"La Folia" - barely any other style of harmony/melody exerted such fascination on earlier composers. Yet, Folia (Portuguese for "loud and lusty fun") is more than just a musical variation. Rather, it has its roots in dance styles such as the sarabande and chaconne. The earliest evidence of folia as a dance dates back to the 15th century and originated in Portugal. The first pieces of music of the same name can be found in an anonymous manuscript written in 1593.
Characteristic of La Folia is the harmonious I-V-I-VII-III/III-VII-I-V-I progression with an ascending and then descending melody line. Folia was very popular not only in Spain and Portugal but also in Italy (where it was known as "fedele") and France. On account of its Iberian roots, "Folia" is also known as "Folia d'Espagne".
The first folias were written for the five-string Spanish Guitar, which also gained great popularity outside Spain. This style of music blossomed in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is during this period that the famous folia variations arose, including those composed by Corelli, Marais and C. P. E. Bach. Similarly, folia-style compositions can be found in the classic Viennese period. Composers such as Fernando Sor and Mauro Giuliani in particular used the Folia style in their Guitar works. Examples during the romantic and modern periods include works by Manuel Maria Ponce and Sergei Rachmaninoff with his variations for Piano op.42 of a theme by Corelli.
In "Folia For A Gang", the Folia style has been transposed into a modern musical language. A Dorian mode is used. This is an old ecclesiastical mode, giving the music a fresh feeling. Even so, the links with tradition have been retained, with some passages deliberately echoing the baroque origins of this style. The links and ornamentation in "Folia For A Gang" should be used as a basis for your own ideas. Similarly, the finger numbers are designed as a guide and can be varied according to individual preferences.