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Music:

Karl Friedrich Abel
    Sonata: Del Sigr. Abel
Johann Sebastian Bach
    BWV:1013
    BWV:1030
Jean Daniel Braun
    Pieces sans Basse
    Sonata: Del Sign. Le Brun
Sethus Calvisius
    Biciniorum
François Devienne
    Six Sonatas
Johann Philipp Kirnberger
    Three Sonatas
Orlando di Lasso
    Bicinien
Bernadino Lupacchino & Ioan Maria Tasso
    Il Primo Libro a Due Voci
Johann Mattheson
    Der Brauchbare Virtuoso
François Philidor
    Pieces pour la Flute Traversiere
Hieronymus Scotus
    Tonos de Canto
Georg Philipp Telemann
    Fantasias
Antonio Troilo
    Bicinien
Pietro Vinci
    Bicinien
Aurelio Virgiliano
    Il Dolcimelo


BWV1030:
    Bach's flute sonata BWV 1030 was originally written in the key of g-minor, but later Bach transposed it a third upwards into b-minor. His autograph for this work survives as the manuscript Mus. ms. Bach P975 in the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin. Only the harpsichord part (Mus. ms. Bach P 1008), by an unknown copyist, has survived in the original key. Therefore I thought it might be nice to try transposing the flute part from b-minor back down to g-minor. The only problem (as far as playing it on the baroque flute - which only reaches down to d' - is concerned) is in bars 50 to 51 and also bar 108 of the Andante. But a very natural adjustment shows that Bach's original composition was superior to the transposition. Also I have interpreted Bach's squiggle in bar 7 of the Presto as a grace note, although this may be more definite than the Master actually intended! Generally, I have tried to adhere strictly to Bach's articulation. The music has been set using Lilypond. (The source file is here.)
    It seems to me that this transposition down to the original key gives a much calmer, peaceful music. One feels that it is a game of switching back and forth between g-minor and g-major, trying out the feeling of each. This makes sense, since these are very usual keys. The feeling has been largely lost in b-minor. After all, who plays anything in b-major? (at least in the realms of baroque music) It may be that nothing is gained with the 'modern' flute, which simply has equal temperament, but there is a big difference with the baroque flute (particularly one which plays in the original pitch for this kind of music at around a'=392). However even with the 'modern' flute, the fingering is easier, especially since it is possible to use the b-flat mechanism most of the time.
    Unfortunately, few people can transpose down a third while sight-reading, so until - if ever - I get around to setting the harpsichord part as well, this will remain a solo piece. On the other hand, the facsimile can be obtained at http://www.spes-editore.com.

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Pieces pour la Flute Traversiere, by Francois Philidor.
    This is light, enjoyable French music, written to be played before the Sun King, Louis XIV by his Ordinaire de la Musique Roy, Francis Philidor. (Although this is obviously not the chess-playing Francois Philidor who was born in 1726. I am somewhat confused here, since it definitely says "Francois" on the title page of the printed music. Could it be that this is Anne Danican Philidor (1681-1728), who perhaps was reluctant to publish under his rather feminine sounding name?) The music was printed with the permission of the king in 1716. Although even before this period some French baroque music was being engraved (for example Marais "Pieces in Trio" in 1693), the standard technique at the beginning of the 18th century was to use movable type. This may have been a good thing for printing text (as advocated by Gutenberg), but for music it does not give a very satisfying result. The music font is of constant width, and the beaming is very awkward. One can get used to it, but it is a strain.  This is increased by the fact that there are sometimes page turnings in the middle of the music, and the repeats are often obscure and hard to find.
.....
(Actually, this is rather too much of a simplification. The printed music here was the result of the what was called "single-impression" printing, which was the cheapest method in use in those days. Before the age of computer typesetting, even in the 20th century, complicated movable type systems, known as "mosaic" systems, were in use. See for example the Oxford Companion to Music, or the Grove Concise Dictionary of Music.)
.....
Finally, for the flute player, there is the problem of the French clef, which shouldn't be a problem, but is! Therefore I decided to typeset this music in Lilypond.
    I couldn't be bothered to put in the bass figures since I find them sometimes difficult to decipher in the original printing, and in any case it would seem to clutter the score in this modern notation. If anybody can make sense of the figures, and can put them into Lilypond, then I would certainly appreciated it if you would send me a copy. Again, the facsimile can be obtained at http://www.spes-editore.com. But, at least for such a simple-minded person as me, this version practically lets the music play for itself.

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Pieces sans Basse, by Jean Daniel Braun.
    This is a book of exercises, or etudes, which was engraved and published in Paris in 1740. The title page is here. So the book contains a sonata with basso continuo in four movements at the beginning, which I haven't transcribed here, and then a collection of further pieces. The fact that the book exists at all shows that the flute was very much in fashion in the middle of the 18th century. But the title indicates that the bassoonist can also use these pieces if he imagines that he is dealing with the bass clef, rather than the violin clef, and furthermore, the key should be adjusted so that instead of having one sharp (g major), one should imagine two flats (b-flat major). (Then of course, d major should also be transposed to f major.)
    The original printing is quite clear and done with much style, so many people would say that there is really no excuse for setting it using the computer. (The source file is here.) But still, it gives me something to do when at loose ends, and anyway, I find that when playing something like this, where the eye must rapidly find the right notes in this uneven, ancient printing, things become even more difficult than they otherwise would be. Furthermore, if you have the notes in the computer, then it is easily possible to change the notation as you would like. I have retained the original pagination, since the pieces on the same, and on opposite pages, are often musically related to one another. I have also tried to reproduce exactly the original notation. Nevertheless, at a couple of places - the minuetto on page 5 and the fantasia on page 6 - Braun has just written a middle c, or c sharp, which of course is too low for the baroque flute. I suppose this was done for the convenience of the bassoon player. But rather than thinking about this each time I play it, I have put in the appropriate note an octave higher.
    Of course there is a huge amount of flute music from the baroque period. On the other hand, as far as exercises for the flute are concerned, I only have Frederick the Great's 100 exercises, Quantz's Solfeggi, and his Caprices. These were private books of exercises, perhaps mainly by Quantz, written by hand, which were not openly published back then in the 18th century. However they can now be bought in modern editions at any music shop. Frederick the Great's exercises are just short technical finger exercises. They are sometimes enjoyable to play, but really, there is no musical expression in them at all. The solfeggi contain lots of very technical exercises, and fragments of exercises. They seem to be the things which Quantz had worked out specially for Frederick, so that for an outsider - which is to say, for everyone today - they are not so much interesting as music, but rather as an insight into the lessons Frederick was taking. Finally the caprices are in a manuscript by an unknown copyist, but attributed to Quantz, which is in the Royal Library in Copenhagen. They are of a very uneven nature.  It seems to me that the numbers 1 - 3 and 5 - 23 must be from Quantz. But the numbers from 42 to the end are different, and much more interesting and pleasant as music. Of these, the pieces 44 - 46, 48 -50, and 52 are simply taken directly from Braun's book (but with some changes, perhaps for the worse). Interestingly enough, I think that these are the least interesting pieces of Braun. Taken as a whole, Braun's exercises give you a satisfying variety of moods, and pace. And as the title says, they certainly are good exercises for the embouchure and the fingers.

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The Bicinien of Pietro Vinci.
    This is a collection of 29 duets by Pietro Vinci, published in 1586 in Venice. Just this last summer, on a trip to Austria, Rudolf Tutz was kind enough to make a renaissance flute at a=415 for me at very short notice. It has a beautifully soft tone, and so now we are in a phase of playing this renaissance music. In those days, music was published with a separate booklet for each player, containing only the music for one instrument each. For example these "bicinein" are written for two voices: Cantus and Tenor. Of course the music of those days had no bar lines and no beams. Sometimes this renaissance music is published in modern notation, putting bars in for 2/2 time and thus suggesting that the rhythm is given by the half notes, or even the quarter notes. This leads to a ridiculously slow tempo. In reality, the rhythm is given by the full notes, and I suppose one should play at about the tempo of the beating heart, say 70 beats per minute. (Of course the full note was called a "semibrevis" in those days, indicating that in still earlier music, the brevis was the "short" note, giving the tempo at double that speed again.) Therefore this music is a difficult, but very rewarding challenge to play. All of the pieces are quite different from one another. There are strange rhythms, almost avant-garde combinations of notes. It is a totally different musical world than that which we are familiar with. And it only makes sense when both voices are played together.
    The original notation poses a number of problems for the modern eye. For one thing, one is expected to skip back and forth fluently between different kinds of clefs. Then the rhythm often goes against the beat for a time, through different note values, confusing both players. In fact, for anyone who still believes that renaissance music is simple, I challenge you to play the 27th piece in this collection fluently without a great deal of preparation!
    In any case, our difficulties were such that I decided to try putting these pieces of Pietro Vinci into the computer in order to have a more easy score to read. At first this was just a matter of having modern notation. Yet for the purist, that distorts the final result so that you end up playing the music as if it were some kind of baroque monstrosity, or whatever. But then I discovered that Lilypond does offer the possibility of setting music in the mensural notation. Perhaps this is still too "easy" to read. Lilypond does separate the notes slightly into whole note groups so that one does not get lost so easily in syncopated rhythms. Also, having both voices together on a single page results in the player looking at the music of the partner, rather than listening to it. This was certainly not Vinci's intention! In any case it is not quite as bad as modern notation, and it does enable us to play the music in the first place.
    The source file is here. I have corrected two quite gross mistakes in the "La danzulina" piece (although it remains a very unusual piece of music). Also I have put in an accidental which wasn't in the original music in a couple of places. The musician is expected to accommodate this "musica ficta" spontaneously into the playing, especially to avoid the unpleasant tritone. But I have found that in one or two places this comes up so unexpectedly that I needed to have it in the written music. In five of the pieces, the cantus voice is placed in the violin clef. Of course in those days, that meant it was played an octave higher than the modern convention. This is a bit high for my tenor flute, so I have transposed them down either a fourth or a fifth, as has been indicated in the titles. One little "problem" with the Lilypond mensural notation is that when writing an accidental to indicate that a b should be played, rather than b flat, the natural symbol is set, rather than the sharp symbol which was usual in renaissance printing. Therefore, if you play the music in transposition, you will have to make the effort to remember to play a sharp when you see one of these natural accidentals. I could have told Lilypond to write #b, but that seems to be taking this imitation of the authentic somewhat too far!
    Of course, given that you have worked out how to play in transposition, then the question arises as to why I bother to transpose the five pieces here which are in the violin clef in the original printing. For one thing, it was fun to see how nicely Lilypond can do this. But also it is not quite so trivial to transpose down a fourth while playing music which is as complicated as this. (I am still trying to avoid the lower two e flats on the renaissance flute at all costs!)

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Telemann's 12 Fantasias.
    There are various editions of these fantasias. For years I have had the Bärenreiter edition which was edited by Günter Haußwald. Every so often I have a phase of thinking of them as being very superior exercises for the flute, and I just play through them without thinking about repeats, just having fun. So my copy of these notes is beginning to look rather seedy, and it is falling apart.
    After concentrating on something else for our Christmas concert this year, I got back to the fantasias; but more and more, I found that playing from the Bärenreiter edition was becoming a frustrating experience. In particular, with all these accidentals, I find with increasing age that my mind wanders too much, and so when arriving at the end of a bar, I must ask myself if a given note was already declared to be an accidental more towards the beginning of the bar, or not? Back in the old days, this rule about an accidental holding for the rest of the bar, then forget about it in the next bar, was not applied. On the contrary, accidentals were marked accidentals if they were that, and not if they were not. How much simpler life was in those days! Also, of course, going back a bit further, people didn't even use bars in music at all, so this complicated modern rule would have been meaningless.
    Thus I decided to try and set the fantasias myself in large print Lilypond type, trying to give an exact reproduction of the original printing which Telemann himself organized back in 1728, or thereabout. For this, I needed a facsimile edition, and I see that Barthold Kuijken published one in 1987, originally by Musica Rara, but now by Breitkopf and Härtel. And for me, his recital of all 12 in one go in the historic town hall at Osnabruck was one of the most impressive concerts I have experienced.
    His edition also includes a transcription in modern notation. This is necessary, even though he always recommends that one play from facsimiles of the original editions where possible, since the only copy - which is in the Brussels Conservatory Library - is in poor condition and in places it is hardly readable. Certainly this modern transcription of Kuijken is much superior to that of Haußwald. Yet, of course, it retains the modern problem of accidentals in bars. Also it is not perfect. For example the sixth note in bar 20 of the first allegro in the 5th fantasia is clearly an "a", and not a "g". In bar 34 of fantasia 6, the 4th note is elongated, something which occurs many times in Telemann's printing. In such cases, he had corrected a mistake in the original engraving. Barthold Kuijken says that in this instance, the correction is from "f" to "g", but to my ear, it sounds better if we think the correction was in the other direction.
    Anyway, I have tried to reproduce the notation of Telemann's original printing as exactly as possible - including the methods of notating repeats and alternative endings which were used in those days. Also it seems to me that these big, crowded notes give more the feeling of the original. (Telemann crowded each fantasia onto a single page!) Undoubtedly I have also made mistakes, but the intentional changes from the original notation are in parenthesis. In particular in fantasia 8, bar 5 of the largo, Telemann's "g" for the 9th note seems just too strange to me, and so I would prefer to play a "g-sharp". Also the 2nd note in bar 13 of the allegro is a "g". I have left it there, but it seems to me to be very strange, and I would agree with Haußwald's changing it to an "f-sharp". On the other hand, given the obvious fact that Telemann himself carefully corrected the original printing, it seems that Haußwald might have been rather too free in his (often very sensible) editorial corrections.
    In fantasia 10, bar 49, the fifth note in the facsimile seems to me to be quite clearly a "b". Yet in all printed editions, it is rendered as a "c-sharp". After thinking about it, and also looking at the fourth note in bar 50, which is placed a fraction higher on the stave, yet still rather low for a "c-sharp", I've decided to change it. Also in bar 51, the fifth note in the facsimile does not have a natural sign before it, yet playing it as an "a-sharp" really doesn't sound particularly good. In any case, the Lilypond file is here, so you can also change and correct things as you might see fit. Following Telemann, I have written the various movements of each fantasia all together, and so Lilypond has numbered the bars without re-starting at each new movement. (Of course Telemann did not bother to number his bars in the engraving!)
    As a final note, and to realize the importance of these fantasias, it is interesting to know that after Quantz published his famous Versuch, an earlier student of his, the Danish aristocrat, Joachim von Moldenit, published his own discourse, in which he claimed that he had found much better methods of playing the flute. Thus Quantz ideas had become outdated. Naturally, the great Johann Joachim Quantz did not agree to this, and so he issued a challenge to his upstart student, proposing a musical competition in which both would play Telemann's famous fantasias, the winner to be decided by an impartial jury. Unfortunately though, von Moldenit got cold feet and failed to appear!

    (A further note: I have just discovered that there was a mistake in bar 3 of the 6th fantasia, and this despite the fact that I have often played from these notes myself. Somehow, one anticipates how the melody should go, plays it, and the eye simply glides over a wrong note without noticing the difference. Of course, as always with Lilypond, if you compile a score with a new version, then you must fiddle with things so that it again works. The syntax is always changing! That is the unpleasant side of Lilypond. But given this, I then decided to reduce the size of the notes to 22 point. The music seems to me to be somewhat more readable that way. I'm using Lilypond version 2.8.8 here, despite the fact that the current "stable" version which comes with Ubuntu 7.10 is version 2.10.xx., or whatever. But in 2.10, they made changes to the page-breaking algorithm which results in a seemingly endless recursion in longer files (and that, despite the fact that this score has the page "breakbefore" instruction at every second page). This problem has been corrected in the "unstable" version 2.11.xx, but for now I am just staying with 2.8.8., which works nicely.)

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Six Sonatas, by François Devienne (Op. 68 Livre 4).
    I don't know if there is a modern edition of these sonatas. The original edition was published in Paris in 1799. It is for flute with bass, and the bass line is very simple, no chords or bass figures. The printing is clear, and certainly adequate for the bass player. I suppose it should also be clear enough for the flute player. But in reality, my problems with the facsimile were such that I have decided to typeset it myself.
    This music of Devienne is so wonderfully melodic! It is a joy to play, and Devienne (who was the first professor of flute at the newly established Paris conservatory) saw no need for more than the single key on the baroque flute. Thus the music just flows naturally out of the single-keyed flute. I suppose one really needs a flute modeled on the patterns of the late 18th century: a Kirst, or Grenser. Still, it also sounds good on my Rottenburgh, although the occasional high f is a bit strained.
    My problem with the facsimile is that the turn (or gruppetto) symbol comes up often, but also the gruppetto figure is sometimes written out at other places. What is meant? After all, we have one way of playing it if it occurs between two notes, and another way of playing it if it is located above a single note. Often in the facsimile, the symbol floats tantalizingly halfway between the one possibility and the other. And then there is the question of how we should break up the rhythm in these figures? There are various possibilities. Thus, in playing from the facsimile, I find that after I have worked out one solution for a given part of the music, then coming back to it later, I wonder if that was the best, or perhaps I forget what had been decided upon the last time around. Such confusion! So that is the reason I've decided to do this typesetting. It was in order to decide in each case on a definite figure, and to always write it out. But rest assured, I have certainly not tried to fantasize anything new into the notes which isn't in the original, in the style of those editors of the 1950s! And I have not changed any of the figures which were specifically written out in the facsimile.
    I also have another collection of six sonatas by Devienne, published in modern notation by the Swiss publisher "Edition Kunzelmann". There is no foreword, explaining what those sonatas are, but in any case they are not Opus 68, Livre 4. It took me a while to get into playing them, owing to the fact that the spacing from the top line of the staff to the first ledger line is much larger than the spacing between the staff lines, and between the ledger lines further up. Since much of this music of Devienne takes place well above the staff, this additional extra little jump was a source of agitation not really welcomed in the music! I find it astonishing that such expensive sheet music contains such elementary mistakes. Oh well. At least I do have some sensible sheet music by Schott, which was beautifully typeset in 1964 (apparently by "Editio Musica", Budapest), giving Devienne's IV. Concerto in G major. And it is not as difficult to play as either these sonatas, or the ones in the Kunzelmann edition.
    Anyway, to return to this Opus 68, Livre 4, the facsimile has a number of mistakes. For example the number of notes in a bar is sometimes wrong. (Of course with computer typesetting this mistake never occurs, since if there is one thing the computer is good at, it is counting numbers!) Also the occasional accidental is not written out. And so forth. So I have felt free to correct such things in a way that sounds right to me. The staccatos are alternatively dotted or dashed. I can't see the logic of the difference in the facsimile, but still I have tried to maintain the original notation.
    As far as Devienne himself is concerned, the story is that he only lived to be 44 years old, dying in a sanatorium near Paris in 1803 after suffering a mental breakdown. Perhaps the strain of all those revolutionary ideas was too much to endure. Everything became decimalized: the week suddenly had 10 days, and so forth. Perhaps Devienne spent lots of emotional energy arguing against the introduction of the 10 tone scale in music! I thought that perhaps the music publishing people in those days also got distracted by their revolutionary ideas, thus leading to the mistakes which we see in the facsimile, and perhaps that also drove Devienne mad. On the other hand, having gotten started with typesetting this music myself, I see that it is much more difficult than anything that I have attempted before. So I have a great deal of sympathy with Devienne's publishers!
    I have been using the NoteEdit program, which is full of bugs, and it seizes up regularly in this music. Thus one can say that Devienne tests the limits not only of the one-keyed flute, but also the limits of contemporary software! The people who have taken over NoteEdit say that they are abandoning it, and instead are developing a new and better system, called Canorus. I'll wait till Ubuntu includes it in their official depositories. The alternative is Rosegarden. A few years ago I used to use the old Rosegarden, but the new version is too complicated for me. And I'm not interested in all this midi doodling which Rosegarden seems to have mainly become concerned with!

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Solo pour la flute traversiere (BWV 1013).
    This is Bach's so-called "partita" for flute. I've copied it from the facsimile which appears in the 1980 Amadeus edition, the modern transcription of which was edited by Hermien Teske. The lilypond source is here. Again, I have tried to reproduce the original as exactly as possible.
  • Occasionally, accidentals within a figure are unmarked if they are preceded by a similar accidental. (For example the first figure in bar 5 of the Allemande.) On the other hand, for example in bar 13 of the Allemande, sometimes a note is not marked by an accidental, although a similar marked note precedes it in the bar. Since it doesn't belong to the same figure, it must be a natural. To be clear on this, I have included a natural sign with parenthesis.
  • Also each movement in the original manuscript ends with a double bar, with colons on both sides. In modern notation, this doesn't make much sense, and lilypond simply refuses to do what it is told, stubbornly putting in a normal ending with colon on the left.
  • In the Allemande, I have reproduced the method used to notate the repeat in bar 19 in the original. It should be obvious what to do here.
    I also have Barthold Kuijken's edition, which was published by Breitkopf. Of course his annotations are extremely scholarly and not to be taken lightly. But as he says, we should examine the original sources for ourselves and draw our own conclusions. (And don't be put off by the often overly pedantic pronouncements in Quantz treatise in this regard!)
    It seems to me that the repeat signs on the double bars at the ends of the movements should not be taken so seriously. Isn't it a bit ridiculous to start again after forcing that high "a" out of the baroque flute in the allemande? (Although I will say that my Denner flute plays very lightly at the top, which would render this proposed repeat not quite as ridiculous as it would otherwise be. On the other hand, simply restarting the music at bar 20, or halfway through bar 19, hardly makes much sense. Kuijken's suggestion is to restart at bar 20, but without playing the first note.) In each of these movements, the first section is much shorter than the second section, and furthermore, the last note of each second section is a very definite fermata. So my feeling is that it would be more natural to say that the first section should be repeated, but the repeat sign at the end of the movement, which - in our modern notation - would mean that the second section should be repeated, would be better interpreted in the baroque spirit. Namely, all those colons are simply there to give a better decoration to the score, rounding things out nicely in their appearance and preparing us gracefully for the next movement. After all, the two points to the right of a double bar at the end of a movement don't make sense in modern music notation anyway. The solution offered by Teske is to ignore the repeat of the second section of the allemande, but to retain the repeats of the second sections of the three other movements.
    The modern editions which I have seen all make "editorial corrections" to the original, the idea being that the two copyists who were responsible for the original manuscript "obviously" made some typographical mistakes. Well, it is true that the first copyist, who, thankfully, gave up after completing only the first section of the first movement, splotched the ink on pretty heavily, so you must look closely with a magnifying glass. But the second copyist had a very precise and careful hand.
    For example in bar 10 of the Sarabande, all modern editors find it necessary to change the rhythm so that it is the same as in bar 12. But in the manuscript, bar 10 is written out very carefully and precisely. And after all, this little trick with rhythm is just what Bach does at the beginning of the first movement of his magnificent Sonata in e major where nobody says that it is a mistake. And then there are the bars 19 and 20 of the Corrente. For some reason, most editors want to change the "d" in bar 19 into a "d#". At least Kuijken follows the original here. Yet he does change the "f" in bar 20 to an "f#". However, in both cases, the manuscript is quite clear. So, given that most people are used to the "usual" editorial alterations, I have felt it necessary to put a natural sign in parenthesis before both of these notes.
    And then, finally, as an added note, I will say that I actually have three printed editions of this "partita"! The third one is something I got many years ago; a Bärenreiter edition edited by Hans-Peter Schmitz. I suppose he was a professional orchestral player. He writes in his Preface that, in particular, the Allemande "presents technical problems such as will preoccupy every true flautist for the rest of his life...", etc. So a certain mystic has grown up around this music. Thankfully though, Barthold Kuijken takes a much more down-to-earth view. This is not the most difficult piece by a long shot! For example the flute part in Bach's St. John's Passion - played with full tempo - is much more difficult.
    Surely the real problem with the Allemande is that it is a meditation on thirds. With modern equal temperament instruments, a third is defined to be the four twelfths power of 2 (or in other words, the cube root of two). That is approximately 1.2599... This is a mathematical abstraction which differs significantly from the true harmonic third, which is the fraction 5/4=1.25. Thus, at almost every step of the Allemande, the "modern" flute is out of tune by the factor of something less than 1/100, or say a tenth of a semitone. This is the true "technical problem which will preoccupy the flautist". One solution, as adopted by Jean-Pierre Rampal, is to play the thing with a machine gun-like staccato, jolting the listener with a dazzling presto in the hope that speed will overcome everything. Another possible solution, as advocated by Schmitz, is to play with an exaggerated rhythm, "like the heavy pendulum of a clock". This also serves to distract the listener, and the frustrated player, from the out-of-tune thirds.
    The happy alternative is to take up the baroque flute, which does actually produce harmonic thirds. Or you could play it on the violin, if that is your instrument, since that also allows just intonation. After all, the Allemande is not supposed to be a particularly fast movement. You should enjoy the beauty of the thirds and their gradual changes as the piece progresses.

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Sonata: Del Sigr. Le Brun.
    Despite the title on the manuscript, this is a sonata of Jean Daniel Braun. The Lilypond source is here. The manuscript can be found at the Danish Royal Library. They also have Braun's solo exercises for flute online, and huge numbers of further things as well! How pleasant it would be if the other libraries of the world also adopted such a progressive approach to making their old manuscripts easily available. Yes, Denmark is a wonderful country! We have often been there on holiday.
    The reason I have become aware of this internet presence of the Danish Royal Library is that recently, I found that Scott Smith of Johns Hopkins University has an internet page of Baroque Flute Resources, and he has included a link to this page of mine. But also he has a link to the Danish Royal Library. There is just so much there that I hardly know where to start. (And, of course, in the end one only has time to do just a little.) But since I enjoy Braun's exercises, and also I have a facsimile collection of some trio sonatas of his which we have found to be nice, I thought I would see if the people in Denmark have anything of Braun. So this turned up.
    The manuscript, which comes across as a pdf file, is almost sufficiently clear to play from it if you print it out. The copyist had a very clear style. (And I have no idea why he decided to change Braun's name into "Le Brun".) Still, my project here is to put these things into Lilypond, so why not? And I think it turns out to be a very pleasant sonata. It is a bit like a finger exercise, particularly in the last movement. But it has the merit of being not trivial for the cello, or viola da gamba player who accompanies you.
    I've also downloaded a sonata of Abel, but have not yet gotten around to looking at it very much. It seems to be the very same copyist at work there as well. Could it be that this was somebody in the employ of the Danish court back in those days, who was set the task of writing these things out as cleanly as possible?
    In any case, not all accidentals are written out explicitly. Since I've really just put this in the computer in order to play it myself, I decided to let Lilypond use the "modern cautionary" accidental style, which seems to me to be most clear. I wasn't quite sure what to do about the page turnings. The allegro is really too long to squeeze it onto two pages (and this is only the 20 point font). The manuscript has it on two and a half pages as well, but then the gavotte is on a single page, which again would be too much of a squeeze. The manuscript seems to be in a bound folio, and there is a page turning at the repeat of the allegro. So that would also be possible here.
    After playing this sonata a few times, I find that the articulations of the allegro movement - as they are written in the manuscript - are too confusing. As is often the case with this baroque music, the pattern of articulation is given in the first few bars, then the copyist doesn't bother to continue writing it in, assuming that the performer simply carries on as before. But somehow that tends to overload my brain in this instance, so I've written what seems to me the sensible continuation of the articulation throughout the allegro. And to further reduce the mental effort, I have also written in more of the accidentals than was done in the manuscript.

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Sonata: Del Sigr. Abel.
    (With lilypond source.) This is another sonata from the Danish Royal Library, this time by Carl Friedrich Abel in his typically gallant style. Although Abel was the last great viol virtuoso, the bass line of this sonata is simple. The copyist included a much more detailed account of the articulations this time. But I did feel compelled to correct one note in bar 42 of the allegro.
    When writing a grace note, we must specify some sort of note duration; usually they are written as eighth, or sixteenth notes. Some people take these durations seriously, and play them as if they were non-grace notes in the normal line of the music. Thus I suppose a sixteenth grace note standing before a half note would be played as an abrupt impulse, followed by a long note where one tries to recover ones balance from this sudden stumbling feeling which has just pushed us off balance.
    In this sonata, Abel - or at least his Danish copyist - has made it impossible for such pedantic musicians to play in such a way. For example we have many instances of grace notes which are written as eighth notes, standing in front of eighth notes. (Bar 3 of the Adagio, etc.) And then in bar 78 of the Allegro, there is a sixteenth grace note before a half note. Whatever the logic of all this is, I have tried to give an accurate reading of what is there in the manuscript. In any case, I have found that by ignoring such problems, the sonata becomes a very pleasant piece of music.
    Modern musical academics have given Abels various works their opus numbers. I don't know if the Danish Royal Library knows how to classify this work, but in any case, they do not quote such a number in their catalog.

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Binicien: Orlando di Lasso.
    This music, published in 1577, consists of 24 pieces for two instruments: vox superior and vox inferior. The title page is here, and the source here. The first twelve pieces are songs - or perhaps one would say madrigals - all in Latin. For singers, the challenge is perhaps not best expressed in rapidity of execution! In any case, we have found that when playing them with flute and viol, there is no great technical challenge. On the other hand, the last twelve pieces are a different matter all together. Only by putting the two voices together in a single score like this have we been able to gradually begin to play this music in a sensible way.
    Some of the pieces begin with lots of long notes, then suddenly there is a change of character, with many short notes. When setting this music and checking for mistakes by letting the computer doodle through it with the MIDI interpreter, following an electronically exact and unwavering tempo from beginning to end, this abrupt change in perceived tempo becomes laughable. In 1577, Lasso had neither MIDI players nor even metronomes! Therefore, I am sure that he would find the modern tendency to play "classical" music with a metronome-like rigidity of tempo to be quite unpleasant. So I would suggest that you be free to imagine that some of these pieces consist of two or more contrasting phases. For example, number 18 could be played with a moderate, singing tempo up to bar 46, counting in whole notes, but then after the rest, one could continue by taking the beat to consist of half notes. Of course number 21 involves three quite distinct phases. The tempo of the single whole notes in the first and last parts should perhaps equal the tempo of three whole notes in the triple time part in the middle.
    I have let Lilypond transpose a number of these pieces into a range more comfortable for my tenor flute. Of course you can obtain the non-transposed source simply by erasing the "\transpose" instruction. In particular, the number 20 was too low for us. In the original key, written as if it were c major, only few accidentals appear in the source. However, in reality many of the b's should really be played as b-flat. So the whole thing tends towards f major. But then, unfortunately, the transposition upwards means that the flautist must play lots of e-flats. How unpleasant! On the other hand, if, for example, you have two viols, then I'm sure it sounds equally good, both in the original key and in this transposition.
    In any case, these pieces certainly have much more character, and they are a greater challenge, than the renaissance music which was written by some of the more obscure composers from that period.

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Il Dolcimelo: Aurelio Virgiliano.
    This comes from the facsimile of a hand-written manuscript which was written around the year 1600. It includes drawings of viols, zinks, and other chamber instruments of the renaissance period, including flutes, together with fingering charts. There are tables of standardized musical ornaments, as were published back then by Ortiz and Ganassi. And then also a section of 13 rather long ricercatas. In most of them, the ink seems to have spread out into black smudges, obliterating the notes, rendering everything unreadable. But thankfully three of them are almost totally free of smudges and can be easily read; namely the ricercata 6, 7, and 8. The Lilypond source is here. I have corrected things in one or two places, adding in a single note so that the rhythm comes out right. The numbers 11 and 13 are reasonably readable, and they are also suitable to be played on the renaissance flute. Number 12 is almost completely free of smudges, but it is written for the viola bastarda and is thus not suitable for the flute.
    Perhaps I would have continued with 11 and 13; however when browsing about the internet, I discovered that London Pro Musica have published an edition of all 13 of these ricercatas in modern notation. How they could ever make sense of the smudges in number 4 is beyond me! So I must take off my hat to them. Perhaps the original manuscript has retained more of the original notes, shining through the smudge, than can be seen in this facsimile.
    In any case, the manuscript has endlessly long chains of eighth notes, all joined together with a single long beam with curlicues at the ends. It looks appallingly unmusical. But then when transforming it into modern notation, it does take on a certain amount of form. Interesting rhythms.  At the very least they provide scale exercises in the style of the renaissance, and some idea of the practical ornamentation in those days. But certainly nobody would say that they are suitable for performance, as for example the pieces in Ortiz book are. 

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Three Sonatas: Johann Philipp Kirnberger.
    The facsimiles of these sonatas were also downloaded from the the online collection of the Royal Danish Library (the link to which is here). They are numbered five to eight, so I suppose the library must have the numbers one to four in their collection as well. Hopefully they will also be put online in the future.
    I have only set the sonatas 5 to 7 here, not bothering with number 8 since it was published by Schott as a single edition many years ago. I bought it for 19.50 (I'm sure that was back in the DM days, before the introduction of the Euro; even so, the price seems to me to be rather steep for just one single sonata of printed music). Well, it was worth it. After all, since, as professional publishers, they went to the trouble of writing out some chords for the right hand of the harpsichordist, I was able to play it in a more serious way.
    In contrast to that, I have only set the flute part and the bass line in the three sonatas here, ignoring the bass figures. My mind is too simple to imagine going beyond the linear notes of the flute, so it would be nonsense for me to try to invent the chords which a keyboard player would use. And few people these days are comfortable playing from the figured bass alone. But for flute and viol, or cello, this is enough. And anyway, if anyone needed the figures, it wouldn't be difficult to add them in using Lilypond.
    The Schott edition doesn't bother to include a Preface, explaining what the sonatas are. The Danish library also gives no further indication. In addition to these, I have three other sonatas of Kirnberger in other editions, and they are all different from the sonatas here.
    Of course Kirnberger is perhaps best known for the system of tuning keyboard instruments which he published in his famous Die Kunst des reinen Satzes. He had earlier been with J.S. Bach in Leipzig, so it is reasonable to say that this system represents Bach's Well Tempered Klavier tuning. Kirnberger published his treatise later, in his capacity as music master to the princess Anna Amalia of Prussia in the 1770s. But he was a violinist in Frederick the Great's palace orchestra as early as 1751, so it is clear that the flute sonatas which he wrote were intended for the King. I often enjoy playing them. Afterwards, when riding my bicycle, or whatever, I find the melodies continuing back and forth in my head.
    Probably most music historians would not rate him as being one of the all-time greats in the pantheon of the music world. The Oxford Companion to Music gives him about two inchs in a single column on one page. The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music gives him about the same (in a smaller typeface), but they say that his compositions are "correct, but uninspired".
    My theory is that these music historians are all keyboard players, and so they cannot be inspired by the linear melody of flute music. It seems to me that Kirnberger kept the bass line very simple so as not to irritate Frederick; yet it does have an interesting linear pattern, not only accompanying the flute, but leading it as well. Thus the great musicians of the court orchestra, with C.P.E. Bach at the harpsichord, could have improvised a wonderful music around these sonatas.

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Bicinien: Antoino Troilo.
     The facsimiles of these bicinien are quite clearly printed and so don't really need this transcription into computer typesetting. The reason I have done it is that the different pieces have widely differing ranges - for example the tenor part starts off in the tenor (or C4) clef in the duos 1 to 8, then in 11, 12 and 13 it jumps up to the treble clef. Thus, in order to play them easily on the tenor flute, together with bass viol, I wanted lilypond to transpose them automatically into sensible ranges for those two instruments. However, since I see that some people are actually looking at this internet site of mine, I thought it would be best to remove the "transpose" instructions from the lilypond source (here) and simply give you the non-transposed version of this music, leaving you to transpose things into the best range for whatever combination of instruments you might be using.
    These are quite lively pieces. And I find it interesting that Troilo describes the moods of the various sections of each duo by calling them "capricios", "scherzos", "sinfonias", and so forth. Since most of the pieces have more than one such description, it is clear that we should look for changes in mood while progressing through the music.
    When I got to the duo number 10, I stopped, since that piece made no sense at all. Somehow the printers in Venetia back then in 1608 seem to have garbled things up to such an extent that the middle part of the piece is totally unintelligible. This put me off the whole business for weeks; but then we decided that we were getting tired of playing the same old stuff over and over, and therefore I resolved to proceed onward with 11. Eventually, I came back to 10 and just invented a few notes of my own in the middle of the piece - leaving things for the most part unchanged. At least it does now come out more or less correctly. Also I have changed the notation in the 21st piece, but without changing any of the notes. In the original printing, things waver between the C4 and the C3 clefs in the bass line, and between the C1 and G clefs in the canto line. This seems to me to be a ridiculous complication. But also the key changes back and forth between having b-flat, and not having it. In such a short piece this only leads to confusion; and anyway, the computer can automatically put in the flat symbol for the few bars here and there when we are in a flat key.
    I did google the name Antonio Troilo, and I find that there are numbers of Italian people living today with that name. But I also find that I am not the first person to have had the idea of typesetting this music. It seems that a number of publishers are selling editions of Troilo's music in modern notation. Perhaps they are superior to what I have here. Perhaps my confusion with the tenth piece has a more sensible resolution than that which I have found. But at least we find it to be pleasant to play from this (pseudo) mensural notation, and it is easier than playing directly from the facsimile, since we can see each others music while playing.

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Biciniorum: Sethus Calvisius.
     This music is a collection of duets put together by Sethus Calvisius. Apparently his real name was Seth Kalwitz, and he became the Thomas Cantor in Leipzig in 1594; that is 150 years before the great Johann Sebastian Bach had that position. Sethus Calvisius was not only an organist; he was also a mathematician and an astronomer. His Biciniorum was published in the year 1612, and the Royal Library at Copenhagen has made its copy accessible on the internet. Most of the duets are songs of a religious nature. But it finishes off with a mixed collection of fifty instrumental duets which I have typeset here.
    Calvisius used a number of the duets in the book of Orlando di Lasso which I had already typeset, thus allowing me to simply copy them over into this collection. Nevertheless, it has taken me some time to finish this project. And the printing in the facsimile presents the reader with certain problems.
    Some time before 1600, music notation changed, so that the beat of the music was generally given by the half note, rather than the whole note as had been the case before that time. This was an unfortunate development which only made reading the music more difficult. After all, it is very easy to differentiate between the longa, the breve, the whole note and the half note. Each of these has a totally different form from the others. And if one of those notes was filled in with black, then that had a different meaning to the meaning which is assigned in modern notation. But if, as in this music from 1612, everything is based on the half note, then most of it consists of half notes and quarter notes. They look identical except for the fact that the quarter notes are filled in with black. Then the eighth notes are again identical with the quarter notes, except for a little curlicue attached to the stem.
    The problem is that in this old book, the ink has often faded, or smeared, leaving a certain scope in deciding if a given note is black, or not. Or if a smudge is a curlicue, or not. And looking closely at the printing, it seems that the black notes were produced by the printers in those days by simply scratching the printing plates, thus producing only scratchy filled-in notes in the first place.
    But even with touched-up facsimiles which are as clear as the original printings of the 17th century, such as those offered by Spes-Editore in Florence, it is often difficult to read this style of music. There are no beams to guide the eye, and it is very easy to miss the odd quarter note sitting in the middle of a collection of eighth notes. All those identical stems make the eyes swim!
    Therefore, when setting this music, I often found that it didn't come out right. Listening to the midi reproduction, it was usually possible to find where I had confused one kind of note with another. But then it soon became clear that the printers of 1612 had also made many typographical mistakes. There is a page of corrections included in the book (or errores insigniores sic corrigantur, to use the quaint Latin of those days). Yet I find that there were numbers of additional mistakes not listed in the errores, and so I have taken the liberty of altering a few notes here and there.
    However the duet number 69 was beyond repair. In the vox inferior book, the piece in the 69th place is numbered LIX, rather than LXIX. Yet it is different from the LIX piece earlier in the book. After pondering this problem with the missing LXIX, and letting myself be carried away with frustration, I have simply left it out of the collection here. One possible solution to this LXIX problem would be that the librarians in Copenhagen made a mistake while scanning the thing. On the other hand, the fact that there is a sensible LIX speaks against such a thesis. But also the following piece, LXX, had many mistakes. After some experimentation, I was able to find a combination of notes which does give a more or less reasonable rendition of LXX. Thus it seems to me that there must have been some problem with the printers back in 1612. Perhaps they let a disgruntled apprentice have a go at it, and couldn't be bothered to correct all his mistakes.
    I wouldn't say that each of the pieces here is wonderful music. It is a very mixed collection. But at least the pieces by Josquin des Prez are well worth playing. I have reproduced the spelling of names as they are found in the book. Most - although not that of Josquin - have been latinized in strange ways.
    In order to permit double-sided printing and to avoid page turnings, as in Calvisius' books, I have printed most of the pieces over two pages. This has resulted in some of the shorter pieces becoming somewhat uncomfortably widely spaced. But, as in the original, the last piece by Brumel does require a page turning. However we can avoid this problem by printing it single-sided.

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Tonus de Canto: Hieronymus Scotus.
     These duets are the last pieces in the book of "villancicos", which was published by Girolamo Scotto in 1556. The only surviving copy, from which the facsimile was made, is in the Uppsala University Library in Sweden. For this reason, the book is known as the "Cancionero de Upsala".
    A villancico is apparently a village, or folk song of the Iberian Peninsula. But the genre expanded to include religious motives. Thus the book contains 54 of these short, simple songs, all of which have much melody, written for between two and five voices. The title of the book, in the English translation given in the link above, is:

"Villancicos from various authors, for 2, and 3, and 4, and 5 voices, now again revised. There are also 8 tones of plainchants, and 8 tones of organum for the benefit of those that are still learning to sing. Venice, by Geronimo Scotto, 1556"

    I have set the "8 tones of organum" part here. These are without words and are certainly not simply melodious songs. One reason for setting this music was in order to transpose it into ranges more suitable for the renaissance flute and bass viol. However here, I have left as it is in the original. Another reason is, of course, that the facsimile is often rather difficult to read, and furthermore, while the two voices are on facing pages in the book, still it is impossible to follow both while playing. The lilypond source file is here.
    The original contained a mistake in the seventh duo around the bars 102 to 105, so I have made a couple of alterations there. There was also a small correction necessary in one of the earlier duos, but I have been setting this music very gradually and so I've forgotten where it was.

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Der Brauchbare Virtuoso: Johann Mattheson.
     The German word "brauchbar" means "useful" in English. So it is unclear what Mattheson was trying to say with this title. Does he suggest that all those virtuosos could try and make themselves useful by playing these sonatas? Or does it mean that dilettantes who might have bought these sonatas when Mattheson had them published in Hamburg, in 1720, by doing so have shown that they are - or at least are trying to become - useful musicians? One way or another, after printing the title page in the usual style of those days with all its frills and exaggerated expressions, there follows three pages, dedicating the work to a couple of other musicians. (In those days, Hamburg was a free city, not subject to the oppressive ballast of some minor Duke, or Prince, or whatever.) Then comes 14 pages of writings which, at least for me, are extremely difficult to read. For one thing it is set in that old, almost unreadable Germanic fraktur style of printing. It is divided into sections with the titles: "Prologus", "Actus Primus", "Actus Secundus", "Actus Tertius", and "Epilogus". It's all meant to be witty, with involved, ironic, archaic words, almost impossible to decipher now, in a world which has changed beyond all recognition from the world of Hamburg in 1720.
    In those days, the oboe was considered to be much more useful than the flute. This can be seen not only in paintings from the time, and diagrams of the seating arrangements for orchestras. But also it was very common to have the oboe playing along with the strings in most of the pieces, say in a cantata or an opera, and then in the middle of things, we might have an isolated solo for the flute, perhaps together with the soprano, giving a peaceful, ethereal contrast, without oboe. So it seems to me that it must have been the practice in those days for the oboe player to also play the flute. Indeed, both Quantz and Hotteterre mention this. So it may be that Mattheson's idea when publishing these sonatas was to provide the oboe players of his time with some material with which to become better acquainted with the particulars of the baroque flute. It is certainly true that some of these pieces are more like études than anything else.
    Johann Mattheson was a good friend of Handel. However, famously, they did have a duel after a performance of Mattheson's opera Cleopatra, in Hamburg in 1704, where Mattheson nearly killed Handel. Whatever the merits of that opera might have been, they soon made up and became friends once again. Mattheson wrote numbers of operas, cantatas, and so on. They were stored in the archives of Hamburg, but became lost after the upheavals of World War Two. The present sonatas were not lost. The Royal Library of Denmark retained both a copy of the original printing, and also a hand copy of the music. Both can be downloaded as pdf files here. At first, I thought that the Danish library only had the hand copy, and thus I looked through the catalog of S.P.E.S. in Florence, seeing that they do have a facsimile of the printed work. It has been 12 or 15 years since I last ordered something from S.P.E.S. Back then, you just rang them up on the telephone, and they sent you what you wanted. Most of the music only cost 15 or 20 thousand lira, which would be about 7 or 10 euros. What a shock it was to find out that Der Brauchbare Virtuoso now costs €31.90! A rate of inflation of over 300%! And then the shipping costs would have been €20.- or something! I will restrain myself from indulging here in a diatribe on the evils of the common European currency. But at least I did discover that there is another publisher of this facsimile music, offering things at a more reasonable price. Namely "Performers Facsimiles, New York". Very much to be recommended!
    Unfortunately though, when I got the facsimile, I found that the printing technique used by Mattheson's Hamburg publishers was terrible. It was an attempt to use the primitive "single-impression" printing to cope with the more modern style musical notation. It is difficult for me to understand how such a monstrosity could have been produced in those days, considering the fact that Walsh in London was producing beautifully engraved music. And Mattheson himself was an Anglophile, often visiting London. Anyway, all of this led me to typeset the music for myself, but using the more readable hand copy. Not only is it more readable, it corrects some incredible mistakes in the original printing. For example, the first sonata is written in the key of D-major, but in the printing, it is written as if it were in G-major, with huge numbers of C#'s everywhere! The figured bass is then correspondingly "baroque" in the printed edition, owing to it being in the wrong key. I did see that in the newer Lilypond, it is possible to put the bass figures between the staves, and so I started setting that as well. But the figures in Lilypond are much too big, disrupting the whole appearance of the score, and anyway, for our combination they are not necessary, so I gave up on that.
    As mentioned above, most of Mattheson's music became lost after World War Two, but then in 1998 it was rediscovered in the town of Yerevan, in Armenia, and so it was returned to the Library of the University of Hamburg. Amongst those manuscripts was the Christmas Oratorio called "Das Grosse Kind" (The Great Child). We performed this work a couple of years ago for the first time since its last performance in the 18th century, playing at the lower intonation of "a"=392. Of course I am unable to play the oboe, but I was able to try my hand at the beautiful flute solo in the middle of the work. Perhaps for this reason, I find the 12 sonatas in Der Brauchbare Virtuoso to be pleasant, and I enjoy reading Matthesons words of admonition and encouragement for the dilettante at the beginning of the printed edition.

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Il Primo Libro a Due Voci: Bernadino Lupacchino & Ioan Maria Tasso.
     There are 39 pieces in this book (of course, in the facsimile it is two booklets: tenor and cantus) which was published in 1560. On the title page, the name of the first composer, Lupacchino, is printed in a very large type, then a line below, Tasso's name appears in a type only half as big. Googling these names produces numbers of sites advertising modern editions of their music, with no information about their lives. But when playing the music, one does have the impression that the pieces of Lupacchino are often more interesting and melodious than those of Tasso.
    While the facsimiles are quite clear, the different pieces are written in differing registers so that a certain amount of transposition is necessary. Nevertheless, I have left them here as in the original so that you can transpose them as you would like. It is often the case with these renaissance facsimiles that the printing contains numbers of typographical errors. Particularly with the number 27, it took some time to find the mistakes.
    In the original printing, exactly 39 pages are used for the 39 pieces, and no page turnings in the middle of those pieces are required. But that is not to say that all the pieces are equally long. Some are quite a bit longer than the others, flowing over onto the second page, thus leaving only a couple of further lines for a short piece to fill up the second page, sometimes accompanied by the word "Residuum". Such short pieces are written in alla breve. Since I have let each piece start on a new page, and each page contains both parts, we end up with 67 pages, rather than the 39 of the original.

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A note about Lilypond:
    What I had written here concerning Lilypond has become rather outdated. I had complained about the fact that the syntax was continuously changing from one version to the next, and the different versions seemed to replace one another at short intervals. But now, thankfully, the developers of Lilypond seem to have settled on the stable version 2.10, and I think that has remained the distributed version for almost the last two years (as of August 2008). There are still many features which I have yet to discover. For example, I had always had trouble trying to get the music to fit evenly onto a given number of pages. But now I have discovered the simple method of specifying the "system-count", which should be put into the "\layout" block of a score.
    It has been a year or two since I have added anything here. They have now reached the version 2.15. But I am still in the version 10.04 of Ubuntu Linux, and that includes the version 2.12.3 of Lilypond. At least up to that version, the developers of Lilypond have not changed the syntax to any extreme degree. Version 2.12 was able to compile older music, written in the syntax for version 2.8. And on the positive side, there are a number of improvements in the appearance of the finished score.

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Feeling free to copy things
    Just to be clear on this, I've thought it might be a good idea to include the "creative commons" license here. Namely:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Which is to say that I hope as many people as possible might find some value in the sheet music which I have put together on this site, and thus freely copy it. I have only used facsimiles of original editions of music which appeared hundreds of years ago.