Saturday morning quotes 4.42: Economizing
In the old days before music was free, the idea of musicians generally tightening the belt and finding ways to economize brings to mind historical examples, such as this response by the late Christopher Hogwood.
Good instruments becoming more expensive and difficult to obtain, the following photo demonstrates how we used to economize in bygone days. Of course, one has to be very good friends to get this close in the summertime, even out of doors.
Since the repertory is not extremely demanding, such duet playing allows ample opportunity for discussing the latest fashion in clothing styles, metaphysical conversation, storytelling, balancing one’s checkbook, and chord substitution.
Then there is the more challenging sort of economizing.
Rehearsing with another favorite musician “A Galliard for two to play vpon one Lute at the end of the Booke,” for a concert of music from John Dowland, A Pilgrimes Solace that also included all the lute duets attributed to Dowland – and then some. This particular piece is not recommended for those who may be experiencing back problems.
Skipping the left-hand technique, we quote from Thomas Robinson, The Schoole of Musicke (London, 1603), found in his “Generall Rules.”
“…Now for your right hand, called the striking hand leane upon the bellie of the Lute with your little finger onelie, & that, neither to far from the Treble strings, neither too neere, and although you ought to lean lightlie, yet carie your hand steddilie, not sliding out of his place, also remembering, to leane lightlie upon your arme upon your Lute, for otherwise it will paine the sinewes and hinder your play.”