Fontegara: A Working Kit

Fontegara: A Working Kit
Fontegara: A Working Kit

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

Two things have further encouraged me to share this Fontegara working kit: first, the increasing attention that the source is finally receiving,1 in the hope that it will contribute to the production of new materials based on it. Second, a somewhat random, technical fact: just a few days ago2 I came across what seems to be the right online platform to facilitate the online distribution of my digital files. So I’m going to try to host my Fontegara Working Kit files there.

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

I am happy to share my Fontegara working kit with anyone interested in Renaissance ornamentation, 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. As it is the imperfect result of an informal, low-fi home recording session, I feel that it should be circulated only to those who are genuinely interested in working with it.​​

The kit contains the following materials:

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

Here’s the homepage 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 1990s, when I was a recorder student at the conservatoire in Seville.3 Later, I continued to work on it during my studies in The Hague and Amsterdam (1995–2001). In 1999, I chose Fontegara as the subject of a paper I had to write as part of the requirements for my bachelor’s degree in Amsterdam. It was also the year in which I transcribed its musical content into Finale software, as an exercise in assimilating its musical style. The slow process of copying it and listening to the music examples was certainly enlightening.

Here are 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 an issue, as I was primarily transcribing the music examples for listening purposes. However, I may take care of it in the future if I find the time, though, so stay tuned for future improvements. That said, if anyone would like to volunteer to do it in the meantime, please let me know, and I’ll add the formatted files to this page.4

Download MUSX Finale files

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

Fontegara – A Working Kit 2: XML files

The XML files exported from the original .musx (Finale) files will be useful to 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 the original Finale files were created, this PDF version lacks a proper page layout in its current form.

Download PDF files

The main reason for including it here is to improve readability: it will make Fontegara content more accessible to many people. After all, it is easy to get from the Finale files. So do not expect any fancy-looking scores here, just the simple 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 who want maximum rhythmic accuracy and no interpretation) and my home recordings (for a more human, breathy experience) will be of great value to 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 while I was reading the examples, and later added some reverb. I can’t remember what kind of audio editing software I had access to at the time (Audacity, I think?), as I probably didn’t have a computer yet. However, I’ve noticed a few occasional edits, probably to improve a few passages.

I used a handful of the late Bob Marvin’s Ganassi-style and cylindrical recorders (in g’ and f’), some of which I had received just a few months earlier. A word of warning: in 2003 I was a recent graduated, 26 years old and still on my way to becoming a seasoned recorder player. You may sometimes hear a tired tongue in the recordings! Unfortunately, I did not make a complete recording. To be honest, I can’t remember if I ran out of time, energy or even hard drive space. Who knows, I might consider doing it at some point if there seems to be an interest, or perhaps this initiative will inspire 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 who want to experience Fontegara beyond paper or PDF images. I hope you enjoy the process.

  1. See, for example, these projects and CD recordings featuring Ganassi’s diminutions; Dina Titan’s 2019 PhD thesis; Marco Di Pasquale’s 2020 article with 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 from Open Culture on 3 January, linking to a fascinating collection of maps of the roads of ancient Rome. 

  3. See, for example, 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 on Finale versions: I think I first used Finale 95 or 98 when I did the transcription in 1999. Later, as new versions of Finale with different compatibility levels appeared, I periodically saved the files in newer versions of Finale to make sure I didn’t lose access to them. Therefore, I’m offering them here in a newer version to ensure that most people can easily access them today.