A-LIb 529, Fragment 17

[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, has made the Linz Fragments available online in high-resolution images. All links to the source including a preliminary inventory by Reinhard Strohm go to the homepage of this project. The image rights lie with Robert Klugseder who took the photos.]

De tous biens plaine

Reinhard Strohm’s preliminary inventory lists a “De tous biens plaine” version on Linz Fragment 17 (published on the website of the Musical Sources project). It turns out to be a hitherto unknown version and is—of course, and lamentably so—transmitted here only in a fragmentary state. The bassus is missing entirely and although the beginning of the altus line survives to some extent (in the form of cut-off note stems, which can—with some imagination—be tentatively transcribed) it ultimately does not provide a reliable reading and must remain educated guesswork. Thus, only a torso of cantus and tenor survives. The counterpoint of this core suggests that the missing voices were intended to supply the occasional vital structural notes. The setting is thus already removed one step from the late medieval hierarchy of voices functions:

“De tous biens plaine”, altus and bassus missing

Marc Lewon

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A-LIb 529, Fragment 16

[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, has made the Linz Fragments available online in high-resolution images. All links to the source including a preliminary inventory by Reinhard Strohm go to the homepage of this project. The image rights lie with Robert Klugseder who took the photos.]

Linz Fragments 16 & 17 contain yet another set of interesting pieces: Fragment 16 presents a yet unascribed, textless piece, which, again, remains a torso consisting of cantus, tenor, and a bit of altus. Fragment 17 on the other hand transmits a “De tous biens plaine” version which will be discussed in the following blog entry. The textless piece on Fragment 16 exhibits interesting features: A highly imitative counterpoint and a clear indication for a repetition of the A-part. The following transcription gives the surviving notation with those lacunas marked (*) which occurred due to the cropping of the page.

Marc Lewon

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A-LIb 529, Fragment 21

[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, has made the Linz Fragments available online in high-resolution images. All links to the source including a preliminary inventory by Reinhard Strohm go to the homepage of this project. The image rights lie with Robert Klugseder who took the photos.]

Ein tagweiß

Reinhard Strohm’s preliminary inventory features yet another very interesting title on Linz Fragment 21 (which constitutes the reverse side of the folio containing Fragment 20 with “stúckl”, see last entry): “Ein tagweiß”. The title sparks associations to the genre of “Tagelied” from the minnesang tradition. Even though the piece is transmitted textless here, it can be assumed that the tenor line, which apparently presents the cantus firmus, once was connected with a text containing typical Tagelied motifs (such as the approaching dawn, the call of the watchman, the farewell of secret lovers, etc.). Unfortunately, yet again the notation remains fragmentary: Only cantus and tenor present an almost complete duo, while the altus voice breaks off about two-thirds into the piece and the bassus is missing altogether. The surviving parts, however, give a good impression of what the composition was about: a great deal of imitation and an interesting rhythmical structure. (And it would not be difficult to add some very obvious imitations by the bassus voice.)

The following edition follows the original time signature of imperfectum diminutum, but presents a slightly misleading visual impression: The most obvious rhythmical structure, which becomes immediately noticeable when glancing at the original and which Reinhard Strohm described as a “strikingly repetitive, ‘modal’ rhythm”, is obscured in the modern edition. It seems to call for a performance in an imperfectum maior prolation, starting with an upbeat. Each time after a melodic motif has been imitated, however, the rhythmical structure changes into an even measure towards the ensuing cadence. Only the tenor line remains entirely in the “first rhythmic mode”, indicating that the melody of the original song was completely rhythmised in this fashion. Many monophonic melodies of the 15th century feature this kind of simple rhythmic structure, which I like to call “reference rhythm” (for more information on this rhythmic principle and its consequences, see: Marc Lewon: “Vom Tanz im Lied zum Tanzlied? Zur Frage nach dem musikalischen Rhythmus in den Liedern Neidharts“, in: Das mittelalterliche Tanzlied (1100-1300). Lieder zum Tanz – Tanz im Lied, ed. Dorothea Klein with Brigitte Burrichter and Andreas Haug, Würzburg 2012 (= Würzburger Beiträge zur deutschen Philologie, vol. 37), pp. 137-179, esp. pp. 169-176 and „Das Lochamer-Liederbuch in neuer Übertragung und mit ausführlichem Kommentar“, ed. Marc Lewon, 3 vols., Brensbach 2007-2010, vol. 2, p. 35, 37 and 46).

Four little lacunas, which occurred due to the cropping of the page and apparently led to the loss of only a small amount of notation, are marked with an asterisk.

"Ein tagweiß", missing notation left blank.

“Ein tagweiß”, missing notation left blank.

It is obvious that especially for this piece the use of mensuration lines is to be preferred in a transcription in order to give a better representation of the “hidden” rhythmical structure:

"Ein tagweiß", missing notation left blank, edition with mensuration lines

“Ein tagweiß”, missing notation left blank, edition with mensuration lines

PS: This fragment is now also posted on “Marc’s Milk Carton” as one of “Marc’s Most Wanted”: Check out the reconstruction of the monody behind this composition—maybe someone can recognise and identify the piece.

Marc Lewon

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A-LIb 529, Fragment 20

[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, has made the Linz Fragments available online in high-resolution images. All links to the source including a preliminary inventory by Reinhard Strohm go to the homepage of this project. The image rights lie with Robert Klugseder who took the photos.]

Reinhard Strohm’s inventory of the Linz Fragments also lists the curious title “stúckl” for an unascribed piece on Fragment 20 (a recto side, as has been shown before, forming an opening with its adjacent verso side, Fragment 15): Just below the ending of a contratenor bassus voice which belongs to the “J’ay pris amours” setting on Fragment 15 (see blog entry to Fragment 15, below) begins a new piece with this word written after the obligatory labelling of the “Discantus” voice. One is temped to interpret this as the German word “Stückel” or “Stückchen” for “little piece”, but it may well be an abbreviation of some sort or refer to something different entirely. The make-up of the composition is pretty similar to the piece on Fragment 10 (see last blog entry) and some phrases, though mostly idiomatic, are reminiscent of that piece. Again, we are confronted with a very fragmentary transmission: Only parts of cantus and tenor survive and the latter breaks off at some point. The contrapuntal layout suggests that the piece was originally composed with two more voices. The composition began with a motif of one of those—now missing—voices which was then imitated by the surviving parts, as the rests and the imitated motifs in cantus and tenor indicate. The extensive lacuna in the cantus voice occurs at the place where the page was cropped. It can only plausibly be explained if one assumes that it consisted mainly of “space efficient” rests, since not much of the paper seems to have been cut off. This interpretation is supported by the fact that a new motif is introduced at this point, which could have been imitated by the missing voice(s) before the cantus entered again. The length of the second lacuna cannot be verified reliably, since the tenor voice, as a point of reference, is missing there as well.

Marc Lewon

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A-LIb 529, Fragment 10

[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, has made the Linz Fragments available online in high-resolution images. All links to the source including a preliminary inventory by Reinhard Strohm go to the homepage of this project. The image rights lie with Robert Klugseder who took the photos.]

Ung grand povre home insanne (Antoine Busnoys)

The reverse side of Fragment 9—Fragment 10— is taken up by an almost complete set of cantus and tenor of the Busnoys chanson “Ung grand povre home insanne”. No incipit is given but the piece was identified by David Fallows in his Catalogue of Polyphonic Songs (p. 396). Parallel transmissions of the piece (for instance in the Pixérécourt manuscript) show that the Linz source must also once have featured a third voice. Another interesting detail of this transmission is a bit of seemingly “left-over” notation: The final longa of the cantus line is followed by a cut-off phrase of notation, which is very strongly reminiscent of the motif which opens the second part of the composition. Since this exact place in the cantus line features a number of mistakes, it appears that this addition was intended as a correction. The custos at the end of the additional bit of music links up nicely with the rest of the B-part. This attempt at a correction, however, is also missing notation. There seems to have been a bit of confusion with the sequential repetitions in this place.

“Ung grand povre homme insanne” by Antoine Busnoys on Linz Fragment 10. Missing or unreadable parts of the notation coloured in grey, emendations taken from chansonnier Pixérécourt, fol. 130v-131.

“Ung grand povre homme insanne” by Antoine Busnoys on Linz Fragment 10. Missing or unreadable parts of the notation coloured in grey, emendations taken from chansonnier Pixérécourt, fol. 130v-131.

Marc Lewon

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A-LIb 529, Fragment 9 (b)

[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, has made the Linz Fragments available online in high-resolution images. All links to the source including a preliminary inventory by Reinhard Strohm go to the homepage of this project. The image rights lie with Robert Klugseder who took the photos.]

J’ay pris amours

The second piece on Fragment 9 is a version of “J’ay pris amours” for which Reinhard Strohm had identified a concordance in a Trent manuscript (I-TRc, Ms. 1947-4, pp. 7-8). Only one line of music from the contratenor voice survives in the Linz Fragment, but an incipit and a key helps in piecing together the composition: The first phrase of the cantus line of “J’ay pris amours” is an unmistakable clue even if given without a key signature, and the canon “super illum tenorem” (“tenor” here referring to the contrapuntal core of cantus and tenor) leaves no doubt that the ensuing contratenor line was supposed to be added to the well-known cantus-tenor duo of the chanson “J’ay pris amours”. Thus most of the notation to this version is actually not missing since it was only implied to begin with. It seems likely that the cantus-tenor core of the chansons had been given in the choirbook at some point prior to this transmission. For the following edition cantus and tenor, which were presumed to be known, are given in small print while the missing parts of the contratenor line were filled in from the Trent version.

Marc Lewon

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A-LIb 529, Fragment 9 (a)

[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, has made the Linz Fragments available online in high-resolution images. All links to the source including a preliminary inventory by Reinhard Strohm go to the homepage of this project. The image rights lie with Robert Klugseder who took the photos.]

Marchez la dureau

In his preliminary inventory to the Linz Fragments from 1984 Reinhard Strohm had identified two pieces on Fragment 9: “Marchez la dureau” which can also be found in the Dijon Chansonnier (F-Dm 517 (formerly 295), fol. 168v-169) and a version of “J’ay pris amours” with a concordance in a Trent manuscript. The reverse side of this fragment—Fragment 10—contains yet another very interesting composition. Reason enough to have a closer look at this particular folio and to provide transcriptions here. About half of the notation of “Marchez la dureau” survives on Fragment 9. For once the bassus and altus voices are complete and instead the cantus and most of the tenor are missing—altogether at least three, maybe three and a half lines of music before the transmission of the fragment sets in. The missing parts (coloured grey) are filled in using the transmission of the Dijon Chansonnier.

“Marchez la dureau” – no surprises here, save a couple of mistakes

Marc Lewon

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