A-LIb 529, Fragment 2

[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.]

Heýa ho nún wie si grollen

In his article “Die vierstimmige Bearbeitung (um 1465) eines unbekannten Liedes von Oswald von Wolkenstein”, in: Jahrbuch der Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft 4 (1986/87), pp. 163-174 Reinhard Strohm had already plausibly ascribed the cantus firmus of the four voice setting “Heýa, heýa nu wie si grollen” to Oswald von Wolkenstein. The polyphonic setting, attributed to Nicolaus Krombsdorfer, can be found in Trent89 (I-TRmn 89, fol. 388v-389r), in the Braccesi-Chansonnier (I-Fn Banco Rari 229 (formerly Magl.XIX 59), no. 166) and in a fragmentary state on Linz Fragment 2 (A-LIb 529, Fragment 2). The Linz version of the setting differs only in slight details and unlike the version in Trent does not provide a text underlay.

Contrary to what a first impression might suggest, the transmission in Linz is nearly complete. Admittedly, the bassus breaks off at some point and a large part of the remaining bassus notation is only partly legible due to the trimming of the page, but by using the parallel transmission one can get a fairly safe reading of almost the entire music. Only about half a line of the bassus voice turns out to be missing. Since the composition is of importance to our Musical Life project and since it shares a folio with the interesting “J’ay pris amours” setting on Fragment 1 which was identified earlier in this blog I would like to give a transcription here. The missing parts of the notation are yet again coloured grey.

The anonymous “Heýa ho nún wie si grollen” with a c.f. by Oswald von Wolkenstein, missing notation (coloured grey) taken from I-TR 89, fol. 388v-389r

Marc Lewon

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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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A-LIb 529, Fragment 1

J’ay pris amours

Only recently a 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, went online with yet another interesting corpus of Austrian musical fragments. 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.

The “Linz Fragments” (Linz, Oberösterreichische Landesbibliothek, Hs. 529) consist of 26 fragmentary folios taken from a former choirbook with polyphonic music written c1500. The original codex was probably connected to the Kaiser Maximilian’s “Hofkapelle”, which dwelled in Linz on several occasions. Reinhard Strohm had presented a preliminary inventory of the fragments in his article Polyphony in late medieval Austria, in: Musica Disciplina 38 (1984), pp. 205-230. This list is also provided on the Musical Sources website. The fragments still harbour a number of not yet ascribed concordances as well as unique if fragmentary transmissions.

I was able to verify one such concordance for the “J’ay pris amours” setting on Fragment 1, which seems to feature an almost complete duo of cantus and tenor as well as part of a third voice. These two and a half voices turn out to belong to a four voice setting over the tenor line of “J’ay pris amours” which can also be found in the chansonnier Seville, Biblioteca Colombina, Ms. 5-I-43 on fol. 109v-110 (reconstructed foliation: fol. o11v-o12r) and in Petrucci’s Canti C on fol. 89v-90.

The voice which is labelled as “Tenor” indeed presents the tenor line of the original chanson but is actually used here as an altus voice and consequently needs to be transposed to meet its new function. This can be derived from the provided instructions, which read:

Canon: Conficiens saltum sume diatessaron altum

I would like to thank Luca Ricossa for his help in deciphering the canon and for pointing out an underlying hexameter:

Con-  fi-ci- | ens sal- // tum su- | me di-a- | tes- sa-ron | al- tum

— . . | — — | —  //  — | — . . | — . . | — —

It translates roughly as: “By making the jump take it up by a fourth.” This same canon can be found in the concordant transmission of the Seville Chansonnier (there, slighty different: “Conficiens saltum sumas dyathessaron altum”). Canti C resolves the issue and gives this line already transposed up by a fourth, but still labels it “Tenor”. Admittedly, the line is melodically identical to the original chanson tenor and provides most of the tenor cadences for the polyphonic setting at hand. For most of the time, however, it contrapuntally works as a filling voice and as a cantus firmus. The tenor function for the final cadence is taken over by one of the contratenor voices. This is of course due to the fact that the whole setting stands in g-dorian while the “Tenor” voice is transposed to d, a fifth above the finalis. Thus the label “Tenor” was probably taken over to point to its original function as well as to its role as the c.f. voice. It might also be interesting to note that none of the voices in this setting fulfil a tenor function, but switch the supporting role.

In the following transcription the surviving fragments of the composition from the Linz Fragment are provided in black notation, while the missing parts are coloured grey, which are taken from the Seville Chansonnier and Canti C (whichever source was contrapuntally more satisfying in each case). Differences between the transmissions are marked.

Linz Fragment 1: “J’ay pris amours”, surviving parts black, reconstruction (Seville Chansonnier and Canti C) coloured grey.

Marc Lewon

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A-Wn Cod 3917

[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.]

Or sus vous dormez trop

When having a closer look at the bleed-through notation on the already mentioned fragment A-Wn Cod 3917 the typical sequences of “Or sus vous dormez trop” become obvious very quickly. Jason Stoessel had already pointed out this new find in his blog. Since the notation appears back-to-front when looking at the original, the Musical Sources project has helpfully provided a mirrored image to facilitate reading the notation.

By applying some contrasting techniques I was able to identify and transcribe almost the entire notation on the other side of this fragment, which is still glued to the inside of a binding at the back of codex 3917.

A-Wn Cod 3917 (back inside bleed through – “Or sus vous dormez trop”) – high contrast – (underlying photo ©Robert Klugseder, with kind permission of the ÖNB)

The codex itself comes from the Dombibliothek of Salzburg and contains sermons by Johannes Kortz, called “Hermannus contractus”, whose name was also written on the front side of the fragment. Should this paper leaf at some point be removed from the binding, the notation as well as the text will most likely be easily readable. As a bleed-through most of the notation can be identified, though the exact reading of the text remains unclear. The incipit, however, can be deciphered as “Or sus”, thus suggesting that the version on this fragment most likely is not a contrafact. Furthermore, the B-part of the composition features a double text underlay, which confirms the find and supports the virelai-form for this transmission.

A-Wn Cod 3917 (back inside bleed through – Or sus vous dormez trop) – reconstruction with comments – some of the readings remain educated guesses based on the knowledge of the piece from concordant sources – (underlying photo ©Robert Klugseder, with kind permission of the ÖNB)

The fragment contains the entire cantus line of “Or sus vous dormez trop” and the tenor for the entire A-part. While the cantus features a number of variations when compared with the PMFC edition (PMFC XXI, p. 112-116), the tenor is almost identical.

“Or sus vous dormez trop” – edition: unreadable notes coloured grey, missing notation in small print – the edition is still partly hypothetical, because the staff lines of the original are not visible and some of the notation is very difficult to discern.

The front side of the leaf also contains staves for musical notation, which, however, do not match the location of the stave lines on the back side. Even though the staves on the back cannot be seen in the bleed-through the location of the musical notation proves that the lines do not match with the layout on the front page. No rastrum was used on the front side: The differing length and varying distances of the lines show that they were drawn individually with a ruler. Furthermore, the front side features sketchy scribal notes and various samples of probatio pennae, which contain interesting clues about the provenance and dating of the fragment at hand.

A-Wn Cod 3917 - scribles top - klein

A-Wn Cod 3917 – scribbles at the top of the page, front side – (underlying photo ©Robert Klugseder, with kind permission of the ÖNB)

Some of the scribbles go beyond the edge of the fragment and extend onto the leather binding – a hint that they were added after the paper was (ab-)used for the binding. Others use little German phrases and the name of duke Albrecht of Austria (either Albrecht V, duke of Austria between 1404 and 1439 or Albrecht VI, duke of Austria between 1446 and 1463) suggesting that the original manuscript was already scrapped for re-use in Austria in the mid-15th century, clearly placing the music of the fragment into the Austrian region while it was still in fashion.

Since the fragment is so promising and rich in content, it would be highly advisable to detach it from the binding of the host codex, so that it can be properly studied and transcribed. It seems to offer a slightly new reading of the cantus line and may provide further valuable information via its lyrics. We therefore have chosen to suggest this course of action to the Austrian National Library.

Marc Lewon

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PS: Since the publication of this post we were able to obtain a new UV-photograph of the fragment resulting in a new transcription and discussion of this source.