Here is a transcription of a mandolin piece by an almost forgotten baroque composer. Stylistically this little fuga is somewhere between Sanz and Bach, in format it's perhaps closer to Sanz although a little bit larger than Sanz' better known pieces and - let's face it - composed by somebody more familiar to the possibilities of strings and frets than Sanz was:
This file has the music in standard notation only. You can find it with tablature at viewtopic.php?f=103&t=75239
In case somebody here happens to play the baroque mandolin, here's a direct transcription of the original:Niccolo Ceccherini worked as theorbist and chamber music at the court of the Grand Prince of Tuscany, Ferdinando de’ Medici (1663-1713). The Grand Prince was a great patron of music and an excellent musician himself, so holding a post as musician at his court must have given Ceccherini quite a high status in his days and also given him the chance to meet and play with many of the famous names that were invited to visit the court, such as Händel, Marcello, Pasquini, both Scarlattis and the inventor of the piano, Bartolomeo Cristofori.
Unfortunately, musicians from the old times before recording was invented tend to be remembered not by their performing skills but by their compositions. Ceccherini doesn’t seem to have ever published any music, and today he is only remembered by some small pieces - like this one - for four-course baroque mandola preserved in a 1703 manuscript.
If you read a music theory or composition textbook today, you will learn that the baroque fugue was a highly stylized contrapuntal form built on a very strict framework. This isn’t true, the fugue was in fact a rather free form. There would always be some hints of counterpoint but overall the genuine baroque fugue was a capricious fantasia, often improvised or semi-improvised by the performer. This piece doesn’t look like a fugue by today’s standard but is actually a fairly typical example of what the word meant back when it was a common music form.
As mentioned, the piece was originally written for the four-course baroque mandola, a mandolin-sized instrument strung with double gut strings tuned e'-a'-d"-g" and played with the fingers, not with a plectrum as today’s mandolins and mandolas are. I have transposed the music down an octave and a third from the key of G dorian to E dorian to better fit the guitar’s range. Although intended for the classical guitar, the music is equally suitable for steel strings and may even sound good on an electric guitar with the right tone!
You may want to use a capo to get a brighter, more mandolin-like tone. With a capo on the third fret you’ll get the same key as it was originally notated in. I’m not sure if that’s an important point though. It’ll still be an octave below the original pitch and besides, the chamber pitch back then was quite different than it is today. I prefer either to use a capo as high as it is possible to go without too many awkward upper-fret notes or to use no capo at all.
Apart from the transposition, the only changes I have made is to add some accidentals (the ones in brackets), a suggested tempo indication and left hand fingering. I decided not to add any right hand fingering since I thought that it would either be too sparse to be useful or too detailed to keep the score easily readable. You should try to use rhythmic alternate stroke as much as possible but don’t be frantic about it. The tempo indication I’ve given is just a suggestion and it is possible to make the music work in a much slower or much higher tempo.
I was tempted to add some ornament suggestions but decided not to. Any early 18th century musician would have been expected to add ornaments to a piece like this but exactly where and how would depend on each musican’s taste and skill level.