I had the chance to find a manuscript with music for the viola da gamba from the 18th century in Foix, a small town in the French Pyrenees. The author is unknown, it looks like a personal collection of compositions, dances and fashionable melodies.
Le Manuscrit de Foix pages 1- 6 in PDF
The ‘pièces de viole’ in the Foix Manuscript are grouped by key signature.
On the first page three pieces in C : prelude, marche and gavotte.
Page 2 to 4 are in D minor and major : Prelude, Je suis charmé d’une brune,
Les Rats, Notes égales, Menuet, Prelude and Sarabande.
I play some of these pieces on the treble viol.
Page 5 is in E and page 6 in F.
Le Manuscrit de Foix pages 7-10
Page 7 to 10 are G, minor major mixed up without forming a real suite. But nice music !
Most of them are on Soundcloud. Several pieces are nameless, I gave them a title in the recording.
Le Manuscrit de Foix pages 11-14
Nice pieces in A, inspired and original, really worth playing !
prélude, gavotte, sarabande, rondeau, muzette, rigaudons
Le Manuscrit de Foix pages 15-18
Always in A minor and major. At some place you have to invent the missing notes (merci mice ..).
The Cotillon looks like nothing but listen how nice it can be.
Le Manuscrit de Foix pages 19-20
Page 19 and 20 are an exeption in the manuscript, they are from another handwriting, perhaps a pelgrim on the way to Santiago of Compostelle … There is a Basque version of this Song of St Jacques.
Le Manuscrit de Foix pages 21-25
Here we have several pieces for two violes or for viol and theorbo.
Courante, Sarabande, Gigue, Menuet, Rigaudon
Le Manuscrit de Foix pages 27-28
The last pages contain a prelude by Marin Marais and some pieces by his son Roland Marais, in an unended solo version.