Renaissance ukulele: Sir John Hopes Currant (Skene Manuscript, c. 1620)





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Published on Jan 2, 2011

This tune is from the Skene Manuscript, an early collection of Scottish music from around 1620. It takes the form of a personal music-book in tablature for the mandour or mandore (a small type of Renaissance lute) with some 114 tunes. 84 of those can be found in modern musical notation and with decent playable MIDI versions at www.scotmus.com.

The instrument that these tunes were written for, the mandore, was a lute with about the same scale length as a modern mandolin, but between four and six single gut strings, tuned in fifths and fourths. On reading this, I decided to record one of these tunes on the closest I have to an instrument fitting that description -- my Kala slimline ukulele, which I have retuned to mandolin/violin tuning in fifths (GDAE). I reckon the mandore wouldn't have sounded all that different to this.

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