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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