The F Numbers

Because Frescobaldi’s compositions have never been given unique identification numbers, we have assigned a number to each work listed in the FTCO in the following format:

F 1.02

The first number corresponds to the volume of the OC that contains the work and the second number to its order of appearance within the volume (which exceptions to be noted below).

When a composition consists of several major parts, movements, or variations, the parts may be distinguished by a third number:

F 1.02.03

Here the third number represents the movement or variation. In such a case F 1.02.03 represents an individual part, and F 1.02 the entire work.

When a work survives in several significantly different versions, the versions may be distinguished by a lower-case letter:

F 1.02a

The special status of certain works in the FTCO are indicated by a capital letter appended to the end of its F number, as in

F 19.12H

H ("homage”) signifies that the composition was not composed by Frescobaldi, but is based on, or borrows from, a work by Frescobaldi.
L signifies that the composition is lost, although its one-time existence is inferred from early documents.
S (spurious) signifies that the attribution to Frescobaldi is erroneous; in most such cases the actual composer is known.
The various extensions can be combined, e.g., F 1.01.01aH.


For Vol. 8 of the OC, the number after the first period does not generally correspond to the order number in the edition. This volume (actually divided into two physically distinct volumes) presents the content of three publications of Frescobaldi’s ensemble canzonas: Canzoni (Masotti, 1628), Canzoni (Robletti, 1628) and Canzoni (1635). The contents of these publications are related, but not identical, and the relationships are complicated. A canzona may appear in just one, two, or all three publications, and the versions may be identical, slightly different, or radically different. Their order also differs in each of the publications. The organization in Vol. 8 of the OC is somewhat unsystematic: Vol. 8, Part 1 follows the order of Canzoni (Masotti, 1628), but with unique pieces of Canzoni (Robletti, 1628) interspersed, and Vol. 8, Part 2 contains the pieces from Canzoni (1635) that either are unique or present versions significantly different from those in the 1628 publications. Following the order number of the OC volumes would result in pieces that are related or that have the same instrumentation ending up far apart in the numerical succession. Instead the following ordering has been imposed in the FTCO:
  • The pieces are ordered according to their instrumentation, from fewer to more instruments, and from high to low.
  • Related pieces are given identical numbers but the versions are distinguished by the extensions a for Canzoni (Masotti, 1628), b for Canzoni (Robletti, 1628), and c for Canzoni (1635). The appended letters are assigned consistently, regardless of whether there are one, two, or three versions. In other words, the existence of F 8.03b does not imply the existence of 8.03a, because there is no work in Canzoni (Masotti, 1628) related to that composition.

When a work is not included in the volumes of the OC published thus far (Vols. 1 to 10 and Vol. 12), a number has been assigned corresponding to a hypothetical volume and its content. A list is appended below of both the actual and hypothetical volumes defined by the F numbers.

The F numbers will never be changed (except possibly for the appended capital letters, if new information comes to light), and hence they can be used to identify a work uniquely on concert programs, recordings, new editions, etc.


F 1 OC 1: Due messe a otto voci e basso continuo (MS)
F 2 OC 2: Il primo libro di toccate d'intavolatura (1615-1637)
F 3 OC 3: Il secondo libro di toccate d'intavolatura (1627-1637)
F 4 OC 4: Il primo libro di capricci (1624-1626)
F 5 OC 5: Il primo libro delle fantasie (1608)
F 6 OC 6: l primo libro dei madrigali (1607)
F 7 OC 7: Arie Musicali (1630) and arie in printed anthologies
F 8 OC 8: l primo libro delle canzoni (1628-1635) and canzoni in a printed anthology (1608)
F 9 OC 9: Recercari et canzoni franzese (1615-1642)
F 10 OC 10: Canzoni Alla Francese (1645)
F 11 OC 11: Liber II diversarum modulationum (1627) and motets in printed anthologies
F 12 OC 12: Fiori Musicali (1635)
F 13   Compositions in manuscripts entered in Frescobaldi's hand
F 14   Compositions entered in the hands of Frescobaldi's assistants (Borbone and Castellani)
F 15   Compositions in early manuscripts (probably or possibly by Frescobaldi)
F 16-17   Compositions in later manuscripts (most of doubtful authenticity)
F 18(S)   Spurious or misattributed compositions
F 19(H)   Compositions by others based on works by Frescobaldi
F 20(L)   Lost compositions