Viola and viola da gamba
If you are transcribing for viola a piece written for viola da gamba, how much do you need to change the notes? Is it up and octave like of you are transcribing cello music for viola, or is it some other interval? Thanks
The tuning system of a gamba is very different from any modern strings.
Cotton - I understand that the tuning system is different. I have seen an alto clef on gamba music which is a third above where the alto clef sits for viola. What note does that clef designate? Is it middle C? Or some other note? Or is most gamba music written on bass clef as with cello?
Middle C is always the line or space going right through the middle of that clef.
ok, thanks. That's helpful.
I have adapted many pieces of gamba music for viola especially those of Marin Marais.
Adrian - thanks. That's interesting. I happen to be playing a Suite in D Major (not the one which you can find on youtube and IMSLP but another) which has been transcribed for viola, and I assume the original instrument was gamba but do not know. So, I got curious.
Most publishers prefer to keep their original keyboard accompaniment.
Much cello and "gamba" music fits very well into viola range. The only thing necessary is to write the music in a clef familiar to the player of that instrument. Only the cello's lowest octave is inaccessible to the viola.
Andrew - I have done the Arpegionne on the viola using the Barenreiter edition. Normally, all you have to do to transcribe cello music for viola is write it up an octave. Of course, the Arpegionne was not really a cello, and while all of the string instruments could play some of it as originally written, none of them has the range to play all of it as written.
Tom, can we be sure how the original really was written. It seems to me when I watched Rostropovich play it seems there were differences from the cello music I had purchased.
Adrian, I imagine that when you were studying the Elgar, the Du Pré/Barbirolli disc would have just been made. When I was being taught it (Tertis's arrangement, which recogized that those solo pizzicato chords, as such, just don't work on the viola), I hadn't heard of Jacqueline Du Pré!
John, I'm still struggling with your Melancholy Galliard arrangement!! Lots of weird shifts and stretches. It works better if we don't try to sustain so many "voices": more arpeggios and Bach-like sketched polyphony (poly-phoney?) But I'm determined to do it before re-voicing or transposing..
Andrew - IMSLP has it as written, as far as I can tell. Take a look.
The piano part often has the original, treble clef an octave higher, as for the guitar.
Adrian, I'm not surprised - I haven't succeeded in playing it in such a way that I'd want to listen to it in a concert.
Oh dear, if it's not Jacqueline Du Pré in my mind's ear it's Kathleen Ferrier!
Yes, Adrian, the interpretation I tried to put on the Brahms songs rather mirrored that of her violist (Max Gilbert) - whether that was me spontaneously or I had listened to them in my teenage years when hearing her recording of the Vier ernste Gesänge and subconsciously imbibed it so effectively as to wipe out any influence of Cecil Aronowitz's, I don't know.
I just purchased the Bach sonatas for Gamba and continuo (Barenreiter ed.). There is a part for gamba and a part for viola. Both are alto clef. I compared them and found that a couple of notes in the Gamba part go below the range of the viola, and the editor transcribed some of the notes around those places an octave higher, but almost everything is within the viola range.