A-LIb 529, Fragment 15 & 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.]

J’ay pris amours

Linz Fragment 15 features another setting of “J’ay pris amours”, which seems to be a unique transmission of this version. Although the contratenor bassus appears to be lost entirely and only the beginning of the altus survives, it is at least possible to retrieve an almost complete reading of cantus and tenor from the fragment. However, after browsing all the surviving Linz Fragments I was able to connect an un-labelled contratenor bassus ending from Fragment 20 to this setting: It matches exactly to the ending of the cantus and tenor pair from Fragment 15. This observation suggests that Fragment 15 was part of a verso side and Fragment 20 part of the recto side facing it. Consequently, the other sides of these two fragments can also be attributed to their original positions in the manuscript: Fragment 14 must have been a former recto side and Fragment 21 a former verso side. The original opening of Fragment 15 and 20 as facing pages would have featured Fragment 15 on the left hand side with Discantus, Tenor, Altus and the beginning of the Bassus of “J’ay pris amours”, and on the right hand side Fragment 20 with the ending of the Bassus voice and the beginning of a new piece: Discantus and Tenor of “stuckl”. The amount of space taken up by the ornamented cantus voice (almost three lines of music) is a rough indicator for how many lines of music are now missing between the broken-off altus at the bottom of what is now Fragment 15 and the ending of the bassus on the top of Fragment 20. Assuming, that both fragments were taken pretty much from the top of their respective folios the following hypothetical reconstruction of the original layout emerges:

Original opening of Fragment 15 and 20 as facing pages: on the left Fragment 15 with Discantus, Tenor, Altus and the beginning of the Bassus of "J'ay pris amours", on the right Fragment 20 with the ending of the Bassus voice and the beginning of a new piece: Discantus and Tenor of "stuckl".

Original opening of Fragment 15 and 20 as facing pages: on the left Fragment 15 with Discantus, Tenor, Altus and the beginning of the Bassus of “J’ay pris amours”, on the right Fragment 20 with the ending of the Bassus voice and the beginning of a new piece: Discantus and Tenor of “stuckl”. (photo ©Robert Klugseder)

Not only can two fragments which—apart from the fact that they belonged to the same source—were up to now unrelated be put into a close relationship, this finding also supports the idea of the original source to have been a bound choirbook rather than a collection of loose leafs. The following transcription presents the notation which could be derived from the fragments, leaving spaces where the music remains missing.

Anonymous “J’ay pris amours” – surviving notation put into score, missing parts left blank

Marc Lewon

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