Sanz's manuscripts are written as tablature for the baroque guitar and have been transcribed into modern notation by numerous guitarists and editors; Emilio Pujol's edition of Sanz's Canarios being a notable example.Sanz's tablature is remarkable in that it is topologically correct, representing the first string in the lower line and the fifth string in the highest printed line. It also features the "italian alphabet", a shorthand system that assigns a chord to each letter, so that melodic chord progressions can be written and read very neatly (with rhythm information) as a simple sequence of letters, a concept related to the recent Nashville system.In addition to his musical skills, Gaspar Sanz was noted in his day for his literary works as a poet and writer, and was the author of some poems and two books now largely forgotten.His excellent translation of the celebrated L'huomo di lettere by Jesuit Daniello Bartoli first appeared in 1678, with further editions in 17. His compositions provide some of the most important examples of popular Spanish baroque music for the guitar and now form part of classical guitar pedagogy.
In injecting his famous wrong notes into not one but three all-string chords, Rodrigo makes two declarations: first, that he remains faithfully entrenched in national traditions (the title is "Fandango," the motives unmistakably Spanish in contour); and second, that he simultaneously remains Modernist in his perspective.
Here, a wrong-note harmony unfolds an expressive countenance whose gravity clearly derives from Bach's own ground-bass works.
There is a strange, magical tension between folk gestures like the mid-movement eruption of flamenco-inspired rasgeado chords and the abstract, learned seriousness of the formal genre.
In this, they develop an effect brought to culmination in Rodrigo's guitar masterpiece from 1962, Invocation and Dance.
The massive middle movement follows a common trope in artistic modernism, whereby a material of folkoric origin (in this case, Spanish elegy) is housed within a foreign, unfolkloric frame (in this case, the Baroque passacaglia).