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Quoting, Rethinking and Copying: A Few Remarks on the Tradition of the Monophonic Cantio in Central Europe

Quoting, Rethinking and Copying: A Few Remarks on the Tradition of the Monophonic Cantio in Central Europe
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  Quoting, Rethinking and Copying: AFew Remarks on the Tradition of the Monophonic Cantio in Central Europe Jan Ciglbauer The following text attempts to describe how the Central European cantio was created and transmittedduring the late Middle Ages. Analyzing the compositions Audi tellus  , Ave maris stella  and Sol nascitur de sidere  , which were passed on throughout along time period, we will try to demonstrate how threedistinctive principles – quoting, rethinking and copying – affected the tradition of particular themes,texts and melodies. We will be able to prove that aclear shift from rethinking and expanding to simplecopying and reshaping took place at the very end of the Middle Ages. Introduction The central European cantio sometimes seems awell-explored topic, its mostimportant questions already answered. At acloser look, it is evident that theopposite is true – especially when it comes to questions concerning the musicalform of most cantiones. These difficulties in classification are rooted in themanner in which these cantiones have been composed. An insight into theirgenesis is the main purpose of this study. Additionally, even today it is easy tofind sources that are unknown or that have not been investigated for decades.The better-known manuscripts often hide new evidence which may open furtherquestions as well. The tradition of cantio in Central Europe in the 14 th and 15 th centuries is rich, layered and various in terms of form, melody and liturgicalfunction. The scale of possible forms srcinates with brief  Benedicamus Domino tropes and ends with long sequence-like formations. Their melodic styles alsovary widely: from the simple syllabic style of the earliest  Benedicamus Domino tropes to the extravagances of the late lais. This brief study focuses on threeremarkable compositional approaches of late cantio in Central Europe: quoting,re-thinking and copying. Two exquisite examples of the Central European lai andtheir tradition provide us with an insight into the process of creating music in thelate Middle Ages. On the basis of these presented compositions, we can confirmthat quoting, rethinking and copying, albeit common principles of medievalcreation, can sometimes lead to very different results. Let us examine several latemedieval compositions with roots lying many decades back in time. Variouschants that share significant melodies or texts will be introduced in order todemonstrate differences in musical thinking between the 13 th century conductusand the Central European tradition of the 14 th and 15 th centuries. Quoting and rethinking:  Audi tellus Because of its long and complex tradition reaching back to the 11 th century, ourfirst example will be  Audi tellus . It represents adelicate approach typical for thehigh Middle Ages, which is an appropriate base for comparison with late medieval Quoting, Reithinking and Copying: A Few Remarks on the Tradition  21 © Etnologický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i., Praha 2014Hudební věda 51, č. 1–2  methods of composition.  Audi tellus, audi magni maris limbus is an incipitcommon to at least three compositions from different periods of medieval music.All three must be perceived as tropes to the responsory  Libera me Domine , aninherent part of funeral ceremonies; awhole group of tropes for  Libera me isscattered among central European manuscripts. Dreves documented two chantswith the incipit  Audi tellus . 1 The earliest known appearance of  Audi tellus is inmanuscript from Aniane. 2 This collection of St Paul’s epistles contains asinglepiece written down with aquitan notation. The trope recorded in this source hasastrophic structure. The melody is in D mode, and is simple and syllabic. 3 Eachstrophe begins with acontinuous letter of the alphabet, up to the letter z, whichmakes this trope comparatively voluminous. 250–300 years later, amonophonicconductus  Audi tellus appears in the Las Huelgas Codex. 4 The conductus is basedon an entirely different melody and contains the addition of “Audi pontus” to thevery beginning. Further in the text, some words have been appended or exchanged.Adetailed observation of the text of  Audi tellus discloses the undoubted affinityto  Libera me . 5 The attributes of the last day – dies amara – and the tremor of skiesand land are especially emphasized. Libera me, Domine Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna,in die illa tremenda.[…]Quando caeli movendi sunt et terra,Dies illa, dies irae calamitatis et miseriae,dies magna et amara valde[…] Audi tellus – F-MOv 6 /  Hu Audi pontus , audi tellus,audi magni maris limbus,audi homo, audi omne quod vivit sub sole.Veniet, prope est dies irae supremae,(Hu:  Prope est, veniat, ecce iam dies est  )  Dies illa  , dies invisa, dies amara,qua caelum fugiet, sol erubescetLuna mutabitur (Hu: fulgebitur  ),(F-MOv 6: dies nigrescet, Hu:  ø  )sidera super terra cadent.Heu, miseri, heu, miseri,Quid, homo, ineptam sequeris laetitiam? 22 Jan Ciglbauer  1  Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi, vol. XLIX, Tropi graduales, Tropen des Missale im Mittelalter  , eds. ClemensBlume, Guido Maria Dreves, Zweite Folge, Leipzig 1906, p.369 and p.378. 2 F-MOv 6, s.f., see list of manuscripts at the end of this study. 3 Facsimile and transcription: Paulin B LANC :  Prose de Montpellier. Chant du dernier jour, composé pour l’an Mille , Paris 1863. 4 Hu, fol. 167v; The Las Huelgas Manuscript  , ed. Gordon Athol Anderson, Neuhausen-Stuttgart 1982(CMM 79-2), vol. 2, p.115. 5  Liber Usualis missae et officii , Desclée &Socii, Paris – Tournai – Rome 1934, p.1767.  Quoting, Reithinking and Copying: A Few Remarks on the Tradition  23  At approximately the same time as the Spanish conductus emerged, anotherversion came into existence in Switzerland or Southern Germany. Probably theearliest records of the lai  Audi tellus can be found in CH-BM Cant 6 and in D-MbsClm 9552, both from the turn of the 13 th and 14 th centuries. 7 The melody of thisversion reveals its relation to  Libera me through its use of significant melodicformulas borrowed from that chant. But the text brings up something remarkable,pushing the mood in adifferent direction: While the responsory  Libera me wailsover the end of the world, borrowing images and quotations from the Apocalypse,the trope explores ameditation on the vanity of secular glory, demonstrated byachain of well-known names: historical personalities from Antiquity stand sideby side with figures from the Old Testament or Greek mythology. 8 The eternalglory of God mentioned at the very end forms the ultimate counterpoint totransiency. The lai seems to have been quite popular. Acomparatively frequentoccurrence among central European manuscripts bears witness to this fact. 9 Inmanuscripts containing this trope, the names can differ: ascribe would often addor take away names, according to his tastes and needs. 10 This is apractice we canobserve throughout the entire Middle Ages. Amidst newly-composed sections of music, there are always hints to or direct quotations of generally-known templates.Both the conductus  Audi pontus and the lai  Audi tellus from the turn of the13 th and 14 th centuries can be perceived as fine examples of that medieval creativitythat we can call “quoting” and “rethinking”. There are strong and carefully-placedlinks to apredecessor composition, which allows us to enjoy the new compositionas listeners – provided that we know the model – but there is an evolution of thesrcinal idea and the composition is being given acontemporary musical form. Bymoving the focus approximately acentury forward, we discover adifferent approach.In Bohemia and surrounding countries at the turn of the 14 th and 15 th centuries,the composition of extra-liturgical sacred music flourished vigorously. New pieceswere composed quickly and in great numbers. The compositional techniques arestill similar, yet copying becomes more and more important during this period. Quoting and copying –  Ave maris stella  Aconsiderable number of cantiones in Central Europe share asignificant feature:quite often asong begins with aquotation of aliturgical chant. After afew tonesor words when it is clear which chant is meant, the model is left and anew cantiocan begin to develop. In this stage, awell-known chant’s theme is freely drawn24 Jan Ciglbauer  6 Iwould like to thank to Mr. David Eben for bringing this source to my attention. 7 CH-BM Cant, fol. 70r; D-Mbs Clm 9552, fol. 1r. 8 E.g. “Ubi Plato, ubi Pompejius, ubi Porrus aut ubi Daryus? Ubi Cesar, ubi Vergilius, ubi Flaccus, ubiPorphyrius?” 9 According to Dreves,  Audi tellus (3) can be found in following manuscripts: CH-BM Cant; CZ-Pu VH 11;CZ-Pu XII F14; D-Mbs Clm 4380; D-Mbs Clm 9640; D-Sl HB IAsc. 25; F-Pn Lat. 15163; A-SPL 59/1; A-Wn S.n.12875. Anderson’s catalogue, Gordon Athol A NDERSON :“Notre Dame and related conductus.Acatalogue raisonee”, in:  Miscellanea Musicologica. Adelaide Studies in Musicology , vol. 6, Adelaide1972, p.212, quotes other sources: A-Gu 876, fol. 138v; PL-WRu IF285; D-LÜh theol. lat. 64, fol. 126;D-W 965, fol. 55; D-TRs 1221, fol. 51; F-DOU 865; CH-SGs 546. The piece can be also found in PL-WRk 58. 10 CZ-Pu XII F14 adds Nero, Aristoteles, Samson, Salomon, Avicenna and Averroes; A-Wn S.n.12875and F-Pn Lat. 15163 add Tullius, Virgilius, Diomedes, Empedocles.  and commented on, after which it finally turns towards amore syllabic-typecarrying prayer or intercession dedicated to the Virgin Mary. We may encountercantiones (!) like Quia eduxi te (Improperia for Good Friday),  Dum fabricator mundi (antiphon sang over Good Friday) or  Rorate caeli (Introitus of the 4 th AdventSunday).This passion for quotation can go even further. At its extreme, the cantio  Avemaris stella is composed mainly from quotations and the result is more or lessapatchwork. This peculiar composition is preserved in two records. 11 Due to itscharacter and the technique used to create this cantio, it is difficult to identify itsform. None of melodic movements ever repeats. Uniform phrase endings, whichwould create an impression of astructure, are also missing. The cited chantsbelong to Mode 1 or 2, which at least guarantees amodal unity. The followingfigure shows the text of  Ave maris stella on the left side, while the sourcecompositions are enumerated on the right side. Sometimes, only atext is quoted(T). At other times, the complete portion of asource composition is simply copiedwithout any transformation (M+T). Ave maris stella ( → hymn from Marian Vespers M+T)regina celi( → Antiphon  Regina caeli laetare T)tu sola fuisti dignaportare regem regum( → Antiphon Ocrux benedicta ; or Alleluia  Dulcis virgo M+T)dominumet castis visceribusnon ex virili semine( → hymn Veni redemptor gentium M+T)sed ex spiritu sanctoOmaria mater pia( → lai of the same name T)Olux beatissima( → sequence Veni sancte Spiritus M+T)ora pro populo tuo( → tractus  Laus tibi Christe T)nunc et semperPatrem omnipotentem( → text of the ordinary section Credo II, LU,M+T)suspendentem in ligno( → Antiphon  Ait Petrus principibus pro salute fideliumfor the Feast of Saint Peter and Paul T)Ergo laudes omnes gentesCantate domino( → Introitus, 5 th Easter Sunday T)qui fecit nos ad imaginem( → Genesis 1, 26 T)et similitudinem suamet paravit nobis post hoc exilium( → Salve Regina Antiphon T)Requiem eternam( → Introitus to aRequiem Mass T)per infinita secula seculorum( → Laudes regiae: Christus vincit  T)amen It is clear that these extreme examples are scarce. Nevertheless, findingaversicle from Veni, Sancte Spiritus or Salve Regina in the middle of acantio isacommon occurrence. We will now turn our attention from this extreme exampleto more sophisticated and moderate ways of making references. Quoting, Reithinking and Copying: A Few Remarks on the Tradition  25 11 D-W 30.9.2, fol. 98r; CZ-OLuM I406, fol. 23r.
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