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The Sonata pian’ e forte is the only one of the 1597 instrumental pieces without a designated mode. Each of the modes could be used at a high or a low pitch; here the words alla quarta bassa may indicate that the sonata, conceived outside the modal system, is already notated at low pitch and—unlike the eight-part canzonas?—should not be transposed down.
from notes by Timothy Roberts © 1997