Selected Harpsichord Sonatas by Antonio Soler: Analysis and Transcription for Classical Guitar Duo

By Toribio Fernand Vera

Due to the limited repertoire for the guitar from the Baroque period, classical guitarists who wish to perform music from this era have to work primarily with transcriptions. Guitarists draw from various sources from this period such as vocal and instrumental music for the five-course guitar, lute and the harpsichord. Of these sources, the repertoire for the harpsichord is perhaps the most frequently arranged for various guitar formations because its textures are greatly similar to those of the guitar repertoire. As a result, harpsichord music tends to transfer well to the guitar. Baroque harpsichord composers such as Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Sebastian Bach, François Couperin, and Jean-Philippe Rameau-to name a few-have a permanent home in the classical guitar canon and represent the musical tastes and styles of Italy, Germany, and France. These composers exemplify the various stylistic differences between the above-mentioned countries; yet, the harpsichord music of Spain is largely underrepresented in guitar collections. One of the most noteworthy Spanish harpsichordists was Padre Antonio Soler (1729-1783), who composed 120 sonatas for the instrument. When considering the ease with which some of his works transfer to the guitar, and specifically guitar duo, much can be gained by expanding the repertoire and exploring the Spanish Baroque style. The purpose of this study is three-fold: first, to present transcriptions of Antonio Soler’s Sonata No. 85 and Fandango for guitar duo; second, to provide analysis of Sonata No. 85 with an emphasis on the intervallic features of the motives; third, to give an overview of the transcription process of Fandango for guitar duo while including a study of Spanish Baroque guitar and the appropriate stylistic effects drawn from its repertoire that can be incorporated in the arrangement.


Selected Harpsichord Sonatas by Antonio Soler Analysis and Transcription for Classical Guitar Duo

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