Grégoire Brayssing - Quart Livre (1553)

Gregoire Brayssing was a German born guitarist who moved to France in 1547.  His only surviving guitar book, Quart Livre de Tabulature de Guiterre was published in Paris in 1553 by Le Roy & Ballard (Brayssing's book was published in a series with 4 other guitar books by Adrian Le Roy). Brayssing's music is often heavier than the other french renaissance guitar composers, with a more frequent use of dissonance reminiscent of the Spanish guitar and vihuela composers.  The book contains 6 Fantasies (all of which are excellent) and Brayssing's guitar settings of a number of chansons.  Brayssing's book uses French Tablature notation. 

Contents of Brayysing's Quart Livre de Tabulature de Guiterre (1553).  Note that the book is published by Le Roy and Ballard.

Fantasie V - Gregoire Brayssing (1553)

Click on the player above to hear Brayssing's Fantasie V from my SCA guitar album (Whilst My Guitarra Weepeth Gently) or check it out on Bandcamp.

Facsimile of Brayssing's Fantasie V from Quart Livre (1553).  Fantasia V begins at the top of the page and continues through the third line.  This is one of my favorite pieces from the French renaissance guitar literature.  Brayysing's Fantasie VI begins on the 4th line of the page - another of my favorites!

Transcription of Brayssing's Fantasie V to staff notation and modern guitar tablature, by Johann von Solothurn.


Performance note for modern guitar:  This piece contains one somewhat difficult stretch that may present a problem (if you insist on holding the notes, as you should!).  This problem arises on occasion when playing renaissance guitar music on a modern guitar, due to the smaller scale of the renaissance guitar.  If you find the stretch in measure 7 ("C" on 2nd string while playing "A" on first string, followed by 2 sixteenth notes while continuing to hold the "C" note) difficult and prefer to play without a capo, I recommend the following fingering for measures 6 - 8: 

The option above could certainly have been used on the renaissance guitar (all notes are still contained on the 1st 4 strings).  Simply moving the "c" note in the 7th measure to the 3rd string, and then move back to the original fingering might seem a reasonable option at first glance, but that option would create the same stretch again at the 2nd 16th note.  To phrase the section properly, I recommend the above fingering, or use the original fingering (which may require the use of a capo).

Johann von Solothurn

Johann is a bard and Court Musician in the Kingdom of Atlantia.  Johann enjoys sharing his art.  If you would like Johann to assist you in organizing or judging bardic/music competitions, teaching classes, or if you would like him to drop by your camp and perform, just send him a note (email below).  

Johann von Solothurn

Barony of Black Diamond

email/contact Johann here