Playing the Lisbon Portuguese Guitarra by Ronald Louis Fernandez (continued)

Section 17a. Minuete da Saudade from Estudo de Guitarra (1796)--Antonio Da Silva Leite--


This piece is a minuet, a French dance, written for the English Guittar (spelled with 2 T's) by a Portuguese composer in 1796.

It was written by Antonio Da Silva Leite (1759-1833) who was in charge of music at the Porto Cathedral.  It appeared in a method book entitled Estudo de Guitarra. This book has some special relevance for the Portuguese guitarra because it has been cited as the first method for the Portuguese guitarra.
However, there are some who claimed that Estudo de Guitarra is really a method book for the "English" Guittar (spelled with 2 T's) written in Portuguese. See Section 17b for more information


This is a nice piece to listen to.
It is a minuet which is a dance of French origin in 3/4 time. (Note that "minuet" is the English spelling of the French "minuete".)
It was written for an "English" Guittar with the natural tuning which is CEGCEG (key of C) or GBDGBD (key of G) from the 6th to 1st course. This pattern is composed of: tonic, major 3rd, perfect 5th, tonic, major 3rd, perfect 5th. My tablature is written for fado tuning on the Portuguese Guitarra and the accompaniment is in standard tuing for the Viola de Fado or Spanish Guitar.

As you can hear and see in the transcript, the Minuete da Saudade has a lot of arpeggios; these fit well with an instrument tuned in 3rds. That is because the tuning pattern makes the notes easy to reach as they are on adjacent strings. Also, there are passages with parallel thirds which are also quite easy to play on adjacent strings with such tuning.

It is interesting that the title of this piece includes the word "Saudade" since that word so often has been used in Fado lyrics.
since there are no words it is impossible to know why this minuete has "Saudade". It would be interesting to know if this was a fashionable word at the time among the target audience of this piece and the book of which it was a part.

Since this is a minuet it is in 3/4 time which is the same as a waltz. Usually a minuet is slower than a waltz. The minuet was a stately dance for pairs and associated with  the upper classes. In contrast, the waltz was a country dance which was more energetic and lively.  I should note that Fados are are usually written in 2/4 time although I have seen some written in 4/4 time. So, despite the the phrase "Da Saudade", the meter of this piece marks it as quite distinct from any Fado played on the Portuguese Guitarra.