Medieval Songs for Solo Classical Guitar

Step back to the Middle Ages with these 3 medieval guitar songs.

Arranged for easy classical guitar, these famous tunes will add colorful variety to your repertoire.  You’ll be able to learn the notes quickly, and spend your time polishing and refining your phrasing and expression.

If you’re an intermediate or advanced player, these pieces present wonderful (and optional) high-level musical challenges, without the “note problems” of denser music.

Piece #1: Virelai: Quant Je Suis Mis, by Guillaume Machaut (1330-1377)

virelai classical guitar machautA “virelai” is a style of poem that was popular in the medieval times.  The meter of the poem was variable, but they did ultimately rhyme, and contain 3 lines per stanza.

Machaut was one of the most important composers of his day, and this medieval guitar song can be repeated as many times as you like.

Challenges You’ll Face in Virelai: Quant Je Suis Mis:

  • A syncopated (off-beat) rhythm
  • Keeping rolled chords in rhythm
  • Using specific fingerings in both hands
  • Balancing melody and accompaniment
  • Connecting the melody notes

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Piece #2: Für All Ich Krön, by Hans Voit (1545)

fur all ich kron voit guitar

Für All Ich Krön, by Hans Voit is a delightful piece from the medieval period.

One of the most notable features is that the melody and bass accompaniment move as one.   The challenge is this:you must connect the melody notes while also moving the bass note, and balance the two in volume.

Challenges You’ll Face in Für All Ich Krön:

  • Connecting melody notes
  • Holding one note while another changes
  • Using specific fingerings in both hands
  • Balancing melody and bass
  • Moving two fingers at a time

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Piece #3: Ja Nuns Hons Pris, by Richard the Lionhearted (1194)

ja nuns hons pris richard lionhearted guitar

Richard the Lionhearted was the original warrior-king.  Also rare was for such a leader to also be a musician.

Ja Nuns Hons Pris is the most popular of Richard the Lionhearted’s pieces.

Challenges You’ll Face in Ja Nuns Hons Pris:

  • Stretches between the 3rd and 4th finger
  • Triplet rhythms
  • Using specific fingerings in both hands
  • Balancing melody and accompaniment
  • Connecting the melody notes

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