Suite 19

Alternative readings of the text of the complete Gottweig edition, December 4, 2016

Suite 19


Many thanks to Elena Kraineva for helping proof these critical note pages.

I see this 10 line two stave notation as a version of the 9 line scordatura notation used by Biber in Partita VII for 2 violas d’amore and basso, 1696. I think the explanation for the extra line, which is at the bottom, might be as simple as the copyist didn’t have a nine line rastrum, so he used his all purpose keyboard music  with two staves of 5 lines each instead. May 15, 2017: Having now examined the original, I now think that this work was copied from a different source than Suites 9 and 24, and 10 lines were used because the paper came pre- ruled. Yes, the copyists has 5 line rastrums available to them, here and there they added a 9th stave to this 8 stave, 4 systems, pre ruled paper.

If you accept my Göttweig manuscript 10 lines = Biber 9 line assumption, then this suite is in the same notation as Suite 9 and Suite 24, as well as some of the movements of the appendix and the Partita 7 for two violas d’amore. What sets this this kind of notation off from the entire rest of the accordatura tradition, is its use of viola fingerings, viola grip, as I will call it. And it is a very uniform way the job of getting the music is encoded. Only viola experience is required, not violin, not violin and real notation bass, nor violin and viola da gamba.

This viola grip approach is very rare, which is worth emphasizing. Only these half dozen works in nearly 150 years and possibly something like 1500 works for viola d’amore in scordatura, are in viola grip. This is in line with the low status of the viola during this period.

The rarity of this 9 line viola grip based notation, in my opinion, strongly connects these three works to Biber.

And the extra 10th line might be the cause of a lot of confusion for the copyist,  and of anxiety for the potential player. Be brave! This is a great piece!

But you can understand why there are so many choices to be made about the notes in the middle range of the music.

Exceptional too, for this period, are copious figures in the bass, some are not present in the edition. I have tried to add these below.

Furthermore, as music in this manuscript goes, this particular work is carefully worked out in detail, including some interesting treatement of last notes that are not just formulaic.

Also worth alerting the player to, is that in Göttweig Hs 4806 the bass part is on the left hand page, the vda part on the right.

Intrada Bar 1, beat 4.5. in the manuscript, the upper note is a bb’, the lower is an e’. Although it is not in the manuscript, I would myself play a bb’g double stop.

Bar 4 beat 3 a d’ is missing in the double stop in the real notation part.

bar 6 beat 1 in the scordatura part the lower note of the double stop should be a 3rd higher.  basso beat 3, although there is no figure, beat 3 should have a 6, indicating a first inversion chord.

bar 7 beat 1 consider playing first two sixteenth notes g’ e’. I can’t prove it, but I think the extra 10th line plus the space between the 2 sets of 5 lines in the original was very confusing for the copyist. g’ f’ would be another possible reading of the original. Either of these two possible readings makes a smoother phrase.

bar 13 beat 2, double stop wrongly notated in the manuscript scordatura part.  lower two notes need to go down a 3rd. the chord is correctly realized in the real notation part. In the bass beat 3 rhythm is a dotted 8th 16th

bar 14 add e’  to the chord on the first eighth, and d’ to the chord on the 2nd 8th.

bar 16 beat 3 I read the four 16th notes as f a g a.

bar 20 beat 3 I suggest adding piano

bar 28  I suggest that 6th 16th note would read better as d’’


The edition does some regularisation of dotting in the vda part. We suggest:

I think, for myself I will leave undotted, i.e., equal eighthgs, as in the manuscript: bar 4 beat 1, bar 6 beat 1, and bar 18 beat 1

But consider adding dots to the following cadences: dot the eighths in bar 8 beat 2 and bar 16 beat 2.

Bar 16 basso beat four add figures: 5 for dotted 8th, #6 for 16th.

bar 17 basso beat 1 has a flat as its figure, meaning a g minor chord.

Aria bar 3 In this edition beaming has not always been kept in either the scordatura part or the real notation part. In this bar the beaming is correct in the scordatura part.

bar 10 I suggest adding a piano for the petit reprise.

bar 20 vda parts: in the manuscript the last eighth is one tone higher, a d'' not a c''

bar 25 basso beat 1 is in original ii6/5 beat  3 is 5/#


bar 26 basso add piano from vda part, and also # to beat 2, parallel to bar 56.

bar 28 basso beat 3 is 6/5 in manuscript.

bar 31 in manuscript vda parts the last note is a c’’, not an a’

bar 40 I suggest adding a piano beat 2

bar 47  in manuscript scordatura first note is an open d’’

bar 51 in manuscript vda parts 4th note is a g’

bar 55 manuscript basso first note is a 6/5

bar 56 basso add piano parallel to bar 26.

bar 59 vda parts should be the same as bar 55, as in manuscript.

bar 60 vda parts has a quarter note d and two quarter rests in manuscript.

Guig (z) z is how the “ue" looks to me

Slurs in the manuscript are poured on like salt. take them with another grain of salt.

bar 3 vda part lower voice manuscript has quarter rest , quarter e’ missing beat 4.

bar 4  beat 3 in both scordatura and real notation parts, the 2nd note from the bottom of the chord is an f, not an a.

beat 3 basso, in manuscript I read the figure as a 7.

bar 6 vda parts beat 2 lower note of double stop missing, e’

bar 6 beat 2, basso: the figure 5 over the 3 is missing

bar 7 beat 4 last note, vda: I don’t see a need to use the 2nd finger.

bar 10 beat 4: the second eighth in the scordatura must go up one tone.

bar 12 scordatura part last note lower part needs to be up a 3rd.

bar 14 beat 3: In the manuscript either a beam is missing or a dot is too much. I can imagine either two possibilities here: two plain eighths (if the dot is   inadvertent) followed by two 16ths,  or a dotted eighth followed by 3 sixteenths (in this case a beam is missing). Your choice, both are good.

bar 16 beat 3: the figure 6 over the d needs a # (or a natural in modern notation, if the player is paying attention to the modernized key signature. 

bar 17 vda parts beat 2 is identical to beat 1 bar 14.

bar 17 beat 2: mistake in the vda manuscript: the third eighth needs a b accidental to cancel the # on beat 1 (modern version: natural)

bar 17 beat 3: the bass should have a b figure, not a 6

bar 18 beat 1, both scordatura and real notation part: the lower note must go to bottom line of top staff. The chord should sound g'/g'

bar 19 beat 1: the figure 6 over the e needs a #

bar 19 beat 2: the figure #6 is wrong; should be 6 5

bar 19 beat 4: a figure 4 is missing before the #


bar 2 beat 3, basso: in the manusctipt the 43 figures belong  not one to the higher f and one to the lower f, but both to the lower f

bar 3 beat 2, basso: b is written, 6 is wrong.

bar 5 beat 4 vda parts, I suggest g’ instead of e’

bar 7 vda parts beat 1 d’ in manuscript is missing from the triple stop.

bar 8 beat 3, basso: the same as above in bar 2


Bar 4 beat 2 vda parts d’ missing from triple stop.

bar 8 beat 1 vda parts. double stop upper voice dotted quarter g’ lower voice f quarter resolving to e eighth.

Another person's reading of this tricky spot: "I read a quarter and two sixteenths. So, g' quarter, f'e' sixteenths. The sixteenths’ beams are so narrow that they seem to be one single beam. But look at the thickness of this beam and at it’s ending: Isn’t it clearly split? (not to me, but hey!) By the way the same merging-into-one-beam of two beams would almost have happened in the lower voice in bar 11. For me it’s the same optical phenomenon."

bar 15 beat 2, scordatura and natural notation: a dot is missing in the lower voice

bar 22 fourth and fifth note in the scordatura: must go up a third

bar 24 last note in the scordatura: is originally written a third lower

bar 25  second eighth in the scordatura: must go up a third, to sound c'', however, I suggest 2nd eighth be another f’. it reads more logically.

bar 27 I suggest realizing the rhythm in vda parts as 8th followed by 2 16ths and an 8th. edition fast notes 2x faster than in manuscript.

Alternant alternate reading:

Maybe you’d like to consider writing „rhythm can also be read“ instead of „rhythm is“? Because as far as I can see, the first note definitely is a quarter. (yes, it is.) So Marianne Rônez’ correction is different to yours (she keeps a „Trochäus“ pattern, you choose a „Daktylus“) but couldn’t both versions be ok in this kind of movement?

That depends on your tempo. I don't find 32nd notes credible at a tempo I'd like for the rest of the piece.


bar 6 beat 2 scordatura part should be second space from the top

bar 7 beat 1, basso: figure #3 missing

bar 8 vda parts 4th 16th note is d’ in the manuscript


bar 6 real notation part, beat 3, double stop is g’a’

bars 13-24 there are two bass lines in this chaconne. in these 3 variations they got switch. bar 13 should be the ascending bass. bar 17 the descending. and 21 the ascending.

bar 23 vda parts first 3 notes should be 3rd higher.

bar 29 scordatura part: last note is one step too high. This is the same pitch, but the fingering is different, and more musical.

bar 41 scordatura part and natural sound part: The 2 sharps are  not written in the manuscript.

bar 47 beat 2 manuscript: accidentals for the 6th and 7th note are not in the manucript.

bar 48 vda parts. first and second beats are slurred! I take this as an invitation to keep the already high tension into the final variation.

bar 49 “Harpeggio ex altera parte videbitur”  This tells the player to look for the rest of his music in the basso part, which is on the facing page in the manuscript. In the edition this latin direction is redundant.

bar 64. over the final note there should be 3 quarter rests.