Marc’s Milk Carton: Who recognises the “tagweiß”?

The first item on Marc’s Milk Carton is Linz Fragment 21 (photographed by Robert Klugseder for the cataloguing project Musikalische Quellen (9.-15. Jahrhundert) in der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek (Musical Sources (9th-15th Century) in the Austrian National Library). The piece features the incipt “Ein tagweiß” under the discantus voice and “tag weiß” under the tenor line. It was already presented and transcribed in an earlier post on the “Musikleben” blogsite.

Marc's Milk Carton

“Ein tagweiß”

This points to the minnesang genre of the “tagelied” in which the secret lovers have to part at dawn (after a night which they had spent together) in order to avoid detection by other courtiers and backbiters. The version in the Linz fragments is untexted and used to feature four voices. When comparing the surviving voices, however, it becomes obvious that the setting is a polyphonic embellishment of an originally monophonic song. The melody of this song was placed in the tenor line and functions a sort of cantus firmus, much like the polyphonic settings of the possible Oswald monody “Heýa ho nún wie si grollen”, one of which also survives on Linz Fragment 2.

The most striking feature of this setting is the alternating rhythmic pattern of semibreve-minim-semibreve-minim, etc. which is omnipresent in the composition and most prominent in the tenor line. This kind of rhythmic structures seems to be closely connected to the monophonic, syllabic German song repertoire of the late Middle Ages. I like to call it “reference rhythm”, because it appears to depict metrical structures rather than “prescribing” a strict or even “dance-like” rhythm (for more information about the concept of the “reference rhythm” and for a discussion of the fragment including a transcription see the post “Ein tagweiß” on the “Musikleben” blogsite).

My question is: Does anyone recognise either the polyphonic setting of “Ein tagweiß” or—what seems even more likely to me—its tenor line as monophonic song, possibly entirely without a musical rhythm or rhythmised in this fashion?

Ein tagweiß (attempted reconstruction of the rhythmicised monody)

Ein tagweiß (attempted reconstruction of the rhythmised monody)

Marc Lewon

One thought on “Marc’s Milk Carton: Who recognises the “tagweiß”?

  1. Pingback: A-LIb 529, Fragment 21 | Musikleben—Supplement

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