‹‹ JSCM Issues

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music

Volume 12 (2006) No. 1

The Cello Music of Antonio Bononcini: Violone, Violoncello da Spalla, and the Cello “Schools” of Bologna and Rome

Brent Wissick*


Antonio Maria Bononcini (1677–1726) and his better known brother, Giovanni (1670–1747) were famous during their life times as both composers and cellists. Surprisingly, only one Bononcini cello sonata, published in a 1748 English collection, was generally known and performed in the modern early music revival. That piece was attributed only to a “Signor Bononcini” but was usually assumed to be by Giovanni, who had spent time in London during the 1720s and 1730s. More attention was rightfully focused then and in modern scholarship on his numerous cantatas and successful operas, in which, however, he frequently participated as a cellist. Antonio was also famous for operas and cantatas, but held his small place in the early music revival mainly with a choral work. Some of this began to change in 1996 when A-R Editions published a volume of fifteen cello sonatas by Antonio, edited by Lowell Lindgren. I had some small role in motivating that edition, having contacted Lindgren in 1992 for information and advice about some Bononcini cantatas, and having a special interest in both Italian Baroque repertory and in music conceived by cellists on their instruments. He told me about twelve sonatas by Antonio that he had seen in a Paris manuscript over twenty years before. I ordered a copy from the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève and began performing some of the pieces in 1993. Lindgren began work on his edition in 1994 and we communicated frequently, often observing that these twelve sonatas were unlike any other known cello music of the time. I continued to study the pieces and eventually added to my repertoire the three others that he had edited. I performed several of them in a lecture-recital at the 1997 meeting of the Society for Seventeenth-Century Music held at Florida State University. Still, I could not explain why those twelve pieces from the Paris manuscript were so different from the other three and from most other well-known cello pieces from late seventeenth-century Bologna. A new way of considering the problem came from reading a 1998 article about the violoncello da spalla by Gregory Barnett, followed by considerable experimentation. The process suggests that a symbiotic relationship of performers and scholars is still possible in our post-modern era. I could not have done this work without the knowledge and insights shared by musicologists, but without instrument in hand they could not test certain physical concepts. I will take this notion further, proposing that several physical conditions and processes contributed to some of the variations in style we observe in late seventeenth-century Italian cello compositions.


2. Violone, Basso, and Bass Violin

3. The Bolognese Tuning

4. The Violoncello da Spalla

5. Bowing: Underhand and Overhand

6. Left Hand Issues

7. Similarities with Colombi’s Violin Music

8. Bononcini’s Later Sonatas

9. Conclusion



Notation Examples

Audio Examples

Video Examples


1. Introduction

1.1 Antonio Bononcini was only 15 when he penned a flamboyant Laudate pueri for soprano, solo cello, and continuo (Example 1, Audio 1).1 He was already a working cellist at San Petronio in Bologna, a city famous for its cellists. Giovanni Battista Vitali (1632–92), Petronio Franceschini (1650–80), Domenico Gabrielli (1651–90), and Giuseppe Jacchini (1663–1727) were some of the best known players of the instrument who also composed, but their surviving pieces are nothing like this Laudate pueri. Where did this young virtuoso get his style? Gabrielli’s “Ricercar Primo” is admittedly one of his plainer pieces but sets a vivid contrast with Antonio’s obbligato (Example 2, Video 1). Bononcini’s cello writing is active in a bright, tenor range when compared to the warm, slow moving bass of Gabrielli’s Ricercar. I believe that young Antonio played the violoncello da spalla, a small cello strapped around the shoulders. Unfortunately, no pieces or ensemble parts survive labeled da spalla, even though it is described in numerous sources and pictured as a way of playing violoncello. Antonio’s older and even more famous brother Giovanni Bononcini was also a Bologna-trained cellist. Presumably it was he who is listed on a 1690 pay list in Venice alongside Antonio Caldara as a player of viola da spalla.2In his 1686 letter of application to San Petronio, Giovanni described himself as playing any string instrument, and during his 1687–8 appointment he was on the violin payroll.3

1.2 Gregory Barnett has observed that a crude sketch from ca.1669 showing a player labeled Bononcini with a large instrument up on his shoulder must certainly be Giovanni Maria Bononcini (1642–78), the father of Antonio and Giovanni.4 Was da spalla technique part of the Bononcini family tradition? Giovanni Maria, who was usually listed as a violinist, died when the boys were very young, so it cannot be claimed that he taught them directly. We know they studied counterpoint with Giovanni Colonna at San Petronio, but who taught them cello? Did they also play cello down on their legs as youths, as I believe they did later in their careers? With whom did they study violin? There is no explicit evidence that young Antonio played in the way that his father seems to be pictured in Figure 1.

1.3 Given the lack of explicit documentation that Antonio also played da spalla, it seems necessary to return to the music itself for evidence. But one Laudate pueri, even with five sections, is not really enough to demonstrate that a performer devoted himself to a particular technique or style of playing. Lowell Lindgren has convincingly dated the twelve sonatas by Antonio (that survive only in a mid eighteenth-century French manuscript) as coming from the early 1690s as well.5 They certainly look like the Laudate pueri (Example 3, Audio 2).

1.4 Briefly, my argument that Antonio worked these pieces out on a violoncello da spalla will evolve around the observation that Antonio’s youthful solo cello parts are constructed largely around certain kinds of musical figures placed on the top two strings (d and a) in high positions, in contrast to most of the cello music by his older Bolognese contemporaries and presumed mentors, Gabrielli and Jacchini, which lie more generally on middle strings and frequently require a C–G–d–g tuning. Those pieces are almost always in the bass clef, while Antonio’s are rather consistently written in tenor clef, which generally indicated tenor violin, tuned G–d–a–e′, Antonio’s pieces clearly need an a string rather than a g string, but because they sometimes go below G, they are most likely not for tenor violin. They do however fit the tuning given for the violoncello da spalla by Bartolomeo Bismantova (C– or D–G–d–a).6 In fact, when Antonio’s early pieces use the pitches below G, D is usually the lowest (Example 4a, Example 4b).

1.5 Antonio’s early cello pieces behave more like Emilian violin sonatas than they do Emilian music for bass instruments. On the other hand, the cello music of Gabrielli and Jacchini (and their Bolognese tuning: C–G–d–g) emerges with a certain acoustic and physical logic from the earlier Modenese violone/basso pieces of Colombi and Vitali. It is important to examine some of the features in this “Bolognese Cello School” repertory to see that young Antonio was using an alternate version of the instrument and very different technique. A thorough study of the emergence of this school is beyond the scope of the present study. I offer here some particular aspects of how some of these performer/composers might have tuned and played their instruments in contrast to a player of the violoncello da spalla. In the process, I will frequently be looking at ways in which these musicians might have used their bodies and their instruments to create various styles of music.

2. Violone, Basso, and Bass Violin

2.1 The remarkable work of Steven Bonta has established that in seventeenth-century Italy the term violone most often referred to a bass violin rather than a large viola da gamba as it usually did in Germany.7 This affirms the obvious relationship of the name “violoncello,” a diminutive, to its antecedent. The cello or violoncino was clearly thought of as a small violone. But how did Italian players tune their violoni to begin with? Mersenne had shown a tuning of B1-flatF–c–g for the basse de violon, and French dances sometimes used the low B-flat, but earlier Praetorius had given both the C and B-flat tunings. Italian writings are silent on the issue, so scholars and players turn to the music for evidence. The fact that much music by Monteverdi goes no lower than C has been used to argue that the C tuning predominated fairly early in Italy. John Dilworth asserts that “having the instrument in a flat key made ensemble playing awkward.”8 However, there are several solo pieces for violone that actually require pitches below C and/or employ multiple stops requiring the B-flat tuning, suggesting that violone players may have frequently used this tuning for both solo and ensemble bass violin parts in Italy (see G.M. Bononcini, opp.3 and 4, ca.1670). I have played through hundreds of bass parts using both tuning systems, and once one learns the B-flat fingerings, it is not particularly awkward.

2.2 Giuseppe Colombi was best known as a violinist in Modena, but like most string players of his time and region, he not only understood other bowed instruments, but probably took his turn at the bass as well. The composer Tomaso Motta for instance described himself as a “musico di violino e di violone” on the cover of a 1681 publication.9 Colombi’s “Tocatta a violone solo” requires a B1 on several occasions. It rarely lingers on the bottom string however, with the bow arm frequently returning to the physical comfort and better response of the middle strings (Example 5, Video 2; in the video I play with an underhand bow-hold, discussed in Section 5

2.3 Colombi’s “Chiacona per basso solo” is even a tighter piece musically, arguably more composed than improvised. He also wrote several chaconnes for violin which at first glance contain many of the same conventional figures. More careful study, however, suggests that he applied these figures discreetly to where they would sound and feel best on either a large basso tuned in B-flat or a small violin. I am convinced that he worked out his pieces with instrument in hand in a very physical way. The ground in the “Chiacona per basso solo”(admittedly, “violone” is not in the title) is, for instance, laid down mid-instrument where the bow arm is comfortable alongside the body when the instrument rests on the legs or floor. (This is in clear contrast to his violin chaconnes, which begin on the top two strings of the violin, where the bow arm is close to the body while holding the instrument on the left arm and therefore also most comfortable.) If the basso/violone is tuned in B-flat, the tonic F and dominant C are either sounded or reinforced by open strings, resulting in a great deal of sympathetic resonance (Example 6, Video 3). Measures 17–20 center around the mid-instrument open c string and require an open g as the top string to play the double stops (Example 7, Video 4). In measure 65, the manuscript shows a double stop of two Fs. Clearly this needs to be filled in with a third: a on the C string, since the two Fs are not on adjacent strings. The resulting triple stop is a familiar one to many cellists. It is very comfortable on later cellos but probably represented the limits of high position playing on large bass violins with long, thick necks (Example 8, Video 5). The final statement of the ground is on the lowest strings ending on an open F (Example 9; Audio 3 for the entire piece).

2.4 In 1671, G.M. Bononcini states in the violone o spinetta partbook of his Arie, correnti, sarabande, gighe e allemande a violino (op. 4, Bologna, 1671), that “one should bear in mind that the violone will produce a better effect than the spinet, since the basses [i.e., the parts] are more appropriate to the former than the latter instrument.”10 I would like to consider what other elements were considered “appropriate to the violone” in addition to the obvious sustained bow sound not available on the spinet. It is then easier to consider what might have been appropriate to the cello or da spalla. Giovanni Vitali, for instance, always titled himself as “suonatore di violone” on the title pages of his publications, although later in his career others described him as a player of violoncello. His manuscript partitas for violone probably served as study material for apprentice players or practical solos for other professionals and are presumably good examples of what is appropriate to the instrument. They reveal their origins as written-out improvisations: showy at times, but evolving out of things that are comfortable and immediate from an instrument in the hands of a skilled player. Again, they linger on middle strings of the instrument, rarely go above c′, and hardly demand more rapid passages than had been asked in violone parts by Cazzati in the 1660s or even Legrenzi or Cima before that. They never go below C, so do not require B-flat tuning in that sense, but the Bergamasca in C (the second piece in a set of nine) has several double stops that require the B-flat tuning much in the way of the Colombi chaconne. Just as there were many effective tonic/dominant open strings in that piece in F, this Bergamasca makes its opening impression by sounding the expected I–IV–V using mainly open strings (Video 6). The open c is arguably just as useful as a sonority in the middle of the instrument as it would be an octave lower as the lowest note of the instrument, perhaps more so in the days before covered bottom strings.11 I propose that a full-voiced mid-range, gut-string timbre with many sympathetic vibrations from the open strings in B-flat tuning was part of what was appropriate to the violone, both in solos and ensemble music. It seems to have been achieved with relative physical comfort for the left hand by remaining in low positions with long resonant string lengths, and by letting the bow arm linger on middle strings. The instrument in this tuning is not necessarily awkward in ensembles or solos, but obviously has only the g string representing a sharp-key tonic, and it therefore tends to sound dark in keys like D, A, and E where violins sound bright. In the key of C, however, it feels comfortable and sounds full (Example 10, Video 7).

2.5 Domenico Galli composed a Trattenimento musicale sopra il violoncello a’ solo (Modena, 1691) consisting of twelve solo suites. One of these suites includes several low Bs while another has several low B-flats. Could they be violone pieces incorporated into a collection under the newer and more fashionable name violoncello? (Example 11, Video 8)

3. The Bolognese Tuning

3.1 Several cello pieces by Domenico Gabrielli from 1689 clearly require a tuning of C–G–d–g for certain multiple stops. Luigi Silva had noticed this in the 1950s. His photocopy of the Modena manuscript is annotated with fingerings that show an open g.12 Anner Bylsma recorded several of the pieces with this tuning, and more recently cellist/scholars Marc Vanscheeuwijck and Bettina Hoffmann have referred to it in their respective Gabrielli editions.13 Mark Chambers calls this the Italian tuning, but I prefer to call it the Bolognese tuning, because it seems to be most associated with that city.14 I am not convinced that it was much used in Venice or Rome. Admittedly, the tuning is never notated explicitly in any Bolognese source (as it is for instance in Bach’s Fifth Cello Suite), but it is certainly needed to play a passage from Domenico Gabrielli’s Sixth Ricercar, and many others (Example 12, Video 9).

3.2 The Bolognese tuning is arguably a raised alteration of the old B-flat tuning rather than a scordatura of C tuning with a lowered top string (Example 13). The invention of covered strings encouraged a general move toward higher tunings on smaller instruments that still had a full bass quality. It makes sense that initially the familiar violone gut g string on top was retained while the bottom three strings were raised a tone, resulting in a tuning of two fifths and one fourth. The two G strings in this Bolognese tuning share a great deal of sympathetic resonance when one or the other is sounded.

3.3 Gabrielli’s seven ricercarsbehave in many ways like the Vitali and Colombi pieces for violone, which are in similar improvisatory genres. They tend to linger on middle strings, which is comfortable and familiar from continuo playing, before trying outer strings. Excursions to high positions on the top string are brief. Players proud of their new covered bottom strings, however, could now show them off with even more rapid notes and wide skips than the old violone players had used. The new cellos were, after all, somewhat smaller than the earlier bass violins (Example 14, Video 10).

3.4 Gabrielli also wrote two cello sonatas with continuo, one in G and one in D. Not surprisingly, the solo part in these pieces spends more time on the top two strings than in the unaccompanied ricercars. Still, Gabrielli often crosses below the written continuo in sections of very free idiomatic writing. He cannot stay away from that new-fangled covered C string (Example 15, Video 11)! There are two different manuscript versions of the Sonata in G, both in Modena. The first is an accompanied “ricercar”following the seven solos. Gordon Kinney stated that the second version, which is titled “sonata,” is in the same hand, but I do not agree.15 Bettina Hoffman has studied the scribal layers in the sources, and suggests that the second version (F.416) is from a later date.16 The cellistic differences are chiefly on the top-string side of the solo writing. The ricercar version is clearly for Bolognese tuning, the sonata probably for what we now call standard tuning (C–G–d–a). There are multiple stops in the first version much like those in Ricercar 6 that can be played only in G tuning. The second version is playable in either tuning, but the chords have been re-voiced for an a string by moving thirds around or including them where they were previously implied. In addition, the continuo is slightly different in the two versions, probably because the timbre resulting from the two different tunings invites different ways of supporting the sound. The Bolognese palette is perhaps richer and warmer but the standard tuning more brilliant in high notes. We may gain more insight into this as research continues into gauges and tension in seventeenth-century string making. In the ricercar version, the soloist is voiced close to the continuo, allowing prominent overtones to overlap or even blend, especially as parts cross. The wide spread between solo and bass in in the sonata version looks and feels however more like a violin sonata (Example 16, Video 12). I wish we knew more about who made this second version of the piece. Of course it can be played on the legs in conventional violone position, as I am sure Gabrielli himself played, but I wonder if it was made by a player of violoncello da spalla, perhaps young Antonio himself.

4. The Violoncello da Spalla

4.1 The violoncello da spalla may have had its origins as a procession cello reinforcing vocal bass lines in sacred music. It may also have been useful for entertainments, dance ensembles, and other chamber music where mobility was required. Gregory Barnett suggests that it was the perfect instrument for a seventeenth-century “strolling strings” ensemble.17 Indeed in the violoncello partbook of Torelli’s opus 4, there is an engraving of a musician with a very large fiddle on his arm appearing to take a stroll in the countryside. The violin partbook in the same opus shows a musician with a normal size violin (Figure 2, Video 13). However, some eighteenth-century images show the da spalla players in stationary positions, either packed in a gallery at a large ceremony as in the Bolognese Anziani engravings (in which hanging the neck over the railing seems to conserve space) or seated like Salvatore Lanzetti in a Parisian outdoor concert scene.18 Awkward and even comical as the technique seems to us, there must have been something about playing da spalla that worked for more than just walking with the instrument or covering a bass part with a violin player when the violone player was sick. It may have also been an acceptable way for nuns to play bass instruments.

4.2 I propose that young Antonio Bononcini (and perhaps others) discovered that one could play with physical ease and virtuoso agility by playing mainly on the top strings of the da spalla where the bow arm is close to the body, and by frequent use of high positions, with the hand near the body of the instrument, where the right arm is more comfortable than when extended out towards the scroll. One can play on the low strings in low positions with a small cello up on the shoulder, and certainly procession players must have done this when playing bass parts and accompanying, but it is fatiguing for long passages. However, it is surprisingly possible to rest the bow on the top two strings and maintain an easy, flexible position for the bow arm while producing soloistic tenor range music (Figure 3, Figure 4, Figure 5).

4.3 Forty of the fifty movements in Bononcini’s Laudate pueri and his twelve early sonatas begin on the top two strings and only employ the bottom strings for occasional triple stops and brief bass doublings. This is not initially surprising in a continuo sonata or obbligato which we expect to lie mostly above the bass. It is, however, very unlike the unaccompanied music for violone or cello lingering on middle strings and even different from both versions of the Gabrielli Ricercar/Sonata with continuo where he had crossed below his bass. In notation, Bononcini’s pieces look very much like Colombi’s violin sonatas, but even those sonatas employ lower strings more than young Antonio did. Moving the bow to the lowest string of the violin is not difficult, but getting over to the lowest string of a da spalla is a bigger physical gesture, and young Antonio simply does not go there very much (Example 17, Audio 4, Example 18).

4.4 Many of the bowing figurations are ones that feel particularly easy to produce on one high string with the bow arm alongside the body in da spalla position. The same passages can of course be played on a cello in da gamba position, but the bow arm must then be held away from the body to reach the top string. That feels less good, although obviously later cellists learned how to be comfortable there as well. Perhaps they were inspired both by the da spalla players and viola da gamba players to find a way to play in that register with the cello on their legs (Example 19, Video 14).

4.5 Both the Laudate pueri and the twelve sonatas require a top a string, as can be seen in the numerous double-stopped unisons. The violinists who may have gravitated to da spalla playing would have felt at ease with an a string. In marked contrast, one of Jacchini’s sonatas shows a double-stopped unison g as its opening note, confirming that he used the Bolognese tuning like Gabrielli, his teacher. This may be the most explicit indication of the G tuning in any Bolognese source. The double stems indicating such details are very clear in all of the manuscripts as well as in an engraved edition of the Jacchini sonatas.19 (Example 20, Example 21, Example 22.)

5. Bowing: Underhand and Overhand

5.1 A comparison of bowing figurations and patterns in the Bononcini pieces and this same Jacchini sonata highlights the physical differences between bowing da spalla and bowing with the instrument on the legs or floor. Several scholars have noted that many seventeenth-century and even eighteenth-century cellists used an underhand bow hold that we more often associate with viola da gamba playing. A famous painting of Florentine musicians shows the bass violinist Salvetti using this technique alongside his overhand braccio colleagues. John Hill has noted that Salvetti was listed as playing violone, cello, lirone, viola da gamba, and violin, thus having a command of both overhand and underhand techniques.20 Salvetti was clearly versatile even by court musician standards of the time. Mark Smith observes that most bass violinists (that is, violone players) in Italian paintings are depicted underhand, and suggests that it was mainly French players of basse de violon who were expected by Lully to match the violinists and play overhand for ensemble uniformity.21 Italian ensembles, other than Corelli’s band, were not famous for bowing uniformity. Many cellists continued to use an under-hand bow hold throughout the eighteenth century, but I wonder if some were converted to overhand playing by a stint on da spalla.

5.2 An engraving originally from 1688 that appears in the ca. 1700 Sonate a tre autori shows an underhand player with cello resting on the floor. This of course does not certify that Jacchini or cellist/engraver Buffagnotti played that way themselves, but it invites a physical exploration. Smith suggests that certain configurations of string crossings might indicate that they were conceived in underhand technique. Several passages in the Jacchini Sonata just discussed fit this indication. In m. 9 the lower note feels good played “push” bow (up-bow) allowing the hand to open and close in clockwise motions. By m. 11 the higher note is on the strong beat, but the bowing has played through so that one “pulls” (down-bow) on the top notes, continuing the impressive but easy clockwise motions. The passage, even while using all four strings and sometimes shifting to higher positions, lingers around the middle ones, reminding us of Jacchini’s training in the school of Gabrielli and Vitali (Example 23, Video 15, Figure 6).

5.3 Bononcini, in contrast, more often uses repeated-note figures in which the bow arm can “scrub” the string energetically but efficiently along the side of the body while holding the bow overhand with the instrument in da spalla position (Example 24, Video 16; Audio 5 for the entire piece). He often achieves “shimmering” effects with left hand or bow by employing an efficient overhand string crossing of various clockwise motions, or else a repeated finger pattern for several measures. They are not unlike some famous violin passages by Corelli: virtuosic but notable for their elegant mechanics. Such things are also seen in the violin music of Colombi but never in the cello music of Gabrielli and Jacchini (Example 25, Video 17, Audio 6; Example 26, Audio 7).

6. Left-Hand Issues

6.1 Bononcini seems to have discovered some triple stops in high positions which feel good da spalla and less good da gamba. Colombi kept the lowest string of his basso open when using a triple stop with high positions (see the “Chiacona per basso solo,” discussed above in par. 2.3). Young Antonio experiments with something quite different, using high positions on low strings in several situations, including one with a doubled third when an adjacent open d double stop would have been easily available. This unusual voicing seems appropriate to the da spalla as Bononcini may have used it (Example 27, Figure 7).

6.2 Bononcini also frequently employs a chord using a fingered open fifth in his early works. This is somewhat awkward in da gamba positions, because it either requires a difficult barré or else a “side by side” fingering borrowed from fretted instruments; however, it is natural to the diagonal left hand of a violinist, where the pad of one finger can cover two strings rather easily. One of Antonio’s later cello pieces, a sinfonia (see par. 8.4 below), employs a different permutation of this chord, more natural to the placement of the left hand when the cello is on the legs. This use of the so-called “Boccherini” B-flat chord with its open d in the middle, suggests, along with other details, that Bononcini probably conceived this later piece for a conventional “leg” cello. The two versions of the chord feel and sound quite different. The da spalla chord is more brilliant, while the “da gamba-Boccherini” voicing is warmer (Example 28, Figure 8, Example 29, Figure 9).

6.3 Another left-hand issue that emerges in these Bononcini pieces is the stretch of the hand, particularly between the first and fourth fingers in double stops. Bass viola da gamba music written by viol players for which fingerings survive rarely demand large stretches, their technique having emerged from other fretted instruments, like the lute, where the hand is generally kept in a close position. Dance violinists, who preferred not to shift their hands up and down the fingerboard, however, seemed to have cultivated a fourth-finger extension which gave them easy access to notes one tone above each normal position. Furthermore, the left hand does this easily when the hand is in the diagonal mode of violin playing. This may explain some major second double stops in the Bononcini sonatas that are very difficult to play with a cello in da gamba position, but which fall easily under the hand in da spalla position. Several years ago, when Lowell Lindgren asked me to test all the multiple stops in these pieces, I noted that several double stops were only possible with the use of the thumb, standard in eighteenth-century virtuoso cello music, but not thought to have been used in the seventeenth century. That was before I had considered this da spalla way and the resulting violinistic hand stretches. Now it is of course possible that later cellists playing Bononcini’s early sonatas in eighteenth-century Paris employed the thumb when they played these pieces. I have already proposed here that Antonio himself switched over to “da gamba” way cello playing later in his career and therefore may have experimented with such things. Still, the origins of these major-second suspensions on adjacent strings was probably a violinistic da spalla fingering (1 and 4). There is nothing quite like them in the cello music of Gabrielli and Jacchini, but they are familiar from numerous violin works (Example 30).

6.4 The use of thumb might have come from its use in tromba marina playing (the Brescian cellist Luigi Taglietti was also listed as a player of that instrument, for example).22 That is of course possible, but there is another family of instruments that also employed this fifth finger. The thumb is a standard part of lira da braccio technique and may have been a useful fifth finger for bass notes on the da spalla where it could cover bass notes on the lowest string. Turkish lute players use it today, as do American folk guitarists. While later cellists used the thumb to help achieve high, violinistic passages, it may have been that da spalla players kept that finger integrated into their technique by using it for occasional bass notes (Figure 10).

6.5 Most scholars of cello history agree that early cellists did not have a consistent procedure for scale fingering with the left hand. We know from surviving treatises that viola da gamba players in the seventeenth century used a semitone system (each finger playing successive half steps), but there were no contemporaneous cello or bass violin methods (other than Bismantova’s one page for da spalla), since those instruments were taught largely by the apprentice system. The cello methods that were eventually published in the eighteenth century employ several different systems often involving violinistic diatonic fingerings in which successive fingers played both whole tones and semitones as needed. Given that Bismantova actually provided a fingering chart for da spalla using this violin system, it is not surprising at all to see long passages in Bononcini’s early sonatas requiring four fingers in rapid diatonic succession. This is hard to do on a big cello played “gamba” style, but falls under the hand on a small cello on the shoulder. Many small cellos do survive from that time and are often described as children’s instruments, but they were just as likely used for da spalla playing (Example 31, Example 32). The solo pieces for violone and even the cello pieces of Gabrielli and Jacchini rarely require four fingers in many repetitions, suggesting that they may have used semitone fingerings at least in low positions where the distances are large. This is admittedly contradicted by Bismantova’s fingerings for contrabass which barely consider the size of the hand.

7. Similarities with Colombi’s Violin Music

7.1 Bononcini’s youthful cello pieces resemble Colombi’s violin music—as opposed to his bass music—in many ways, suggesting that young Antonio may have even learned some of Colombi’s pieces on the violin, or at least seen and heard them often. The dotted rhythms in both are rare in the cello music of Gabrielli (Example 33, Example 34). Colombi sometimes used double-stops on middle strings followed by repeated top-string notes. Bononcini also used this type of figuration, while his cello contemporaries did not (Example 35, Example 36). Colombi used a similar technique in a passage of eighth notes that young Antonio may have imitated (Example 37, Example 38).

7.2 Much has been written about the Italian love for tremolo bowing.23 Curiously, solo violone music never employed it, nor did Gabrielli, although northern European viola da gamba players certainly did so. Colombi indicated it in his violin music with the word “tremolo,” while young Antonio used a wavy line (Example 39, Example 40).

7.3 Gregory Barnett observes that these Bononcini pieces might be considered a record of late seventeenth-century improvisation by a cellist.24 This statement is convincing, given their lack of counterpoint and frequent repeated patterns over drones. The whole question of technical comfort and quick access to familiar fingering patterns becomes of primary importance. Even the most creative improviser relies on a grab bag of tricks, things that fall under the hand in various keys (Example 41, Video 18).

7.4 It is not entirely clear from descriptions or pictures how instruments were fastened to the body for da spalla playing, but I was surprised to observe from various experiments of my own (assisted by instrument builder John Pringle) that when the cello is slung over the shoulder on a strap it feels quite stable and the left hand has considerable mobility for fast shifts on the same string. A bass violin resting on the floor or legs is also stable, but the longer string lengths and thick neck of most instruments played that way may have not encouraged those kinds of motions. Some violinists must have been more skilled at shifting than others. Colombi’s pieces go rather high with frequent leaps, while Corelli’s rarely extend past third position. Violinists without chin rests must also hold the instrument while shifting, which has at times been given as a reason for the limits on e′ string writing in much early violin music. That does not seem to have been an issue for da spalla players. Certainly not all da spalla cellists were equally agile, but young Antonio Bononcini must have moved around quickly and lightly. I think he must have enjoyed showing off (Example 42, Video 19)!

8. Bononcini’s Later Sonatas

8.1 In 1694 Antonio followed his brother Giovanni to Rome where he would have had contact with a whole new community of cellists, including Filippo Amadei, Quirino Colombani, Giovanni Lulier (known as Giovanni del Violone), and Nicola Haym—as well as a fellow Emilian, the great violinist Corelli. Early in the 1690s some Roman musicians were still designated as players of violone, but most of them reappear in records within a few years listed as players of violoncello.25 What this does not tell us with certainty is whether this change was simply a matter of naming (the administrator or scribe finally caught up with fashion and called the instrument cello instead of violone) or if some of the players finally acquired a smaller instrument worthy of the new name and always tuned it in C rather than the old B-flat way. Much effort has been made to prove that Corelli’s use of the name violone in his publication of the opus 6 Violin Sonatas is antiquated and always means violoncello. I argue that many of these basses sound and feel very good in B-flat tuning even though they can be played in standard C tuning. The continuo lines to the sonatas in C major and F major are particularly rich, with open strings in the middle of the instrument, and they make me believe that Corelli—who was after all conservative—valued and trusted this traditional fullness of sound when publishing an accompaniment for “violone or harpsichord.” Perhaps the new breed of cellist was just a bit too interested in sounding brilliant at the expense of the solo violinist while someone defined as a violone player might offer a more helpful accompaniment.

8.2 Whatever they may have played in continuo situations, it seems clear that Roman cellists who wrote solos during the 1690s were using C–G–d–a tuning and played on the legs more often than da spalla. There is only one Roman picture I know of that shows a cellist playing on the shoulder, a drawing by Sevin of a concert sponsored by Queen Christina of Sweden.26 Furthermore, there is little in the Roman solos that suggests whether underhand or overhand bowing technique was more common. Filippo Amadei, known as “Sigr Pippo,” later became famous for opera in 1720s London collaborating with both Handel and Giovanni Bononcini. In the 1690s however, he played in the orchestra of Cardinal Ottoboni. His surviving cello sonata (in D-WD) is in D minor and works its way carefully from middle strings to a string singing or C string richness. There are no double stops, and it makes its case with warm sound rather than technical brilliance (Example 43, Video 20).

8.3 Another Roman cellist of the time due for later fame was Nicola Haym. His two early cello sonatas are short works staying close to middle strings in low positions.27 They involve multiple stops which can only be played in A tuning. Some of the string crossings are the type that work well with underhand bowing, but they can be played either way, and they do look and sound much like Corelli. Some of the double stops in the Sonata in A minor make one wonder if Haym had developed use of the thumb. It reminds one of Antonio Bononcini’s violinistic extensions of the left hand. But this is clearly not da spalla music (Example 44, Video 21).

8.4 The later cello sonatas of Antonio Bononcini resemble these Roman pieces rather than his early Bolognese music. The “Sinfonia per camera” mentioned earlier is the most strikingly different. It is after all in C minor and actually uses the open C string which Sonata 5 of the early works, also in that key, did not. All three movements of the Sinfonia start on c′ on the a string but move quickly and frequently to the lower side of the instrument, where it is more comfortable to play using the leg system of holding the instrument and employing overhand bowing. Some of the jig-like figures remind one of Corelli, but made cellistic. It is not da spalla music. Was he now focusing his performance efforts on leg technique? (Example 45, Video 22) There are multiple stops in the opening Cantabile but they are never extended over drones and rarely in high positions. Here again is that comfortable “Boccherini” chord (cf. par. 6.2; Example 46, Audio 08).

8.5 The “Sonata da camera detta La comodina”presents a more diverse combination of technical problems, reminding us that some of the elements of da spalla playing, particularly the comfort with which one can remain in a high singing register, are still desirable even when playing in a leg position. After all, the old violone players had gone there sometimes and virtuoso viol players had been showing off their high wire skills since the sixteenth century. The opening Cantabile of the “La comodina” lingers mainly on the top two strings with only a few low notes and three-note chords. One could play it in da spalla position but it does not look or feel like the early Bolognese pieces. There are no repeated figures over drones, and the written-out ornaments look like the ones published by Roger for the Corelli violin sonatas. The following Allegro straddles the world between violin music and cellistic comfort. “La comodina,” “little respite” in Lindgren’s translation, involves wide leaps in the bowing that are a bit easier to play in da gambaposition than on shoulder, but I would not call them comfortable. Perhaps the respite is in the beauty of the opening Cantabile and the exuberance of the dance-like Allegro (Example 47).

8.6 There are two other cello sonatas attributed to a “Sigr Bononcini.”28 One was published in 1748 by Simpson in London and is already very well known. It is generally assumed to be by Giovanni who had lived in England but could just as easily be by Antonio, at least from a purely cellistic standpoint. It feels somewhat like the Sinfonia or “La comodina,” spending considerable time on the a string with many comfortable multiple stops and frequent skips to the low strings. The other sonata (in A-Wkm, Estense Collection), however, begs some new questions because two of its chords cannot be played with A-string tuning. Its final Sarabanda ends with a chord frequent in the music of Gabrielli, seeming to require the old Bolognese cello tuning of C–G–d–g (Example 48). However, the chord that ends the opening Largo affettuoso is not possible in either that tuning or the standard one of C–G–d–a. I noted this when I examined all the sonatas for Lowell Lindgren in 1994 and also pondered this small problem considering the suggestion of Agnes Kory that this is an example of solo tenor violin repertory.29 Such an instrument, tuned G–d–a–e′, certainly existed and may have had a role as an ensemble instrument in various situations, but many examples that Kory gives for its use could be more easily analyzed as da spalla music, particularly those by Torelli and Caldara. She describes this Bononcini sonata as virtuosic, but it is actually the least flamboyant of his cello pieces. She also considers its one note below the staff a mistake. In any case, the two chords I cited above are not playable on a tenor violin either. There is, however, another instrument that is a plausible candidate for this little sonata: the viola da gamba. The Italians are known to have had little interest in that instrument by the middle of the seventeenth century, but there were some Italian players, even if they did not rival the French and German virtuosi. I have already refered to Salvetti, the Florentine cellist in the famous painting with Veracini who was listed as also playing viol, and there was Sciarli in Rome during the 1690s. More plausible as an encouragement for writing viol music than Italians such as these, however, would have been the Austrian virtuoso players in the Hofkapelle in Vienna where the Bononcini brothers worked in the early eighteenth century. Although this is not a virtuosic piece, but it lies well on viol, perhaps having served as a gift to a noble amateur (Example 49, Video 23).

8.7 Many of the Italians associated with the Imperial Court in Vienna wrote for viols during their time there, including Ziani, Ariosti, both Bononcinis, and the Austrian, Fux. Generally their solos were obbligatos in arias from operas and cantatas, but Fux wrote a Canonic Sonata for two viols with continuo, and Schmelzer composed sonatas for viol with violin and continuo. Therefore, Bononcini would not have been alone in writing a viol sonata in Imperial Vienna. The manuscript titles it a “Sonatta a Violonello.” In 1994, Lowell Lindgren and I thought that “violonello” was an alternate spelling for violoncello, but I now wonder if it may have been a Viennese name for a large viola da gamba. The piece may look like a cello sonata at first glance, but it is clearly for viol (Audio 9).

9. Conclusion

9.1 The Laudate pueri and twelve sonatas that Antonio Bononcini wrote when he was fifteen were almost certainly conceived on the violoncello da spalla. They may be the most significant and clearly idiomatic surviving solos for this once important way of playing the cello. Young Antonio may have also played the cello on his legs and may have learned this from Gabrielli or Jacchini at San Petronio, since string players were frequently expected to play various sizes and types of instruments. But Bononcini’s early works are nothing like the cello solos by Gabrielli and Jacchini. Antonio’s early pieces are more like the violin music of Colombi, but even so are tailored to peculiarities of playing solos on a large instrument at the shoulder rather than a small one. These Bononcini works anticipate the cello writing of the eighteenth century. It would be interesting to know who was his teacher/mentor for the da spalla.

9.2 The cello music of Gabrielli and even Jacchini, while virtuosic and adventurous, is more closely related to the older violone solos of Vitali, Colombi and to some extent the pieces of Galli. All of these works linger on the middle strings in contrast to Antonio’s top string preferences. Many of the solos for violone actually require the B-flat tuning, which can be shown to be effective for ensemble parts labeled “violone” as well. The Bolognese tuning is more likely an alteration of this B-flat tuning than it is a scordatura of what is called the “standard” tuning. Even though a C–G–d–a tuning was used by the early seventeenth century, it was probably not as standard in Emilia as has been assumed, and may have been more typical for da spalla players than for floor violone players switching to smaller cellos to play on their legs. These violone players and first generation “cellists” may have used underhand bow technique in contrast to the violin and da spalla players.

9.3 Whatever he played as a young cellist, Antonio seems to have written his later solos for cello tuned C–G–d–a, played on the legs. He may have already known how to do this or switched over following some time in Rome, where there is less evidence of a da spalla tradition than in Emilia or Venice. These few solos from his later career are certainly more like the solos of Roman cellists like Amadei and Haym than his youthful showpieces. They do explore the lyrical top string more than the old violone solos had done, but like them they frequently return to the comfort of the middle and even bottom strings.

9.4 It is hard to know whether Antonio continued to play his youthful da spalla sonatas later in life when he may have been focusing on cello played “down.” How would he then have managed passages originally devised for a smaller instrument using violinistic technique? Did he employ his thumb like tromba marina or lira players? Since the twelve early sonatas survive only in an eighteenth-century French manuscript, it is possible that at least one later cellist dealt with this problem as well—or did he, like Lanzetti, sometimes use the da spalla way?

9.5 Meanwhile, one of Antonio’s later sonatas is most likely for viola da gamba because it contains a chord that can be played only on that instrument. Both Bononcini brothers had contact with viol players in Vienna and wrote for them in opera arias. They understood how to write for the instrument, even if not as effectively as they did for the cello.

9.6 The cello music of Antonio Bononcini and his contemporaries offers a wonderful opportunity to consider the relationship of the physical to the musical during an age of experimentation, exploration, and transition in string playing in general and cello playing in particular. Obviously many ways of thinking and doing co-existed. As instrument makers, performer/composers, mentors and students interact, many things can happen as they clearly did in Italy during the 1690s. It is exciting to consider young Antonio participating in this age of experimentation, at first creating brilliantly and rather intuitively in response to his instrument (the da spalla) and later responding to changes in both technique (leg position) and style (Roman). Clearly many string players of the time experienced similar journeys, such as those who moved from violone to violoncello. The journey of Antonio Bononcini, however, stands out as a vivid record of physical music making and enriches our understanding of the cello in its early years.


The author is grateful for help from a great many colleagues during the preparation of this article, among them: Sally Sanford, Catherine Liddell, Andrew Lawrence-King, Tina Chancey, Elaine Funaro, Tim Carter, Lowell Lindgren, Gregory Barnett, John Moran, Elisabeth Leguin, Stewart Carter, John Pringle, Linda Pereksta, Tom Cox, and Dwight Robinett. In addition he is grateful for the support of the Institute of Arts and Humanities at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


* Brent Wissick (bswissic@email.unc.edu) is Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he teaches cello and early music ensembles. A member of Ensemble Chanterelle and the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, he is a frequent guest with American Bach Soloists (San Francsico), Folger Consort (Washington, D.C.), Concert Royal (New York, Boston Early Music Festival, Dallas Bach Society, and Collegio di Musica Sacra in Poland. He is past-President of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, and has recorded on Albany and Koch International labels. His recording of the sonatas discussed in this article is available on Antonio and Giovanni Bononcini: Sonatas and Cantatas, Centaur Records, CRC 2630 (2003).

1 Antonio Bononcini, “Laudate pueri [Psalm 112], Canto solo col violoncello obligato di Antonio Bononcini a di 19 Feb 1693,” I-Bsp Lib.B.3.

2 Eleanor Selfridge-Field, Venetian Instrumental Music from Gabrieli to Vivaldi, 3rd ed. (New York: Dover, 1994), 342.

3 Marc Vanscheeuwijck, The Cappella Musicale of San Petronio in Bologna under Colonna (1674–95): History-Organization-Repertoire (Brussels: Belgisch Historisch Instituut, 2003), 286–7.

4 The sketch, by the San Petronio violinist Pistocchi, is found in a violin partbook of G.M. Bononcini’s op. 3 and also includes a violinist playing a normal size instrument, labeled Archangelo, whom Michael Talbot identified as Corelli. See Gregory Barnett, “The Violoncello da Spalla: Shouldering the Cello in the Baroque Era,” Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, 24 (1998): 81–106.

5 Lowell Lindgren, Preface to Antonio Bononcini: Complete Sonatas for Violoncello and Basso Continuo, Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era 77 (Madison, Wis.: A-R Editions, 1996). The source of Sonatas 1–12 in this edition is F-Psg MS 1090.

6 Bartolomeo Bismantova, “Compendio musicale” (Ferrara; foreword from 1677, postscript from 1694; I-REm, p. 119.

7 Stephen Bonta, “Terminology for the Bass Violin in Seventeenth-Century Italy,” Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 4 (1978): 5–42.

8 John Dilworth, “The Cello: Origins and Evolution” in The Cambridge Companion to the Cello, ed. Robin Stowell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 9.

9 Gregory Barnett, “Musical Issues of the Late Seicento,” (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1997), 279.

10 Peter Allsop, “Ensemble Music: In the Chamber and the Orchestra,” in The Cambridge Companion to the Cello, ed. Robin Stowell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 164.

11 In fact, Steven Bonta has suggested that the invention of wire-wound bottom strings in 1660s in Bologna was what allowed makers to build the smaller bass violins called violoncello. Gut strings wound with wire have adequate mass to produce loud bass notes even with relatively short string lengths. See Stephen Bonta, “From Violone to Violoncello: A Question of Strings,” Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 3 (1977): 75.

12 University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Luigi Silva Collection, box 4-22.

13 Marc Vanscheeuwijck, Preface to Domenico Gabrielli: Ricercari per Violoncello Solo (Bologna: Arnaldo Forni, 1998); Bettina Hoffmann, Introduction to Domenico Gabrielli: The Complete Works for Violoncello, Hortus Musicus 279 (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2001).

14 Mark Chambers, “The Mistuned Cello” (D.M.A. diss., Florida State University, 1996).

15 Gordon Kinney, “The Musical Literature for Unaccompanied Violoncello” (Ph.D. diss., Florida State University, 1962), 196.

16 Hoffmann, Gabrielli, p. XI.

17 Gregory Barnett, “Musical Issues,” 280.

18 Gregory Barnett, “The Violoncello da Spalla,” 99–100.

19 Gregory Barnett, “Musical Issues,” 635. The Sonata in question was published as “Sonata a violoncello solo” no. 5 in Sonate a tre di vari autori (Bologna?, ca. 1700), an edition engraved by C. Buffagnotti. It also appears as no. 10 in a collection of the same name in moveable type (Bologna, 1697). In the second edition, the medium was not able to express double stems. Perhaps the Bolognese tuning was going out of style as well, in favor of the top a that da spalla players used.

20 John Walter Hill, “Antonio Veracini in a New Context,” Early Music 18 (1990): 545.

21 Mark Smith, “The Cello Bow Held Viol-way,” Chelys 24 (1995): 56.

22 Klaus Marx, New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., s.v. “Violoncello.”

23 Stewart Carter, “The String Tremolo in the Seventeenth-Century,” Early Music 19 (1991): 43–59.

24 Gregory Barnett, review of Antonio Bononcini, Complete Sonatas for Violoncello and Basso Continuo, edited by Lowell Lindgren in JSCM, vol. 5, no. 1.

25 Sven Hansell “Orchestral Practice at the Court of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 19 (1996): 400.

26 Stefano La Via, “Violone e Violoncello a Roma al tempo di Corelli,” Studi Corelliani 4 (1986): fig. 4.

27 See Lowell Lindgren, Introduction to Nicola Francesco Haym: Complete Sonatas, Part 2, Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era 177 (Middleton, Wis.: A-R Editions, 2002).

28 The Sonata in A Minor (London: Simpson, 1748), is given in facsimile in the appendix to the Lindgren edition; and the sonata from the Estense Collection is Lindgren’s no. 15.

29 Agnes Kory, “A Wider Role for the Tenor Violin?” Galpin Society Journal 47 (1994): 147–51.

Notation Examples

Unless otherwise stated, the examples of pieces by Bononcini are based on Antonio Bononcini: Complete Sonatas for Violoncello and Basso Continuo, ed. Lowell Lindgren, Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era 77 (Madison, Wis.: A-R Editions, 1996), used by permission.

Movements are indicated with a slash, e.g., “Sonata 2/4” for the fourth movement of Sonata 2.

Example 1: Antonio Bononcini, Laudate pueri, mm. 1–4

Example 2: Domenico Gabrielli, Ricercar 1, mm. 1–26

Example 3: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 4/1, mm. 1–8

Example 4a: Bartolomeo Bismantova, Tuning for Violoncello da spalla

Example 4b: Bononcini, Sonata 12, mvt 1, m. 21

Example 5: Giuseppe Colombi, “Toccata a violone solo,” section 13

Example 6: Giuseppe Colombi, “Chiacona a basso solo,” mm. 1–8

Example 7: Giuseppe Colombi, “Chiacona a basso solo,” mm. 17–20

Example 8: Giuseppe Colombi, “Chiacona a basso solo,” m. 65

Example 9: Giuseppe Colombi, “Chiacona a basso solo,” end

Example 10: Giovanni Battista Vitali, Bergamasca, mm. 1–8

Example 11: Domenico Galli, Sonata X, Giga

Example 12: Domenico Gabrielli, Ricercar 6, mm. 67–71

Example 13: Old B-flat and Bolognese Tunings Compared

Example 14: Domenico Gabrielli, Ricercar 5, mm. 26–8

Example 15: Domenico Gabrielli, Sonata in G (version 1), mm. 1–7

Example 16: Domenico Gabrielli, Sonata in G (version 2), mm. 1–7

Example 17: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 2/1, mm. 1–10

Example 18: Giuseppe Colombi, Violin Sonata in A/1, mm. 1–6

Example 19: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 4/1, m. 4

Example 20: Antonio Bononcini, Laudate pueri/3, “Suscitans,” mm. 37–9

Example 21: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 4/2, mm. 33–4

Example 22: Giuseppe Jacchini, “Sonata a violoncello solo,” mm. 1–2

Example 23: Giuseppe Jacchini, “Sonata a violoncello solo,” mm. 9–14

Example 24: Antonio Bononcini, Laudate pueri/5 “Sicut erat,” mm. 1–5

Example 25: Antonio Bononcini, Laudate pueri/2, “Excelsus,” mm. 3–5

Example 26: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 4/3, mm. 12–5

Example 27: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 2/1, end

Example 28: Antonio Bononcini, Laudate pueri, m. 10

Example 29: Antonio Bononcini, Sinfonia, m. 4

Example 30: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 2/2, mm. 30–1

Example 31: Bartolomeo Bismantova, Fingering for Violoncello da spalla

Example 32: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 4/2, mm. 21–3, with “Diatonic” Fingering

Example 33: Giuseppe Colombi, Violin Sonata in A, mm. 27–30

Example 34: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 2/4, m. 11

Example 35: Giuseppe Colombi, Violin Sonata in A, m. 120, “Allegro la guerra”

Example 36: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 2/2, mm. 21–3

Example 37: Giuseppe Colombi, “Chiacona a violino solo,” mm. 43–7

Example 38: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 2/4, mm. 41–7

Example 39: Giuseppe Colombi, Violin Sonata in A, m. 47 (tremolo)

Example 40: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 1/3, m. 26 (tremolo)

Example 41: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 2/4, m. 48

Example 42: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 4/4, mm. 20–1

Example 43: Fillippo Amadei, “Sonata a violoncello solo”/1, mm. 1–8

Example 44: Nicola Haym, Sonata in A Minor/1, mm. 1–3

Example 45: Antonio Bononcini, Sinfonia/2, mm. 1–9

Example 46: Antonio Bononcini, Sinfonia/1, mm. 1–6

Example 47: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata “la Comodina”/1, mm. 1–5

Example 48: Antonio Bononcini, “Sonnata” (Lindgren no. 15) end

Example 49: Antonio Bononcini, “Sonnata”/1 (Lindgren no. 15), mm. 13–5

Audio Examples

Audio 1: Antonio Bononcini, Laudate pueri, mm. 1–4

Audio 2: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 4/1, mm.1–8

Audio 3: Giuseppi Colombi, “Chiacona a basso solo” (complete)

Audio 4: Bononcini, Sonata 2, mvt 1, m.1–10

Audio 5: Antonio Bononcini, Laudate pueri/5, “Sicut erat,” excerpt

Audio 6: Antonio Bononcini, Laudate pueri/2, “Excelsus,” mm. 1–5

Audio 7: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 4/3, mm.12–5

Audio 8: Antonio Bononcini, Sinfonia/1, mm. 1–6

Audio 9: Antonio Bononcini, “Sonnata”/1 (complete)

Video Examples

Video 1: Domenico Gabrielli, Ricercar 1, mm. 1–19

Video 2: Giuseppe Colombi, “Toccata a violone solo,” section 13

Video 3: Giuseppe Colombi, “Chiacona a basso solo,” mm. 1–8

Video 4: Giuseppe Colombi, “Chiacona a basso solo,” mm. 17–25

Video 5: Giuseppe Colombi, “Chiacona a basso solo,” m. 65

Video 6: Bergamasca Bass on Bass Violin in B-flat Tuning

Video 7: Giovanni Battista Vitali, Bergamasca excerpt

Video 8: Domenico Galli, Sonata X, Giga

Video 9: Domenico Gabrielli, Ricercar 6, excerpt

Video 10: Domenico Gabrielli, Ricercar 5, excerpt

Video 11: Domenico Gabrielli, Sonata in G (version 1), mm. 1–7, Bolognese Tuning

Video 12: Domenico Gabrielli, Sonata in G (version 2), mm. 1–7, A Tuning

Video 13: Walking with Violoncello da Spalla

Video 14: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 4/1, m. 4

Video 15: Giuseppe Jacchini, “Sonata a violoncello solo,” mm. 9–14

Video 16 Antonio Bononcini, Laudate pueri/5 “Sicut erat,” excerpt

Video 17: Antonio Bononcini, Laudate pueri/2, “Excelsus,” excerpt from Example 25

Video 18: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 2/1, m. 48 excerpt

Video 19: Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 4/4, mm. 21–3

Video 20: Fillippo Amadei, “Sonata a violoncello solo”/1, mm. 1–8

Video 21: Nicola Haym, Sonata in A Minor/1, mm. 1–3

Video 22: Antonio Bononcini, Sinfonia/2, mm. 1–9

Video 23: Antonio Bononcini, “Sonnata”/1, m. 15


Figure 1: Giovanni Pistocchi, Sketch, ca.1669

Figure 2: Engraving, 1688, detail

Figure 3: Bolognese Anziani Ceremony, detail

Figure 4: Violoncello da Spalla on Top String in High Position

Figure 5: Violoncello da Spalla on Bottom String in Low Position

Figure 6: Carlo Buffagnotti, 1688 Engraving, detail

Figure 7: Left Hand Position in Antonio Bononcini, Sonata 2/1, end

Figure 8: Left Hand Position in Antonio Bononcini, Laudate pueri, m. 10

Figure 9: Left Hand Position in Antonio Bononcini, Sinfonia/1, m. 4

Figure 10: Use of the Left Thumb

Copyright © Society for Seventeenth-Century Music. All Rights Reserved.

ISSN: 1089-747X

Items appearing in JSCM may be saved and stored in electronic or paper form, and may be shared among individuals for purposes of scholarly research or discussion, but may not be republished in any form, electronic or print, without prior, written permission from the Editor-in-Chief of JSCM.

Any authorized redistribution of an item published in JSCM must include the following information in a form appropriate to the medium in which it is to appear:

This item appeared in the Journal of Seventeenth Century Music (http://www.sscm-jscm.org/) [volume, no. (year)], and it is republished here with permission.

Libraries may archive issues of JSCM in electronic or paper form for public access so long as each issue is stored in its entirety, and no access fee is charged. Exceptions to these requirements must be approved in writing by the Editor-in-Chief of JSCM.

Website Design and Development by Crooked River Design.