Dotted Rhythms and all the Rests

[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. For more information on the source see the introductory entry to this blog series.]

Even though the organ tablatures of the time customarily feature dotted rhythms on all mensural levels, the Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature does not seem to use them. When having a closer look, however (see the blog entries to the individual intabulations: WolfT 1, WolfT 2, WolfT 3, WolfT 4, WolfT 5), dotted rhythms do occur. Continue reading

Open Heads and Chromatics

[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. For more information on the source see the introductory entry to this blog series.]

One of the eye-catching features of the Wolfenbüttel Tablature is the striking shape of the note heads, which appears in a very similar fashion in the Kassel Collum Lutine. The note heads seem to only consist of two almost parallel lines—one of which will also constitute the stem when applicable—, thus leaving the top and bottom of the head open. Continue reading

An Assessment of the Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature

[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.]

In his article presenting the Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature Staehelin showed that this fragmentary source is currently the only notated example of a tablature system, which was already known in theory since Christian Meyer presented the Kassel Collum Lutine in 1994.[2] In a joint publication with Crawford Young in 2003 Martin Kirnbauer[3] gave a full reproduction and thorough analysis of this Collum Lutine, which explains the tablature system but does not give any practical example. The Wolfenbüttel Tablature exemplifies a lot of features presented in the Collum Lutine but which up to then could only be deduced to a certain degree from the description, while it clearly differs in other respects. Continue reading

WolfT 5: “Ellende du hest vmb vanghen mich”

[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.]

Alongside a complete version of “Ich fare do hyn wen eß muß syn”, fol. Bv of the Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature also features the beginning of another arrangement: “Ellende du hest vmb vanghen mich”. The title to this piece is very well-known and Fallows’ “Catalogue” lists a fair number of concordances, most of which are instrumental arrangements in the Buxheimer Orgelbuch and in the instrumental part of the Lochamer-Liederbuch.[2] Continue reading

WolfT 4 – “Ich fare do hyn wen eß muß syn”

[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 second piece of the Wolfenbüttel Lute Tablature to survive complete is the simple setting of the secular song “Ich fare do hin wen eß muß syn”, which must have been widely known, since it is quoted several times in different sources and inspired a number of contrafacts.[2] The only other complete musical source of this piece is in the Lochamer-Liederbuch (Loch 8; D-Bsb Mus. ms. 40613, p. 9), however, it is monophonic and presents a number of questions concerning its rhythm and—more significantly—its modality. This new concordance helps to answer those questions. Continue reading

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