Guillaume Morlay was a French composer for the lute and renaissance guitar. Morlaye was also a music publisher, and three of his books for renaissance guitar survive today. Morlaye's books were printed in a series, along with the guitar book by Simon Gorlier. The extant copy of Morlaye's Le Second Livre de chansons, gaillardes, paduanes, bransles, almandes, fantasies, reduietz en tabulature de Guiterne was published in Paris in 1553. It is possible that this is a reprint, since the third book of the series (Gorlier's Troisieme [3rd] book) was published in 1551. So an earlier date for Second Livre is possible. The book contains renaissance guitar instrumental music, including various dance music and Morlaye's guitar settings of chansons. The music printed in Morlaye's book is in French Tablature.
Cover page of Morlaye's Second Livre (1553)
Click on the player above to hear the Hornpipe from Morlaye's Second Livre. This recording is from my SCA guitar album (Whilst My Guitarra Weepeth Gently) - you can check out the entire album on Bandcamp.
Facsimile of the Hornpipe from Morlaye's Second Livre (1553). The piece begins on the 3rd line of the first page, and continues throughout the second page.
Facsimile of the Allemande from Second Livre (1553). This is the final piece in the book (apparently, Morlaye liked to end with an Alman - his first guitar book also ends with Almans). The piece is in an AABB form (2 repeated sections). The A section consists of 4-measures, while the B section contains 8-measures.
This is a nugget for the SCAdian dancers who are (for whatever strange reason) reading this page. The SCAdian dance community will recognize this piece as the Lorrayne (or Lorraine) Alman. Morlaye provides us with an early renaissance guitar source for the music to one of the SCA's favorite dances!
Transcription of Morlaye's Allemande to staff notation and modern guitar tablature, by Johann von Solothurn.
A couple notes from the transcription above (see notes designated in the score):
*1 - This note ("E" on the second beat of the second measure) may be a typo. This note does not match with the music typically used for the SCA version of the dance, and the E seems out of place if the D in the bass from the first measure is held into the second. The performer may wish to substitute this note with a repeated "A" rather than "E," or alternatively, replace the note with an "F#" on the second string.
*2 - In the 4th and 5th measures, the treble "D" note appears to be scribbled in, and therefore, may not have been included in the original print. The note works with the tonality of these two measures, so I included them in my transcription. The purist may wish to omit these two "D" notes... just in case they're not properly authentic!
For a version of this piece that I arranged for the guitar before discovering Morlaye's renaissance guitar version, see my dance music arrangements here.