New Contexts – New Perspectives
Elzbieta Witkowska-Zaremba: Early Keyboard Music in Sources from Prague and Silesia
Early Keyboard Music in Sources from Prague and Silesia Elbieta Witkowska-Zaremba Instytut Sztuki Polskiej Akademii Nauk, Warszawa The term “keyboard music” refers to music intended for instruments with a keyboard, which during the period in question included primarily the organ and the clavichord (clavicordium). The earliest records of such music come, as we know, from the fourteenth century and from the first decades of the fifteenth. The famous Faenza codex, dated to the period from the end of the fourteenth century to the early fifteenth, provides a useful point of reference in this respect.1 We can distinguish three following groups of sources of keyboard music: 1) surviving instruments or their fragments, iconographic transmissions and written information about the instruments, or their descriptions; 2) surviving tablature records; 3) theoretical texts: a) treatises on ars organica (ars organizandi, ars tangendi), b) descriptions of the tuning of instruments (mensurae monochordi, mensurae clavicordi, mensurae fistularum, etc.). The comments which follow concern only the last of the groups listed above, which is well represented both in the Prague and Wrocław collections. Two closely related texts deserve particular attention: the organ treatise Octo principalia transmitted in the manuscript Prague, Archiv Pražského hradu, Knihovna Metropolitní kapituly, M.CIII (1463), fols. 93r–96r),2 and the text Ad inveniendum veras falsetas, preserved in the manuscript Wrocław, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka, I Q 43, fol. 138r.3 The two texts are linked by a tendency to overcome the limitations imposed by Pythagorean tuning, and to create alternative systems; this...
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