Who was the first to change key? It may well have been the blind visionary Gorzanis in 1567 who made lute improvisations on popular dances, one in the minor and one in the major, shifting up one fret at a time. In that era each popular dance had its own chord sequence which the musicians jammed on, like todays rock and jazz musicians. The dancers recognised the chord sequence of each dance. As there was no recording of these pieces I asked a luteneist well aquainted with Gorzanis’ work, Michele Carreca, to record them. With support from the National Early Music Association his beautiful rendition is now available on a CD which can be ordered online by clicking on the link below.

Lutenist Michele Carreca

There is so much similarity between the improvisations of the Renaissance musicians and today’s rock and jazz musicians that I thought it would be interesting to show the chord sequences Gorzanis chose on iReal Pro, an app that all today’s jazz musicians carry on their mobile phones and ipads which can conjure up the chord sequences of most of the jazz standards that are likely to be “called” on a gig.

Here’s a video

Ardent fans of iReal Pro can click the link below to download the Renaissance Jam Session file. Click below.

There is more background to Gorzanis Dances on Every Fret on the music theory page.

Curious to know a bit more about Corzanis? Here are links to Michele’s other recording of his work


and this link will take you to a CD of Gorzanis songs made by Pino de Vittorio


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