Talk:13 Divisions (Variations) (Simpson, Christopher)

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re tagging: this is I am guessing -not for viola da gamba but for bass gamba - another member of the gamba family - but we only have a tag for one member of the gamba family at present.

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Rest assured, the original music from which this arrangement was made is for both viola da gamba and bass gamba. When Simpson wrote the music, the most common viola da gamba was called bass viol. "Viola da Gamba" is the Italian name, the English called it "Viol" (apparently pronounced "vye-ole" because one English encyclopedia (don't have it to hand right now) says the Germans pronounce it "phee-ole", as if this pronunciation is entirely 'interesting'.

Anyway, the viol came in three sizes, treble, tenor and bass. In the printed literature of the time, if the treble or tenor is intended, it is stated explicitly, while the bass was understood if no other modifiers were used. (Another clue, if you're looking at original sources, rather than arrangements, is that the bass viol was almost always notated in bass and alto clefs, the tenor in alto clef and the treble in mezzo or treble clef, while 'cellos were (and are) notated in bass and tenor clefs, violins in treble clef in England, and often the "French Violin Clef" (the G clef on the bottom line) by the French and Germans (Notably Telemann.)

Modern terminology for the 'string bass' (the four-stringed, tuned in fourths bass of the Orchestra) include 'bass viol', but that's for the shape (flat backed with an angled part at the top) rather than any relation to the bass of the viol family. In Playford's time, the violin-family bass was three-stringed (a form which might well have still been in regular use in Beethoven's time) and it's modern purpose was fulfilled by the violone, a gigantic viol tuned an octave lower than the bass viol. (It is hard, but not impossible to play divisions on a violone: Bruce Bellingham could do it. I never could 8^)

Anyway, Yes, the original was for bass viola da gamba, not any other member of the family, and this arrangement is definitely for 'cello, with chords adjusted for tuning in fifths instead of the viol's fourths-with-a-third-in-the-middle. Tiorbinist 03:12, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

I think I wrote the comment in question (I tend to sign them nowadays '(Schissel)' , compromise between regular talk-page signing and none-at-all but anyways...) and - thanks!! I have a recording of something for viol by Simpson on Harmonia Mundi on a thematic collection of vocal and instrumental works , should check to see if it might even just possibly be the same work... Eric 03:53, 23 January 2011 (UTC) (hrm, no, the piece I have a recording of is Divisions on a Ground (in G major, or major-ish) from The Division Viol, pub. around 1665. Definitely the opening is nothing like the Piatti arrangement - nothing E minor about it. I gather it's one of C Simpson's better-known works...) (played in the recording by 2 bass viols and theorbo.)