The tablature called "Ausseer Tabulatur", which on the first page bears "Denz Buch Angehörig mir Kaspar Fellner" (Book of Dances, belonging to Kaspar Fellner) is originally meant for fivestring baroque guitar. The manuscripts inventory card has the remark: "Kauf aus Grundlsee, XII 1937" (bought in Grundlsee (town in Austria), XII 1937). It is kept in the National Library of Austria and is in good condition although, unfortunately, some pages are lost. Its inventory number is S.M.9659. It is a typical french tabulature, which means we find five lines representing the five strings (or courses) of the baroque guitar. The highest line depicts the highest string. The frets to be played are represented by letters, "a" means 'open string', "b" first fret, "c" second fret and so on.
The manuscript has some distinctive features which are worth mentioning. The sequence of the dances organised in 4 "Partien" (i.e. Suites) starting with the Allemande Nr.56 until Gavotte Nr.78 is rather unusual. In no way does it follow the common <Allemande/courante/sarabande/guige> scheme and has to be called very individual, representing the personal taste or maybe local customs.
The distinction between "Trezza" and "Menuet" is unclear in some cases, understandable considering the similarities shared, although a Trezza would have dotted rhythms while a Menuett usually rather has straight Quarternotes (see "Menuette" Nr.5 und Nr.37)
But the Trezza Nr.54 stands in 4/4-measure! This can only be erroneously! Or could you imagine dancing Rock´n´Roll to a Viennese Walz?!?
The titles of the pieces are mostly the dances names. Interesting is Nr.63 "Amener", in which case Bernhard Trebuch assumes a derivation from the latin amoenus = pleasant. Explanatory are the titels "Bauern Madl" (Farmer girl) and "Gurte Nacht" (Goode Night). On who or what "Salome", "Caplan" (chaplain) and "Schmitt Courante" refer to is not known.
There are indications that the manuscript was written in at least two sections. Beginning with the "first Partie" a different quill was used, the handwriting shows slight differences, although the writer appears to be the same. There are no clearly connected pieces before this number 56. In the "Double" Nr.75 we have the use of the dynamic signs "forte" und "piano" for the first time (until the no indications are given) The name "Allamande"changes to "Allemande".
On the second page of the manuscript we
find something like a table of chords, with a listing of 24
chords in tabulatur. Each chord gets a shorthand symbol in
form of a capital letter, which has nothing to do with a
harmonical context (from A to Z with the exception of J and
U). Consequently surprising is that theses symbols find only
scarce use throughout the rest of the tablature. This might
lead to the conclusion that this table was used for
Very unusual and surprising is the use of a fingertremolo (à la Tarrega!) in number 22 "Schmitt Courante". I don´t know any other piece of this timeperiode to use this technique!.
The manuscript is in landscape format, aproximately in A4 and usually has 4 sets of five lines according to the strings per page. Only the last three pages bring a Menuet with Trio and one more Menuet, which are in standard notation in a keyboard system, therefore most likely meant for keyboard. These two pieces are the only ones in the whole manuscript who give an authors name, bearing the remark "Auth: Wagenseil". This is probably Georg Christoph Wagenseil (1715-77). The handwriting could be the same author´s as in the tablature part, but has some differences and might have been joined later to the manuscript.
The 92 dances could have been played on a modern guitar without any problems, but this would not have been the right sound. Since I had no access to a baroque guitar, I decided to record the volume on a renaissancelute, which is much closer to the original sound than a modern guitar and I only had to tune up the third course for a half step.
I used the original way of writing the pieces names without "modernizing" them throughout this article and on the CD cover, too.
A few parts of the the tabulature were published first in 1958 by Josef Klima in transcription to standard notation for keyboard. Later on Karl Scheit trancribed some of the peaces too for guitar, making arbitrary alterations frequently
Since some of the pages had disappeared some pieces are left uncomplete . I therefore had the opportunity to record the music uncomplete (thus abruptly ending them or starting where the left portion started); the second possibility was to leave the uncomplete pieces away, which really would have been a pitty; the third possibility, which I chose, was to reconstruct the missing pieces and thereby make the music playable.
Pages 19 -24 are lost and also 29, 35, 37 and 43. This means that the Allamande (Nr. 31) lost its end, the following piece (Nr. 32, probably a Chaconne) had no beginning and Nr. 41 (Caplan) no end again.
Consequently Nr. 31s last two bars were added, Nr. 41 was finished with five bars. The Trezza Nr 54 (in 4/4-Time!!!) needed only one last chord, while the second part was missing completely and therefore could not be restored so only part one was recorded. The following fragment (Nr.55) could be a Menuet and needed a first part (4 bars with repetition) as well as two eight notes on the beginning of part two. The Allemande (Nr.56) received six quarter notes on the end. I also changed the bassline of this Allemande in bars 19 and 20 (after approximately.50 seconds on the CD) by transposing it one octave down, as it should be without the original intruments limitations (see critical review at the end). As a rule I deny myself things like this but having the advantages of a lute at hands I coudn´t resist the temptation and it makes sense, musically.
Page 43 has disappeared too, therefore Guigue Nr.66 had to be competed with two and a half bars. From the following piece in 4/4-time only the last six bars have been left. This seemed to be too little for a completion and I had to omit it. It seems that this would have been the introduction to suite Nr. 3 (The title of this is also missing). The missing piece should have been an "Entrée" or the like. The end of suite Nr.2 must be the Guigue Nr.66 respectively.
In Nr. 75 (Double) bars number 5, 6 and 7
of the second part are missing , obviously erroneously left
out while copying, as the first part shows. I pasted them
into their original position.
The Instrument used is a 8-course renaissance lute (replica of a historical Tieffenbrucker instrument) by Frank-Peter and Markus Dietrich in g (417 Hz).
My grateful thank goes to the Austrian National Library, especially to Beate Neunteufel-Zechner for the support and help without which this project would not have been possible.
on CD 1
1. Menuet 2. Sarabande 3. Salome 4. Aria 5. Menuet 6. Entrée 7. Menuet 8. Gavotte 9. Double 10. Menuet 11. Menuet 12. Aria con Variatione 13. Chaconne 14. Chaconne 15. Menuet 16. Aria 17. Menuet 18. Sarabande 19. Aria 20. Menuet 21. Menuet 22. Schmitt Courante 23. Allamande 24. Courante 25. Menuet 26. Gavotte 27. Menuet 28. Echo 29. Gavotte 30. Aria 31. Allamande 32. Chaconne (?) 33. Trezza 34. Bourée
on CD 2
35. Menuet 36. Menuet 37. Menuet 38. Menuet 39. Menuet 40. Menuet 41. Caplan 42. Menuet 43. Bourée 44. Gurte Nacht 45. Sarabande 46. Gavotte 47. Menuet 48. Aria 49. Menuet 50. Bourée 51. Aria 52. Guigue 53. Sarabande 54. Trezza 55. Menuet (?) i Partie: 56. Allemande 57. Menuet 58. Sarabande 59. Menuet 60. Aria 61. Menuet
on CD 3
2: Partie: 62. Entrée 63. Amener 64. Aria 65. Aria 66. Guigue 3eme Partie (?): 67. Menuet (?) 68. Gavotte 69. Paspiet 70. Sarabande 71. Menuet 72. Guigue 4tr Partie: 73. Intrada 74. Bourée 75. Double 76. Menuet 77. Passepiet 78. Gavotte 79. Menuet Angloise 80. i. Menuet 81. 2. Menuet 83. 3 Menuet 84. 4 Menuet 85. 5 Menuet 86. 6 Menuet 87. 7 Menuet 88. 8 Menuet 89. 9 Menuet 90. i0 Menuet 91. ii Menuet 92. i2 Menuet