WolfT 3: “Gruß senen Ich im hertzen traghe”

[The Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature is arguably the earliest extant source for lute music in Western Europe and, even though it survives merely as a fragment, the only known specimen of the tablature system described in the Kassel Collum Lutine. In his article “Norddeutsche Fragmente mit Lautenmusik um 1460 in Wolfenbüttel” from 2011 Martin Staehelin presented this tablature and concluded that it was intended for the lute.[1] The fragment, which Staehelin dated to c1460, survived as a pastedown on a host codex from St. Cyriacus in Brunswick and is now at the Staatsarchiv Wolfenbüttel under the shelfmark cod. VII B Hs Nr. 264. For more information on the source see the introductory entry to this blog series.]

One of the two complete pieces in the Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature fills the entire recto side of fol. Br. Its incipit reads “Gruß senen Ich im hertzen traghe” and the music confirms that it is an arrangement of a song that survives anonymously in Schedels Liederbuch (D-Mbs cgm 810, see previous blog entry) on fol. 57v58r under the same incipit (“Groß senen ich im herczen trag”). Continue reading

WolfT 2: “Myn trud gheselle”

[The Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature is arguably the earliest extant source for lute music in Western Europe and, even though it survives merely as a fragment, the only known specimen of the tablature system described in the Kassel Collum Lutine. In his article “Norddeutsche Fragmente mit Lautenmusik um 1460 in Wolfenbüttel” from 2011 Martin Staehelin presented this tablature and concluded that it was intended for the lute.[1] The fragment, which Staehelin dated to c1460, survived as a pastedown on a host codex from St. Cyriacus in Brunswick and is now at the Staatsarchiv Wolfenbüttel under the shelfmark cod. VII B Hs Nr. 264. For more information on the source see the introductory entry to this blog series.]

A note from Johannes Schedelbrother to the famous Hartmann Schedel, whose personal song book survives to this day and who later in his life authored a widely-distributed and comprehensive “Chronicle of the World”informs us that he had learned to play the song “Mein traut geselle” on the harp on the 18th or 19th of November 1463.[2] This fact nicely places an arrangement (for an instrument other than the organ) in exactly the same period that Staehelin dates the Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature, which contains a version of that very song on fol. Av. Continue reading

WolfT 1: “Cum lacrimis”

[The Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature is arguably the earliest extant source for lute music in Western Europe and, even though it survives merely as a fragment, the only known specimen of the tablature system described in the Kassel Collum Lutine. In his article “Norddeutsche Fragmente mit Lautenmusik um 1460 in Wolfenbüttel” from 2011 Martin Staehelin presented this tablature and concluded that it was intended for the lute.[1] The fragment, which Staehelin dated to c1460, survived as a pastedown on a host codex from St. Cyriacus in Brunswick and is now at the Staatsarchiv Wolfenbüttel under the shelfmark cod. VII B Hs Nr. 264. For more information on the source see the introductory entry to this blog series.]

The fragment of the Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature on fol. Ar-v features the second half of a lute arrangement of Johannes Ciconia’s famous two-voice ballata “Con lagrime bagnandome nel viso” with a text by Leonardo Guistinian, here latinised to “Cum lacrimis”. The numerous concordances, according to David Fallows’ “Catalogue of Polyphonic Songs”,[2] also include four intabulations in the Buxheimer Orgelbuch [Bux 38, 137, 138, 139] and one in the Locham Song Book [Loch 73]. Apparently this Italian composition was quite popular in German speaking lands and as an instrumental arrangement no less, which is surprising since the contrapuntal effects appear to be idiomatic for vocal performance and do not seem to lend themselves easily to presentation on a solo instrument. Continue reading

The Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature

Incipit of "Ich fare do hyn wen eß muß syn"—Wolfenbüttel, Staatsarchiv VII B Hs. 264, fol. B' (reproduction with permission of the Staatsarchiv Wolfenbüttel)

Incipit of “Ich fare do hyn wen eß muß syn”—D-Wa cod. VII B Hs Nr. 264, fol. Bv (reproduction with kind permission of the Staatsarchiv Wolfenbüttel).

In 2012 I came across the article “Norddeutsche Fragmente mit Lautenmusik um 1460 in Wolfenbüttel” (“Northern German Fragments of Lute Music c.1460 in Wolfenbüttel”) by Martin Staehelin.[1] I was immediately taken by the presentation of previously unknown fragments of a tablature from the monastery of St. Cyriacus in Brunswick, which survived as pastedowns in the binding of its host codex now in the Wolfenbüttel Staatsarchiv under the call number VII B Hs. 264. This new find consists of two folios with five intabulations of polyphonic secular songs, three of which are fragmented. In his article Staehelin conclusively showed that the tablature was meant for the lute even though it looks quite unlike any other known lute tablature: He drew a connection from these fragments to the so-called “Kassel Collum Lutine” (or “Lautenkragen”, i.e. “lute neck”)—the latter of which describes a tablature notation for a five-course lute for which, however, no notated example was known up to Staehelin’s find. Continue reading