falla to compose his very beautiful Homage, and Joaquin Turina his splendid
Sevillana." 16
Leo Brouwer
Leo Brouwer ( 1939-
), from Cuba, is one of the leading contemporary
composers for the guitar. His writings for the instrument consist of solo, ensemble and
concerto music that ranges from traditional to atonal styles.
El Decameron Negro, dedicated to concert guitarist Sharon Isbin (1956-
) was
written in 1981. The three movement work is based on African folk tales documented by
the German ethnologist, Leo Frobenius (1873-1938). These folk tales provided insight
on the different aspects of African culture in regard to their moral, mystical, and heroic
From the movement titles ofEl Decameron Negro along with its corresponding
music, Brouwer has essentially created a largely programmatic work. In one example, La
Huida Los Amantes Par El Valle De Los Ecos or The Flight of the Lovers through the
Valley of the Echoes, Brouwer uses a repetitive arpeggio pattern in the right hand along
Ibid., 195.
with the use of forte and subito piano dynamics in order to imitate the echoes that one
would hear in a large valley.
From a tonal standpoint, Brouwer's unique compositional style has gone through
three distinct stages:
the first, nationalistic (1955-62); the second, avant-garde (1962-7);
and a third in which avant-garde elements diminish and, particularly
after 1980, a creative process described by the composer as 'new simplicity'
emerges. 17
In the third movement, Ballada De La Doncella Enamorada or Ballad of the Love-Sick
Maiden, he has shown a delicate balance between the traditional tonal and atonal practice
of music. This is can be found in the A section ofthis Rondo by the many second and
seventh intervals.
Brouwer also juxtaposed his programmatic content onto traditional classical
forms . This can be seen in the second movement, La Huida Los Amantes Por El Valle
De Los Ecos, where he employs the use of theme and variations. In section A, the main
theme is gradually developed and then further presented in varying forms throughout the
movement in either contrapuntal, section F, or arpeggiated forms, section C.
Observations of the Compositional Approaches to the Guitar
The compositions performed on this program bring to light the creative process of
two types of composers: ( 1) Those who are just familiar with the mechanics of the
instrument (2) Those who are avid performers of the instrument.
Victoria Eli Rodriguez: Brouwer, Leo, Grove Music Online (Accessed 17 May 2007),
In the case of the former, there is a strong tendency for composers to write beyond
the practical playability ofthe guitar. Although this may seem to be a disadvantage to the
performer in the ease of the execution of passages, the positive aspect lies in the fact that
the explorations of musical ideas are not determined by physical means. One example is
Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude from Suite (BWV 1006a) where the many sequences
undergo dramatic key changes that are not typically found in sonatas by Silvius Leopold
Weiss. Another example is Federico Moreno-Torroba's Arada from Suite Castellana
which calls for unusual left hand chord shapes in order to preserve the voice leading of
harmonic passages.
In the case of the latter, the composer/performer who has the advantage of the
working knowledge of the idiomatic qualities of the instrument is faced with the
challenge of avoiding common musical cliches. In the case of John Dowland, his
Fantasie is based on the single line melody from the Italian lauda Alia Madonna, yet his
virtuosic skill as a lutenist and composer, gave him the necessary components to exploit
the limits of the lute in a conservative manner. Similarly in Leo Bouwer' s Ballada De La
Doncella Enamorada from El Decameron Negro, the simple technical execution of the
left hand provides the clear distinction between the rhythm in the lower strings and the
melody in the upper strings.
California State University Northridge
Mike Curb College of the Arts, Media,
an(! CommuQication
Department of Music Presents:
Fantasie No, 7
John Dowland
Suite F:!JNV 1006a (In E Major)
Johann Sebastian Bach
II. Laure
Ill. Gavotte en Rondeau
IV. Menuett I
V. Menuett II
VI. Boum~e
VII. Gigue
Suite Castellana
Federico Moreno-Torroba
I. Fandanguillo
II. Arada
Ill. Danza
El Decarneron Negro
The Black Decameron
In Partial Fulfillment of the,
Master of Music in Performance
Thursday, 1 Q May 2007
Leo Brouwer
El Arpa Del Guerrero
The Harp of the Wllrrior
La Huida De Los Ama.ntes Por El Valle De Los Ecos
The Flight of the Lovers Through the Valley of Echoes
Ill. Ballada De La Doncella Enamorada
Ballad of the Love-Sick Maiden
Brand library Recital Hall
1601 West Mountain Street
Glendale. CA 91201
Mr. Schimmeyer is a student of Dr. Steven Thachuk.
Sources Consulted
Brouwer, Leo. El Decameron Negro. Paris: Editions Musicales Transatlantiques, 1983.
Dowland, John, and Robert Dowland. English Lute Songs 1597-1632: A
Collection ofFacsimile Reprints. General ed. F.W. Sternfeld, ed. Diana Poulton.
Vol. 4. England: The Scolar Press Limited, 1970.
Frobenius, Leo, and Douglas C. Fox. African Genesis: Folk Tales and Myths of
Africa. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1999.
Gizzarelli, Ermanno F. Laude spirituali. Bulletin of the American Musicological Society
no. 4 (September 1940): 19. JSTOR. California State University Northridge, May
Koonce, Frank, ed. Johann Sebastian Bach: The Solo Lute Works, 2d ed. San Diego: Neil
A. Kjos Music Company, 2002.
Noad, Frederick. The Renaissance Guitar: Selected and transcribed by Frederick
Noad. The Frederick Noad Guitar Anthology. New York, London, Sydney:
Amsco Publications, 1974.
Poulton, Diana. John Dowland, new rev. ed. Berkeley and Los Angeles:
University of California Press, 1982.
Rodriguez, Victoria Eli. Brouwer, Leo, Grove Music Online, (Accessed 17 May 2007),
Segovia, Andres. Segovia: an autobiography ofthe years 1893-1920. Translated by W.F.
O'Brien. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1976.
Torroba, Federico Moreno. Suite Castellana: London: Schott & Co. Ltd., 1954.
Turnbull, Harvey. The Guitar from the Renaissance to the Present Day. New
York: Charles Scriber's Sons, 1974.
Wolff, Christoph. Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician. New York:
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2001.