Farinel’s Ground – Article on the 'folia' in England

I’m really excited that my latest scholarly article has been published in the eminent journal ‘Early Music’.

My article is the result of a comprehensive study of grounds (or basso ostinato compositions) based on the famous folia, all of which were published, written in manuscript or otherwise connected with England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

The folia may be familiar to you from Corelli’s version, published in 1700 as the last of his op. 5 violin sonatas (LISTEN HERE), or from Rachmaninov’s variations on Corelli’s piece (LISTEN HERE). The melody and bass used by Corelli were, however, already well-known by the early 1680s and published in London as Farinel’s Ground as early as 1682 (as a song), 1683 (for recorder) and 1684 (for violin). You can listen to the violin version HERE. In the article I also discuss what 17th-century musicians Christopher Simpson (1659) and Thomas Mace (1676) wrote about large-scale structure in ground-bass compositions and how some of their ideas can be detected in different versions of Farinel’s Ground. You can read the full article on the journal's website HERE.

Last October, I also gave a paper at the Traditional Tunes and Popular Airs Conference (see my announcement HERE), where I explored the origins and influence of popular songs on Farinel’s Ground in late 17th-century England such as the one shown below.

I’m currently working on expanding this into a further journal article and would really like to hear your thoughts and ideas on what is essentially a whole subgenre of ground-bass pieces. Comment below and also sign up for the newsletter if you’d like to receive updates on new blog posts!


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Dr Stephan Schönlau next to piano smilingDr Stephan Schönlau next to piano smiling

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