On La Folia and bass viol improv

February 5, 2010

I pursued the idea of some bass viol improv with some work on the time-honoured Folia ground bass. Here’s one the earliest versions of La Folia and with its clunky Renaissance feel, you can see why it never caught on much and eventually morphed into something more sophisticated, the Folia we know-and-love of Corelli, Vivaldi, Marais and others. For the moment, I’ve deliberately kept my variations simple and unadventurous. What I need to do next is check out the source from Hudson’s seminal book on Folia, determine when it might have been used and consult various keyboard and other instrumental written-out improv of the period and adjust mine accordingly. It starts with the Folia, melody and bass, as given, and it needs to be taken at a fair clip; taken too slowly and grandly, it doesn’t make sense.

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