Cornetto and Helbling Viola d'amore edition

viola d'amore sheet music now newly available from Cornetto and 


The latest solos discovered in Lower Austria, are still in preparation. Look for them from the summer of 2013. They have an e flyer about these works which they will send you on request.


Cornetto Viola d′amore-edition


Michael and Dorothea Jappe have edited a series of works for viola d′amore, published by Cornetto.

Very little if any of this music have been available before, and chief among the newly available music are the Stockholm Sonatas of Attilio Ariosti, provided for the first time in print with a scordatura part. Yes, the Jappes and Cornetto have beaten me to it.

What a fine job they did, too. The Ariosti sonatas come three to a volume, with a score, including in each set a separate basso part, a sounding pitch part (which could be played on viola or violin, as well as viola d′amore) and a scordatura part. You can order the music directly from the publisher, who is in Stuttgart, in a number of ways. Please see the Cornetto website for more information.

The scordatura part includes a short explanation, in German, together with a chart translating the scordatura notation into real notes, comfort for the first time player. The choice of these tunings reflect Dorothea Jappe′s conviction that Ariosti′s original tunings (most of which have been lost to us) were viola range rather than violin range, that the tunings were of the arpeggio type, that Ariosti ranged to the 4th position, and that he employed parallel fingerings whenever he could. Update Aug. 2016! This is where the Gottweig edition is so very enlightening. Clearly players in Vienna in the first decade of the 18th century, when Ariosti was there (and Gottfried Finger - they were both god parents to the same child - thank you, Robert Rawson) when Ariosti was in Vienna, it is now clear he was playing and arranging music with a top string of d''. Cool.

There are many ingenious and useful fingering discoveries throughout Dorothea′s scordatura parts. I only wish I had had this edition when I was making my recordings of these works. And viola d′amore players who do not wish to remove their top d′′ string need only mentally shift their thinking over one string; this strategy I am suggesting works out especially well on 7 stringed violas d′amore.

Dorothea tunes her top string in the range from an ab′ to a b′. If she had taken it a semi-tone higher, I think she would have found even easier fingerings in some cases. For example, Sonata 9 in f minor, becomes fairly straightfoward in fingering if a top c′′ string is on the viola d′amore. However, her fingerings in higher positions for this sonata are especially imaginative. Nevertheless I am surprised that she did not take a top c′′ string into consideration, as the Ariosti Cantata Pur al fin clearly requires a top c′′ string. If one does admit a top c′′ string, easier and musically stronger fingerings for the F major, f minor, and C major become possible.

Recently I have been wondering, is it possible that Ariosti had only one set of strings for his instrument? If I assume that he had but one set of strings, then would his tunings over his lifetime use of the viola d'amore look like this: Ariosti complete Tunings.

On this tuning area I would be especially interested to hear of your experiences.

Here is a link to a youtube video where a player plays the Ariosti f minor sonata with the tuning I suggest:

EARLYMUSIC 2009: Ariosti - Maria Krestinskaya & Alexander Listratov

Here is another Ariosti Sonata from Maria

In addition to the decision to remove his highest string, the enthusiastic player of the viola d′amore using this material will also have to adjust from the usual modern stringing set up for the lower strings. Several of Ariosti′s sonatas call for a close position tuning where usually today players have an open 5th, between the 6th and 5th strings. However, for the sonatas in g and in Eb for example, this fifth has to be filled in with a third. This close position tuning makes for fingerings in the g minor sonatas 2 and 14, that are not only possible but easy; without that third down there, certain passages in these sonatas are nearly impossible.

To sum it up, one of the big hurdles that keeps the viola d′amore from wider use and appreciation is lack of music. This edition is a big jump forward over these hurdles. For those who have asked, yes, Here are a few examples of my own edition of the Ariosti works for viola d′amore, as I came in some cases to different conclusions than the Jappes, affecting everything from fingerings to rests and to wrong notes.