A-LIb 529, Fragment 43

[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.]

Le serviteur

Reinhard Strohm’s preliminary inventory informs of a Le serviteur setting on Linz Fragment 43. Cantus and tenor of this setting are taken verbatim from the well-known Dufay chanson, albeit in an augmented state which is indicated by a proportion sign. Only the contratenor is new to this setting. Since the surviving three voice counterpoint does not require a supporting contratenor bassus it may well be that this actually is intended as a three voice setting. Apart from the mix-up in the labelling of tenor and contratenor, the fact that the altus voice is ultimately referred to as “contratenor” rather than “altus” could also point to a three voice setting without a bassus. I have not yet come across this version elsewhere, but it might already be known by a concordance.

"Le serviteur" on Linz Fragment 43 - cantus and tenor augmented with a new, fragmentary contratenor voice    "Le serviteur" on Linz Fragment 43 - cantus and tenor augmented with a new, fragmentary contratenor voice

“Le serviteur” on Linz Fragment 43 – cantus and tenor augmented with a new, fragmentary contratenor voice

Marc Lewon

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A-LIb 529, Fragment 39

[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.]

Christ ist erstanden

After having identified a “Christ ist erstanden” on Fragment 40 inspired by Strohm’s identification of the same cantus firmus on Fragment 39, I turned to the latter fragment to see how this version relates to the former. It turned out that I was not able to find any trace of “Christ ist erstanden” on Fragment 39 so that I strongly suspect some sort of mix-up here. It looks like I “re-found” Strohm’s identification from 1984, now on Fragment 40.

The textless piece on Fragment 39, however, still is an interesting composition with a tenor line which is generated by transposing the cantus down an octave and having it enter with a delay. The canon (“Tenor fugat per Sex tempora In diapason”) seems to imply that the tenor starts six breve units (1 tempus = 1 breve unit) after the cantus line, but when arranging the edition I found that an off-set by three breve units does the trick. I therefore assume that “tempus” refers to a beat (tactus) which apparently and unexpectedly had been lowered from the brevis to the semibrevis level in imperfectum diminutum by the writer of this source. I employed small print for the generated tenor line and omitted the ligature brackets, which are given in the (generating) cantus voice.

The transmission has a number of “Terzverschreibungen” which I hope to have identified correctly and which are all marked in the following edition.

Linz Fragment 39 - the tenor line is generated by the cantus line via a canon

Linz Fragment 39 – the tenor line is generated via the cantus line by a canon

Marc Lewon

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A-LIb 529, Fragment 40

[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.]

Christ ist erstanden(?)

Linz Fragment 40 is listed in the preliminary inventory among one of those pages, which contains yet unidentified, textless chansons. The following edition shows that the corrections that were added in the tenor line by the scribe are essential for the functioning of the composition—the places are marked here with asterisks. It is clear from the counterpoint that the composition was meant to be a four voice setting, the bassus having been cut off by the cropping of the page.

While I was editing and arranging the fragmented parts into a score the surviving counterpoint seemed very familiar and reminded me of a well-known melody. The final hint came with Reinhard Strohm’s identification of a “Christ ist erstanden” version on the other side of the same folio (Linz Fragment 39): It turns out that the surviving voices of the composition on Fragment 40 would (with some slight adjustments) support a slow-moving “Christ ist erstanden” melody in the top line. Such a cantus firmus would also link up nicely with the surviving parts of this voice. Since I could not find “Christ ist erstanden” on Fragment 39, I strongly suspect that Strohm’s identification of the piece from 1984 refers to what is now Fragment 40 with the c.f. in the cantus.

Fragment 40 - surviving notation (possibly a "Christ ist erstanden" version, c.f. in the cantus)

Fragment 40—surviving notation (possibly a “Christ ist erstanden” version with the c.f. in the cantus)

Marc Lewon

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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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