A Manuscript Found at Oporto-A study by Paulo Galvao



The manuscript in question is preserved in Galvao-Kristófcsák Foundation of Lagos, in Algarve, Portugal [formerly in Avetisian Foundation collection in Coimbra]. It is a unique, anonymous collection of works for five course Baroque guitar. Most of the pieces are in dance-like forms common in Baroque Iberia (of decidedly Lusitanian character), such as passacaglia, oitavado, rojão, chacoina, chacara, etc.


The tabulature is numerical following the Iberian tradition. The inside-cover shows Alphabeto chord chart. This chart looks like having been re-written several times, showing confusing hand position for some glyphs. The music in the Ms. is of unusially high quality and interest, full of unusual modulatioins, turns of phrase and "bizzarrie", on top of melodic originality.


There is no title on the front page. Although, the letters: "A. dC" can be found at the bottom of some pages. In one of the pages, beside the letters there is a cross and the drawing of a bird.

We believe that these initials belong to Abade Antonio da Costa, a Portuguese priest and a composer who eventualy lived in Vienna where he met Dr. Charles Burney, who left a lively account of this encounter.


To find out more about Abate Antonio Da Costa, his life and music click on the LINKS below:








Copyright 2001, by Paulo Galvao

Contact information/Webmaster:

Roman Turovsky

All inquiries about this music should be directed to Paulo Galvao, whose web-site is located at