Fontegara: A Working Kit

Fontegara: A Working Kit
Fontegara: A Working Kit

Over the years, I have produced and developed a series of learning tools for studying Silvestro Ganassi’s Fontegara (Venice, 1535) for my own, personal use. But if I’ve learned one thing during my fifteen-year teaching stint in Seville, it is the enormous value of sharing knowledge and information among students and peers. In the case of Fontegara, a source that is as popular and original as it is relatively neglected today, I think this is especially important.

Two things have further encouraged me to share this Fontegara working kit: first, the increasing attention that the source is finally getting,1 hoping that it may contribute to the production of new materials based on it. Second, a somewhat random, tech-related fact: just a few days ago2 I came across what seems like the right online platform to facilitate my digital files’ online distribution. So I’m giving it a try to host my Fontegara working kit files.

Download Fontegara in MUSX (Finale), XML, MIDI, PDF, and MP3 formats

I am glad to share my Fontegara working kit with anyone interested in Renaissance embellishments, Ganassi’s Fontegara, or the recorder. To ensure maximum accessibility of the material, I’m doing it for free, except for a home recording I made in 2003. Since it is the imperfect result of an informal, low-fi home recording session, I feel it should only circulate among those genuinely interested in working with it.​​

The kit includes the following materials:

  1. MUSX (Finale) files
  2. XML files
  3. PDF files
  4. MIDI files
  5. MP3 files

Here’s the home page with direct access to the whole kit:

Fontegara – A Working Kit

I can’t wait to see what you do with these materials, and would love to hear about it!

Some context

My interest in Ganassi’s Fontegara dates back to the​​​ early ’90s when I was a recorder student in Seville conservatory.3 Later, I kept working on it during my studies in The Hague and Amsterdam (1995–2001). In 1999, I chose Fontegara as the topic of a paper I had to deliver as part of my Bachelor degree’s requirements in Amsterdam. It was also the year I transcribed its musical contents to Finale software, as an exercise to assimilate its musical style. The slow process of copying it and listening to the music examples was certainly enlightening.

Here follow some details about the files I’m sharing today:

Fontegara – A Working Kit 1: MUSX (Finale) files

In its first iteration, page layout was not a concern, as I primarily transcribed the music examples for listening purposes. I may take care of it in the future if I find the time, though, so stay tuned for future improvements. That said, if someone volunteers to do it in the meantime, please let me know, and I’ll add the formatted files here.4

Download MUSX Finale files

​Read about the GFN numbers displayed in the file names here​.

Fontegara – A Working Kit 2: XML files

Exported from the original .musx (Finale) files, XML files will serve those working with other notation software such as Musescore, Sibelius, Dorico, and other machine-readable formats from the Music Encoding Initiative (MEI).

Download XML files

​Read about the GFN numbers displayed in the file names here​.

Fontegara – A Working Kit 3: PDF files

Fontegara musical examples, written in modern notation. Just as page layout was not a primary concern when producing the initial Finale files, this PDF version lacks a proper page layout in its current version.

Download PDF files

The main reason to include it here is to enhance readability: it will increase accessibility to Fontegara contents for many people. After all, it is easy to obtain from the Finale files. Therefore, do not expect fancy-looking music scores here, just the plain notes with some ficta alterations.

Fontegara – A Working Kit 4: MIDI files

​Exported from the original .musx (Finale) files.

Download MIDI files

I believe that listening to a combination of these machine-produced MIDI files (for those looking for maximum rhythmical accuracy and no interpretation) and my home recordings (for a more human, breathy experience) will be of great value for those interested in studying Fontegara.​​

Fontegara – A Working Kit 5: MP3 files

In the summer of 2003, I borrowed a DAT recorder (my thanks to my former teacher Guillermo Peñalver!) and made a home recording of the first two Regole or chapters. I recorded the examples in one take, as I was reading the examples, and later added some reverb. I can’t remember which kind of audio editing software I had access to at that time (Audacity, I guess?), considering I probably didn’t own a computer yet. Still, I’ve detected a few occasional edits, surely to fix some passages.​

I used a handful of Ganassi-style and cylindrical recorders (in g’ and f’) by the late Bob Marvin, some of which I had received just a few months earlier. A warning: in 2003, I was a recently graduated, 24-year-old boy, still on my way to becoming a seasoned recorder player. You will often hear a tired tongue in the recordings! Unfortunately, I did not make a complete recording. Honestly, I can’t remember whether I run out of time, energy, or even hard drive space. Who knows, I may consider doing it at some point if there seems to be an interest, or perhaps this initiative inspires someone else to do it as well.

Download MP3 files

So, please, don’t take it as a final, professionally produced material, but rather as a working kit or a learning tool for those interested in experiencing Fontegara beyond paper or PDF images. Hope you enjoy the process.

  1. See, for instance, these projects and CD recordings featuring Ganassi’s diminutions; Dina Titan’s 2019 PhD thesis; Marco Di Pasquale’s 2020 article containing a documented biography of Ganassi; the recent new edition of Fontegara by William Dongois and Philippe Canguilhem; and even today’s online event at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. 

  2. Via this tweet by Open Culture on January 3 that linked to a fascinating collection of maps of the roads of ancient Rome. 

  3. As an example, see my Spanish translation of Luca de Paolis’s prologue to his 1991 edition of Fontegara: “Introducción a la ‘Opera intitulata Fontegara’, Venecia, 1535, de Silvestro Ganassi dal Fontego (1492–?)”. Revista de flauta de pico, no. 8 (May 1997): 19–24; no. 9 (October 1997): 16–21; no. 10 (January 1998): 22–32. ISSN 1136-4475

  4. A note about Finale versions: I believe I initially used Finale 95 or 98 when I made the transcription back in 1999. Later on, as new Finale versions appeared with different compatibility levels, I periodically saved the files in newer Finale versions to make sure I didn’t lose access to them. Therefore, I’m offering them here in a recent version to ensure most people can easily access them today.