For a brief period in the 1550′s the guitar enjoyed a popularity that rivaled that of the lute: nine books of guitar music were published in the span of about five years. This thesis presents transcriptions in modern notation of two Parisian books of Renaissance guitar music–one by Adrian Le Roy, the other by Guillaume Morlaye–and a comparative study of their contents. The music was aimed primarily at amateur musicians and consists mainly of guitar arrangements of popular vocal tunes and a great variety of instrumental dances. Moreover, the quality of the music varies greatly and gives every indication that in Paris at least, the guitar was a fad. Several tunes in Morlaye’s book sound very odd on both the modern guitar and reconstructions of Renaissance guitars. Le Roy’s music is generally of much higher standard and reflects his great reputation as one of the pioneers in music publishing.
Hoyt, Trevor Todd