Intabulation (Ger. Intabulierung; It. intavolatura, intabolatura)
- Howard Mayer Brown
(Ger. Intabulierung; It. intavolatura, intabolatura)
An arrangement for keyboard, lute or other plucked string instrument of a vocal composition; the term is especially applied to those prepared in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, and written in Tablature, the system of notation using letters, figures or other symbols instead of notes on a staff. The 16th- and 17th-century keyboard pieces published in Italy and designated ‘d’intavolatura’ (as in ‘Canzone d’intavolatura’) are exceptions to the general practice, since that repertory includes abstract instrumental canzonas, toccatas, variation sets etc., as well as arrangements of vocal compositions; thus ‘intavolatura’ seems in this case to refer not to the genre of the composition but to the fact that the music was printed in staff notation on two staves, as opposed to ‘partiture’ (the plural of ‘partitura’), in which each part is given a separate staff. In general, intabulations from the 14th century to the 16th incorporate all or almost all the voices of the vocal composition into the arrangement, although on occasion less important voices are omitted, several voices are combined into one, or chords and even whole passages are redistributed to make them fit better under the hands of a single player. Almost invariably, the arrangements are enriched by more or less extensive embellishment....