Göttweig 9

Alternative readings of the text of the complete Gottweig edition

Suite 9

Jan 3, 2017

This suite is one of three in the Göttweig edition that is uses a 9 line staff, and employs viola fingerings. The others are 19 and 24, with some additional movements in this notation in the appendix.  The nine line notation is strongly associated with Biber because of his use of it in his trio for 2 violas d’amore, Partita 7 of his Harmonia artificiosa-ariosa, 1696. Both the 9 line staff, and the use of viola fingerings as the basis of the scordatura are very rare in the vda repertoire. Furthermore, the use, in this particular work, of the non-triadic tuning, cgcfgc,  which this composer takes advantage of to emphasize dissonant sub dominant and dominant chords on open strings, is also very unusual. This sophisticated technique suggests to me a composer very experienced and familiar with the instrument.

Personally, I would consider tuning the sympathetics in an F major arpeggio, or to an F major scale, not to the playing strings. When I performed this work myself, I transposed it to G to make it easier for the strings to work well.

I am not convinced this suite is a single work. That the last two movements are in the parallel minor suggests to me there might have been at least 2 suites in this tuning originally, the other movements were lost, and the remaining movements grouped by tuning rather than by piece of music. (update May 14, 2017: I have no proof, but now that I have seen the original manuscript, I also think it is possible  this work (s?) was inserted in an early version of this manuscript, at the same time as Suite 24 was added at the end. The paper is the same for 9 and 24, looking somewhat darker than the rest of the paper.  In addition, on this paper the staff lines for both parts are hand ruled, unlike most of the rest of the manuscript. The copyists seem to my inexperienced eye to be the same for the two Suites - but the bass and vda parts do not always look to be by the same copyist! - and in both cases music is lost, i.e. cut out from, that had been part of the manuscript, to make room for the insertion. At least, that is how it looks to me. Lost is final two movments of the viola d'amore part of Suite 23, and the first few movements of Suite 10. If this theory of mine is right, the basso part of Suite 1 was also lost at this time.)

The music that is preserved, however, is full of interest, although reconstruction is challenging.

Preludium (basso part)


Bar 1 vda. the second slur is an editorial addition.

Bar 5 basso  figures for the second note are 6 over b5

Bar 6 vda beat 4 the lower voice of the double stops depends by step. The final 8th note should sound f’.

Bar 8 vda down beat I read it as double stop c e. the c is a dotted quarter, the e is a quarter. The second half of the bar is a half rest in both parts.


bar 11 basso 6/4 over the first 8th, 5/3 over the last.

bar 13 basso 6 is missing above the 3rd beat.

bar 16 vda beat 3.5 could be read as f g double stop, rather than f a.

bar 19 basso the 5/4 figure is above the first note, not the rest.

bar 22 vda scordatura the double stop on the second half of the bar should be the third space from the top and the 5th line from the top. I suggest the same double stop for the second half of bar 26 as well.

bar 31 vda what is in the edition is fine. However, on beat 2 I read double stop 8th notes a/f g/f g/f g/e.

Bar 32 vda. I think the vda part should be an 8th note version of bar 33, which is to say, triple stop 8ths from the 2nd 8th of the bar 32.

Bar 34 vda part. the original is an 8th note, with all the rests needed to make up the bar. I am reminded of the last bar of the Preludium to Biber’s Partita 7, which has a similar abrupt ending.


I am unsure what to make of bars 35 - 41 in the edition. I think it might make sense to consider this a separate movment, perhaps a Trezza. There is no basso original basso part for these bars, thought there is space allotted for it in the basso part, with clefs prepared. I have attempted a reconstruction of the bass, as follows:


I have changed bar 35 of the edition, bar 1 of the example. It seems like parallel thirds are intended. The other possibility I see for the F harmony that I have in my score, is if the harmony is C as it is in the edition, (although I think the vda part should be a third higher than in the edition.) However, it makes more sense to me, if this is actually a separate movement, that it start on the tonic chord as I have in the reconstruction above.

In bar 36 vda part of the edition the manuscript has bariolage unisons.

Omitting basso bars 1, 2, 4 and 5 of my reconstruction would make this reconstructed Trezza more like the Trezza in Suite 19.

While this movement I am proposing is very short, it is only one bar shorter than the Canario in Suite 19.


Bar 3, vda beat 3 in the manuscript beat 3 is tied to beat 4.   vda scordatura the last upper note of the bar should be written a line lower.

Bar 3 basso I suggest the last note changed from F to A.

Bar 6 vda. I suggest that the lower voice of beat 1 is 4 16th notes.

Bar 9 in the middle, I suggest the player consider adding the piano that is in the Variatio.

Bar 11 basso. the 2nd and 3rd notes should be a tone lower.

Bar 11 vda in the manuscript the 3rd last note is a g’. The second half of beat 3 and the first half of beat 4 are slurred by 2.

Bar 14 basso once again change the last note to A


Bar 3 In the manuscript the original double stop sounds g’/f’. The solution proposed in the edition is good, but the scordatura upper note needs to be one line higher.

Bar 6 vda. the lower note of the double stop on beat 1 is a f’. In the scordatura part the last upper note of the bar needs to move down a line.

Bar 7 vda scordatura the 2nd lower note of the bar needs to move down a step.

Bar 14 vda the last beat should sound c major, not minor, also bar 18

Bar 25 vda scordatura the first note is a 3rd lower in the manuscript.

Bar 26 vda the last 3 notes are a third higher in the manuscript.

Aria Lamente (sic) Adagio

Although this movement is in d minor, a flat is given in the key signature. This change suggests to me the work comes from somewhere else than the other d minor repertoire in the manuscript.

Bar 5 Basso. 7/#3 missing on beat 1

Bar 8 and 12 basso, the 3 is on the 3rd beat.

Bar 10 basso 6 is the figure on beat 2.

Bar 9 and Bar 13, vda. the first beat is slurred, beat 2 and 3 are slurred as well.

Bar 13 basso, the notes are the same as bar 9, quarter note F, half note c.

Bar 15 vda beat 1 the lower note of the double stop is a half note f’. beat three the two eighths sound e’ g’.

Bar 20 vda the first note is a sounding g’#, taken with a high 1st finger on the third, or f’ string.

Bar 22 basso, a # is missing over the A.

Bar 23 basso #3 4 4 3 is missing in the edition.

Bar 24 Basso a petite reprise is written out in the bass part, but not indicated in the edition. If the player makes bar 24 a first time bar, with a dotted quarter D, followed by three eighths d c b and goes back to bar 21, that would be what is in the manuscript. There is no indication of PR in the vda part, but going back to bar 21 would be parallel to what happens in the A section.


Bar 1 basso the d has a 3 above it.

Bar 3 basso, the f# has a 6 above it.

Bar 5 vda the rhythm of the first half of the bar is 8th, dotted eighth 16th. It is the same in bar 8 In bar 5 there is a trill on the 2nd 8th note of the bar.

Bar 5 and 8 vda real note line. the middle note of the triple stop on the downbeat is a sounding d’.

Bar 3, 4, 6 and 7, vda, beat 1.  I think one way to interpret the slurs in the manuscript is that the unison notes are tied, the other 3 32nds and 8th are slurred together.

Bar 11 vda beat 2 the first note of beat 2 should sound a’.

Bar 12 vda real notation, the dotted 8th 16th are a step high. vda scordatura line, beat 2 should be step higher than is in the edition.

Bar 15 vda the player may want to adds 3rds to this bar parallel to bar 17.

Bar 21 vda scordatura the 2nd 16th note is a step lower, and so is taken with the 3rd finger.

Bar 21 basso, the Bb 16th note has a ‘g’ over it, leading me to wonder whether the copyist is indicating that all 4 16th notes in that bar are a 3rd high.

Bar 23. vda part. only the first two 16th notes are in the manuscript, the rest is lost. What is in the edition must be a reconstruction.