[PDF] Ceccherini, Niccolo - Fuga

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Frank Nordberg

[PDF] Ceccherini, Niccolo - Fuga

Post by Frank Nordberg » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:00 pm

[Edit 09-02-2013: Uploaded a revised version of the score, moved the tablature version to the tablature section and added a transcription for baroque mandola. (There had 24 downlaods of the non-tablature and 5 of the tablature edition before the revision which reset the download counter.]

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:
cecn-fuga-norf-gtr.pdf
This file has the music in standard notation only. You can find it with tablature at viewtopic.php?f=103&t=75239

Description:
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.
In case somebody here happens to play the baroque mandolin, here's a direct transcription of the original:
cecn-fuga-bqmda4.pdf
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Last edited by GeoffB on Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Corrupted file replaced

User avatar
Bernhard Heimann
Posts: 1620
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Location: Augsburg, Germany

Re: [PDF] Ceccherini, Niccolo - Fuga (trans. - Nordberg, Frank

Post by Bernhard Heimann » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:33 am

Thank you, Frank - never heard something about this composer before.

I think this piece comes closer to my playing style than the Flower Power Rag - as you supposed, because I play mainly
baroque, classical and romantic music.
One question: you've used two sharps (D major / B minor), wouldn't using one sharp only (E minor) save a lot of naturals?

Bernhard

Frank Nordberg

Re: [PDF] Ceccherini, Niccolo - Fuga (trans. - Nordberg, Frank

Post by Frank Nordberg » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:38 am

Bernhard Heimann wrote:Thank you, Frank - never heard something about this composer before.
Very few have. It's a shame really. Ceccherini obvioulsy was a very accomplished composer and he must have written music for the theorbe since it was his main instrument and almost certainly for the lute as well. Lute music of this quality by a contemporary of Vivaldi and Scarlatti would have been a great addition to the classical guitar repertoire. We can only hope that more of his works will turn up in some long neglected manuscript some day.
Bernhard Heimann wrote:I think this piece comes closer to my playing style than the Flower Power Rag
Yes, I kind'a suspected that bluesy folk picking guitar wasn't everybody's cup of tea here. Just couldn't resist posting it. :wink:
Bernhard Heimann wrote:One question: you've used two sharps (D major / B minor), wouldn't using one sharp only (E minor) save a lot of naturals?
That's a good question. The original is notated in g dorian even if it actually is in g minor and I just did a straight transposition without modifying the key signature afterwards.

It was common to use a key signature with only one flat for in g minor well into the 18th century. You'll find it in some of Bach's music too. The reason is historic. The single flat was the first key signature that was introduced and somehow the g minor key got stuck in the old notation for more than a century after all the other keys had had their signatures updated. It's just one of the many peculiarities in music history.

Of course, once the music is transposed, the archaic notation style doesn't really make any sense anymore (if it ever did) so yes, I probably should have removed one of the sharps from the key signature.
Last edited by Frank Nordberg on Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mandoisland

Re: [PDF] Ceccherini, Niccolo - Fuga

Post by mandoisland » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:30 am

Thanks for the transcription! As I am a mandolin player I would be interested in the original version for the mandolin. Is there a source for the original score?

AlexRaven

Re: [PDF] Ceccherini, Niccolo - Fuga

Post by AlexRaven » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:30 am

Very interesting and unusual piece.Is there any other guitar arrangement or it is the first one? And now my remarks. How can one hold second quarter E in 12th measure properly in 2th position? The same question about quarter C in 14th measure. And why so many sharps and naturals are in parenthesis? Do you mean it can be played both ways or maybe you have some doubts? By the way , what kind of software you prefer for guitar transcriptions? I am really wondering how you can do so many sheets for one week.

Frank Nordberg

Re: [PDF] Ceccherini, Niccolo - Fuga

Post by Frank Nordberg » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:05 am

Sorry it took me so long to reply, Michael and Alex! Your requests and questions required a bit of work and I kept getting distracted by other discussions here!
mandoisland wrote:Thanks for the transcription! As I am a mandolin player I would be interested in the original version for the mandolin. Is there a source for the original score?
I have a photocpy of the original manuscript version somewhere - if I could only remember where I put it! :oops:
Fortunately I made a transcription before I mislaid the photocopy and I've added it as an edit to the original post at the top of this page. It's not playable on a modern mandolin though. You really need an instrument tuned in fourths and it has to be fingerpicked.
AlexRaven wrote:Very interesting and unusual piece.Is there any other guitar arrangement or it is the first one?
As far as I know, this is the first time any of Ceccherini's music has been transcribed for the guitar.
AlexRaven wrote:How can one hold second quarter E in 12th measure properly in 2th position? The same question about quarter C in 14th measure.
You can't. I've uploaded a revised edition with footnotes about about these and the other places where notes can't be held for their notated duration.
AlexRaven wrote:And why so many sharps and naturals are in parenthesis? Do you mean it can be played both ways or maybe you have some doubts?
They're the ones I've added. As often in old (and even quite recent) manuscripts, there are a number of fairly obvious accidentals missing.
AlexRaven wrote:By the way , what kind of software you prefer for guitar transcriptions?
Finale 2002
AlexRaven wrote:I am really wondering how you can do so many sheets for one week.
I can't. I have quite a few solo guitar pieces I've written or transcribed over the years so I'm only making minor adaptations (cleaning up the layout, adding the copyright note and such) to files I already have on my computer. In case you are interested, I have about 170 of my own compositions (ranging from beginner's pieces to relatively advanced concert works), about 300-400 of my own arrangements and probably about 800-900 direct transcriptions of old classical guitar and lute pieces in Finale format. I am not going to post everything here - just a few samples. Sorry.

mandoisland

Re: [PDF] Ceccherini, Niccolo - Fuga

Post by mandoisland » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:11 pm

Thanks for the baroque mandolin version! I do only play neapolitan mandolins, but I will try this piece on the guitar.

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