A-Wn Mus.Hs. 1953.B, fol. 1b

[In the course of the cataloguing project Musikalische Quellen (9.–15. Jahrhundert) in der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek (Musical Sources (9th-15th Century) in the Austrian National Library), conducted by Alexander Rausch and Robert Klugseder at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Klugseder has discovered a startling number of previously unknown fragments at the Austrian National library and made these “Vienna Fragments” available online in high-resolution images. All links to the source and the catalogue entries go to the homepage of this project. The image rights lie with Robert Klugseder who took the photos.]

Soyt tart tempre

The “verso” side of fragment A-Wn Mus.Hs. 1953.B (fol. 1b), largely marred by the remaining glue from its use in a binding, features the well-known song “Soyt tart tempre” in an untexted version. Above the notation of the chanson the word “Viroletum” indicates the form: It is in fact a “virelai”. Only the incipit is written under the beginning of the cantus line. As Jason Stoessel has already pointed out, the contratenor line is unique to this source: the three-voice Modena (Modena, Biblioteca Estense e Universitaria a.M.5.24 (Latino 568; olim IV.D.5), fol. 28v-29) and the four-voice Reina versions (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds nouv. acq. francais 6771 (Reina Codex), fol. 63v) each feature different contratenors (transcribed in PMFC XXI, p. 141-143), the Prague (Praha, Státní Knihovna CSSR – Universitní Knihovna XI E 9, fol. 250) and Vorau versions (Vorau, Bibliothek des Augustiner Chorherrenstifts 380, fol. 87v) are two-voiced, and the Strasbourg transmission is—apart from a cantus incipit—unfortunately lost (Strasbourg, Bibliothèque Municipale (olim Bibliothèque de la Ville) 222 C. 22, fol. 87v), so we cannot check. Stoessel remarked that another version of the chanson was identified by Michael Scott Cuthbert and John Nádas in Florence, San Lorenzo, ms. 2211, fos. 15v/16r [originally xxv/xxvi], which would be very exciting to compare.

Luckily the condition of the fragment is still good enough to make a complete transcription possible, especially since the excellent photography provided by the Musical Sources project allows for high-resolution zooming. Unidentifiable but necessary notes are coloured grey. I wonder if the interesting contratenor/cantus b/c dissonance in bar 20 of my edition would hold up to scrutiny or if it should be corrected:

Soyt tart tempre (edition with conservative ficta suggestions – more is always possible)

Marc Lewon

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