Stephan Craus’ Lutebook: A Humanist Ode

Musical settings of odes were all the rage in humanist circles around 1500 and can consequently be found in lute sources of the early 16th century. Therefore, it might not be surprising to find such a setting in Stephan Craus’ Lutebook (A-Wn 18688, fol. 90v (35v)), especially since the printed lute tutors by Hans Judenkünig (A-Wn 47356; Vienna, 1523), which were once bound to Craus’ Lutebook, also contain intabulations of ode settings by Petrus Tritonius. However, the Craus ode could not yet be connected to any concordance by Tritonius/Judenkünig, Senfl, Hofhaimer or Lossius.[1] The other unusual thing about the setting in Craus’ source is, that it is not given in tablature notation but as a later addition on the last page of the book and in mensural notation. The three voices on that page (fol. 90v (35v)) are lacking text, title and clefs, but seem to belong together since they share the same rhythm:

A-Wn 18688, fol. 90v (35v)—unknown ode compositions

A-Wn 18688, fol. 90v (35v)—unknown ode compositions

When trying to put these voices in a contrapuntal relationship it turns out that the lower two lines can be provided with sensible clefs (c1 and f4) resulting in a two-voice counterpoint, probably coming from an originally four-voice setting. The separate line above, however, cannot be fitted into this counterpoint. Therefore, I assume that it belonged to a different setting with that same rhythmic structure, made up of one asclepiadeus minor framed by two glyconic verses[1]:

– – | – ⏑ ⏑ | – ⏓
– – | – ⏑ ⏑ | – || – ⏑ ⏑ | – ⏑ | ⏓
– – | – ⏑ ⏑ | – ⏓

Maybe my attempt at a transcription of these two odes will ring a bell with someone so that a concordance can be connected to this transmission (this could be a case for Marc’s Milk Carton):

A-Wn 18688, fol. 90v (35v)—attempt at a transcription.

A-Wn 18688, fol. 90v (35v)—attempt at a transcription.

  Marc Lewon

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.



[1] I would like to thank Grantley McDonald for his assessment of the composition, the comparison with a corpus of possible concordances and the identification of the Greek verse metres involved (private communication).