Diego Ortiz, El primo libro: Nel quale si tratta delle glose sopra le cadenze et altre sorte de punti in la musica del violone nouamente posti in luce (Valerio Dorico, Rome 1553).
The Spanish-Neapolitan composer Diego Ortiz (Toledo, c. 1519 - Naples, c. 1570) is rightly known for his seminal treatise for viola da gamba. In this treatise we find division schemes on melodic leaps and cadences; ricercars for solo gamba; ricercars for gamba and harpsichord on La Spagna; divisions and ricercars on the Arcadelt madrigal «O felici occhi miei» and on the Sandrin chanson «Doulce Memoire»; and, finally, nine ricercars on ground basses, of which eight are published here as an adaptation for treble recorder and harpsichord.
The treatment made by Ortiz of these basses – Passamezzo antico, Passamezzo moderno, Romanesca, and La Gamba – is quite unusual and interesting: so far as I know, he is the only early composer to present the basses already harmonized in four parts. This arrangement leaves very little room to improvisation to the harpsichord player.
Our adaptation for treble recorder of these ricercars certainly is subjective, though, we think, not so far from the Renaissance fashion of «per ogni sorte d'istrumenti». The melody has been transported two octaves higher and some passages needed further adaptation, yet always leaving the note names unchanged.