Twelve Divertimentis for the Guittar

by James Oswald

Scottish composer, musician and publisher James Oswald (1711-1769) issued this collection in the late 1750s. The complete title page reads: "Twelve Divertimentis for the Guittar dedicated to Her Grace the Dutchess of Grafton. Composed by James Oswald. London. Printed for the Author & sold at his Music Shop on the Pavement St. Martinís Church Yard, where may be had the first Book for two Guittars. Published by His Majesty's Royal License."

I published an article concerning Oswald and his related pieces for "two Guitars or two Mandelins" in the May 2003 issue of the Mandolin Journal which can be read online here. In that article I mention these solo pieces and the importance of Rob MacKillop's scholarship in this area. His current website contains an excellent discussion of both the music and the "guittar" in question as well as information concerning his own sensitive recording (ASV Gaudeamus CD GAU 221) of these pieces and a link to digital versions of the original printed music, supplied through the generosity of the Mackworth Collection, Cardiff University Library. Rob's site also includes links to Sound Cloud recordings (both audio and video) of pieces by Oswald and several other composers.

When I created this particular webpage in 2006 I transcribed Oswald's originally published music using Sibelius software and I offered it here in PDF format. I also "arranged" the pieces for easier performance on the modern mandolin by transposing the pieces from their original key of C major into the more mandolin-friendly key of G major and I changed many of the double-stop passages into single note lines. In early 2016 I entered into an agreement with Mel Bay, Inc. to create a new version of these pieces, transposing most of them into a variety of keys and keeping in mind Oswald's original intent that these pieces should be playable in the first position. I have recently gone carefully through each of the twelve pieces and, I believe, improved on my original approach. The finished product was published by Mel Bay in March, 2016 under the title 12 Divertimentos for Solo Mandolin by James Oswald and is available from the Mel Bay website, and music stores worldwide. As a result of this publishing agreement I have removed the G major versions of the pieces from this Mandotopia page to avoid creating a conflict of interest.

In addition to this collection, my transcription of Oswald's Eighteen Divertimento's for two Guitars or two Mandelins can be found at this link.

John Goodin, February, 2016


Devertimento I (original in C)
Devertimento II (original in C)
Devertimento III (original in C)
Devertimento IV (original in C)
Devertimento V (original in C)
Devertimento VI (original in C)
Devertimento VII (original in C)
Devertimento VIII (original in C)
Devertimento IX (original in C)
Devertimento X (original in C)
Devertimento XI (original in C)
Devertimento XII (original in C)


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Created on ... January 19, 2006 : Last updated on April 3, 2016