Session 10 (Free Papers): Plainchant in the 16th century

Tuesday, 6 July 2021, 9.00-10.30, Room 209 | Chair: David Burn (KU Leuven)

Inside and behind a printed antiphonary: Notation, editorial revision, marketing strategy | David Merlin (University of Vienna)

This paper presents results from my research project on a book titled Antiphonarius, printed in 1519 in Vienna (Austria) by Johannes Winterburger. The colophon provides two essential pieces of information: Winterburger himself covered the costs for the printing, and this book has been castigatus. Moreover, one of the two known exemplars includes a supplementary word on the title page: Pataviensis. From these elements we can deduce that: a) the Antiphonarius was submitted for supervision (or even revision); b) it was prepared to be sold; and c) Winterburger marketed this book in more than one Diocese—firstly Passau, but there is evidence for Vienna and Salzburg too—which makes it the only “polydiocesan” Antiphonary in the history of music printing. The notation will be compared with printed and manuscript antiphonaries of the late Middle Ages from Austria, Bohemia, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland and examined with special attention paid to its typographic aspects (types, combinations, special forms). In addition, I will show that the number of accidentals in the Antiphonarius is higher than that of all sources of comparison, which can in part be explained as deliberate additions made during the printing process. This reflects the striving for textual correctness associated with humanism, but also makes the book more user friendly and improved its chances on the market. Some aspects of notation are thus integral to the editorial revision and marketing strategy.

The Tsgrooten Antiphoner: Revision and reform of the later Premonstratensian office | Henry Thomas Drummond (KU Leuven) & Nicholas W. Bleisch (KU Leuven)

The Tsgrooten Antiphoner (B-Gu, Hs BKT.6) is an exquisite chantbook copied in 1522 by Franciscus van Weert. Commissioned by Antonius Tsgrooten during his tenure as abbot of Tongerlo abbey (1504–1530), the manuscript serves as an ornate exemplar of Premonstratensian chant repertory alongside its two sister volumes, GB- Lbl, MSS 15426–7. Recent scholarship has covered the liturgical role of B-Gu, Hs BKT.6’s chant melodies and texts, considering relationships between hymn settings (Long, 2011), and the development of office chants significant to the congregation (Mannaerts, 2009, 2011). However, thanks to the high-resolution images that the Ghent University library has recently made available, we are now able to reconstruct B-Gu, Hs BKT.6’s chants in significantly greater detail. In this paper we consider several elaborate chant melodies which, due to their erasure in the manuscript, have not previously been examined in their entirety. We examine vestiges of ink from older notation and text in two offices—Corpus Christi and the Inventio Crucis— where erasure marks remain partially visible, and ligature shapes and pitch height are undetermined. We corroborate these sixteenth-century chant melodies with earlier Praemonstratensian sources conserved in Belgian and German libraries. Through this analysis we can identify an agenda of chant revision in the manuscript that corresponds to the revisionist endeavours of seventeenth-century chant reformers, undoing what were perceived to be musical abuses and excesses. Our project thereby demonstrates the delicate balance between variety and creativity, which was ultimately modified by the establishment of a uniform liturgy at the end of the seventeenth century.

Singing bishops: The authority of Swedish bishops and consistorium members in singing practice at solemn occasions c.1480-c.1570 | Mattias Lundberg (Uppsala University)

Singing and liturgical practice in the seven dioceses of medieval Sweden continued in most respects throughout the sixteenth-century, in spite of some periods of political upheaval and a slow, gradual shift towards use of vernacular and an urge to make practice uniform throughout all dioceses in the Kingdom. A peculiar aspect of diocese singing practice not thoroughly addressed before is the role of bishops in officiating Mass, Office and Church Rites at particularly solemn civil occasions. A number of such instances from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries shed important light on the perceived solemnity and authority of the bishops as those either taking on prefaces, collects and Gospel cantillations, intoning introits and vernacular chorales or even leading the schola of singers. A number of such occasions have been particularly well documented through chronicles, eye witness reports and letters, from the late fifteenth century onwards. Perhaps most notable are the role of the bishops at the burial rites of King Gustav I in 1560 and the coronation of Erik XIV in 1561. In this paper we will propose that both episcopal authority and diocese particularism was (and was perceived to be) signalled through the act of liturgical singing.