Accords nouveaux

François-Pierre Goy & Andreas Schlegel

Settings of Horace by Tritonius, and lute intabulations

In November 2009, during the conference Kultur- und Kommunikationshistorischer Wandel des populären Liedes im 16. Jahrhundert (Changes in the cultural history and history of communication of popular song in the sixteenth century) at the Deutsches Volksliedarchiv in Freiburg/Breisgau, a question discussed was the way four-part Tenorlied compositions related to other forms of transmission of the music. Was the four-part setting understood by people as the standard, and must two- or three-part settings be seen as being “incomplete”?

There are three-part pieces in the lute’s repertoire, which are intabulations of four-part compositions with the Altus part left out. Two-part pieces (often transposed) normally comprise the Tenor and Bass.

A constituting element of Tritonius’s settings of Horace odes, which were intabulated by Judenkünig and others, is homorhythm. If this were the essential element of the music, then the intabulations should reflect this by keeping the homophony of all parts and the correct metric pattern in which they move, but this is not the case. In the intabulations most often the Tenor and Bass move in different rhythms than in the models intabulated, but there are even pieces where no part is left untouched by changes in its rhythm. This shows that even in the case of the Horatian odes, where meter is thought to absolutely determine musical rhythm, different phenotypes existed side by side, with some of them deviating from the ‘prescribed’ rhythms. Would the models composed by Tritonius have been taken as the single acceptable form of the music, the intabulations had to be seen as corrupt transmissions, but obviously this was not the case.

The intabulations of Horation odes thus show that several different versions of a Tenor based song circulated simultaneously, and that the four-part settings known through the printed songbooks were not the only points of reference for the contemporary recipient.

An edition of the music can be found here.

This is a link for the digitalization of the Tritonius print held by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich.

This links leads to the digitalization of Judenkünig’s Utilis et compendiaria introductio (again the copy of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Munich).