I teach various aspects of the Early Repertoire connected to that of the lute as well as one-to-one tuition at Birmingham Conservatoire. I am involved with the Early Music and Vocal departments and I work closely with the Guitar department teaching regular classes to the year 1-4 guitar students. These sessions are intended to broaden the students understanding of the historical background of the guitar and its repertoire. There are three main classes for this purpose; Transcription, Continuo and Repertoire class. (See below.) For the Vocal department, I participate in early opera projects as a continuo player and I provide the lute accompaniment for lute song workshops and assessments for first year undergraduates, as well as coaching small chamber ensembles.
“I was fortunate to attend Liz Pallett’s Transcription and Continuo classes during my Undergraduate degree at the Birmingham Conservatoire. I found the classes very engaging and really enjoyable. Liz has a very well-balanced approach between exploring the theoretical aspects of early music, such as, lute tablature, and putting them to practice. The classes also inspired me to research and study the baroque guitar and its repertoire further, which I can confidently say has developed me as a musician.”
The aim of this class is to unlock the mysteries of manuscript editions and the varying tablatures of the lute repertoire. For a modern guitarist, this can open the door on a vast area of music that can then be transcribed and arranged for the instrument. For the lute student, it embeds the very necessary skills of reading, understanding and transcribing lute tablature. The classes are of a practical nature with much demonstration from the students and myself. The students are also encouraged to perform their own transcriptions on their first study or a period instrument.
“The continuo class has inspired me to pick up my theorbo again and to start playing with different ensembles. The classes Liz has taught over the past few years have given me the confidence to read a continuo line and be able to be more expressive with my improvising. This has been invaluable to my experience as part of a consort but also within my own guitar playing.”
Myles Payne, 3rd Year. Birmingham Conservatoire
The continuo class is very much devised around practical performance. The realization of a figured bass line can be achieved via various means. This workshop-type class aims to cover all of these aspects both practically and theoretically. From figuring an unfigured bass line and interpreting an original source, to gaining experience as an astute accompanist in this specialist area. Students will learn to decorate a ground bass, perform an extract from an early opera; extrapolate essential harmony from a score, transpose, accompany recitative, and form their own continuo ensembles to perform in the class. The skill of reading a basso continuo line for a modern guitarist is invaluable, once again opening up a wealth of new repertoire.
“Lessons with Liz at the Conservatoire are always fascinating and engaging. Whether on period instruments or playing early repertoire on modern instruments, she makes us think in a completely new way about the repertoire and always gives a new dimension to our playing.”
Alex Roche, Yr. 3 Birmingham Conservatoire
The Repertoire class is student-led and can be heavily linked into the Transcription class. Students are asked to choose, prepare and perform a solo, duet or chamber ensemble from the early repertoire. In this class we discuss modern editions and compare them with the original facsimile manuscripts. We talk about the instrumentation, technique, and tuning systems, interpretation and draw on historical evidence such as guitar methods and lute treatise to help enrich an understanding of the style. We also look at original source material specific to ornamentation with relevance to the piece performed. The aim of these classes is to enhance the student’s musical understanding of the early repertoire by investigating the historical context within which it is placed.
If you would like more information about Birmingham Conservatoire, click on the link below:
Birmingham Conservatoire Early Music Department