I-PESo MS Pesaro 1144

"Pesaro Manuscript" [c1490-1511]

I. Overview

The Pesaro Manuscript is the earliest surviving lute manuscript with a substantial body of music. Now in possession of the Biblioteca Oliveriana in Pesaro, Italy, this manuscripts contains Italian poetry, as well as music for the lute and the lira da braccio. Its half heart-shaped format is the most distinguishing characteristic and, in spite of its Italian origins, it is the earliest example of what would come to be known as "French" lute tablature. It also contains a couple of pieces in Neapolitan tablature, in a later hand, and some tuning and chord charts in Italian tablature.

The tablature appears at first glance to have been fully notated, but careful examination leads a lutenist to the realization that the rhythm signs are either inconsistently used or obey rules that have yet to be fully understood. The use of barlines is also highly unusual and inconsistent. In short, players must approach most of these pieces either with reference to later, more fully realized tablatures or else with a healthy dose of imagination. In many cases, it is easier to realize this music by ignoring the rhythm signs completely and letting the right-hand fingering determine the rhythm.

While Ivanoff (1997) argues that this manuscript is for plectrum lute, Young and other scholars refute this theory.

II. Text (3 pp.)

f. 76 [p. 173] Note de la lira [Italian tablature]

f. 76 [p. 173] Botte del leuto [Italian tablature]

f. 76 [p. 173] Le medesme botte de la lira [Italian tablature]

f. 142v [p. 331] Acordatura del leuto

f. 143v [p. 333] Modo d'acordare il leuto

III. Notation:

Tablature: French lute tablature with 6- and 7-line staves, 6-line Neapolitan lute tablature, and a few chords for 6-course lute in Italian tablature with 6 lines.

Instrument(s): Solo six-course lute, apparently tuned A-d-g-b-e'-a'; lira da braccio.

IV. Indices

Index of Pieces: Information in brackets [ ] is editorial.

The manuscript contains 42 pieces, 38 for solo lute and 4 for lira da braccio. The first 24 pages are missing.

HandNote 1
FolioNote 2 Title
Final
Instrumentation
A
f. 1 [p. 25] . . . fortuna [incomplete]
F
solo lute
A
f. 2 [p. 27] arecercar
Dm > Am
solo lute
A
f. 3 [p. 29] arecercar
A > C
solo lute
A
f. 4 [p. 31] fortuna desperata
F
solo lute
A
f. 6 [p. 35] bassadanza
Dm
solo lute
A
f. 10 [p. 43] e Ladre
F > Bb
solo lute
A
f. 11 [p. 45] [untitled]
Bb
solo lute
A
f. 11v [p. 46] Arecercar
C > A?
solo lute
A
f. 13 [p. 49] arecercar
F > Am
solo lute
A
f. 14v [p. 52] arecercar
F > C
solo lute
A
f. 15v [p. 54] arecercar
Am > C
solo lute
A
f. 16v [p. 56] arecercar
A > D
solo lute
A
f. 17v [p. 58] arecercar
C
solo lute
A
f. 19 [p. 61] ja prexamore
Am
solo lute
A
f. 21 [p. 65] de tus biense
Gm
solo lute
A
f. 23 [p. 68] ocultamente
F > Gm
solo lute
A
f. 23v [p. 69] arecercar
F
solo lute
A
f. 24 [p. 70] contenta in focco sto com fen, segonda parte
C
solo lute
A
f. 24v [p. 71] arecercar
F > C
solo lute
A
f. 26 [p. 74] arecercar
Am > Dm
solo lute
A
f. 28 [p. 78] arecercar
Am
solo lute
A
f. 30 [p. 82] arecercar
Am > C
solo lute
A
f. 31v [p. 85] Sexana [?]
F
solo lute
B
f. 33v [p. 89] Recerchate de Gasp.
Dm > C
solo lute
B
f. 34 [p. 90] [Recerchate]
F > Bb
solo lute
B
f. 34v [p. 91] [Recerchate]
F > Cm
solo lute
B
f. 34v [p. 91] [Recerchate]
Am > A
solo lute
B
f. 35 [p. 92] [Recerchate]
Dm > A
solo lute
B
f. 35v [p. 93] [Recerchate]
Am > A
solo lute
B
f. 36 [p. 94] [Recerchate]
Cm
solo lute
B
f. 37 [p. 96] [Recerchate]
C > A?
solo lute
B
f. 37 [p. 96] [Recerchate]
Am?
solo lute
B
f. 38v [p. 99] Recercate de Gasparo [fragment]
Cm?
solo lute
C
f. 39v [p. 101] Recerchata de antonio
Dm
solo lute; Neapolitan tablature
C
f. 40v [p. 103] Tanto medesti
Am
solo lute; Neapolitan tablature
C
f. 41 [p. 104] Recercate [fragment]
A?
solo lute
D
f. 76v [p. 174] Romanesca
lira da braccio
D
f. 77 [p. 175] pasamezo de lira
lira da braccio
D
f. 77 [p. 175] Aria romana
lira da braccio
D
f. 77v [p. 176] Tutte i tone de la lira, Simitone fora de i tasti
lira da braccio
A
f. 78 [p. 197] arecercar
Dm
solo lute
A
f. 81v [p. 204] [fragment; no title]
?
solo lute

Notes:

1. There are at least 3, possibly 4 scribes identified in Young 2003.

2. Bracketed page numbers were added later in pencil.

Index of Genres:

The following chart summarizes the contents of the manuscript by genre. Major genres are given by the form used in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2d ed., with the forms actually used in the book in parentheses. Lesser known titles are grouped under "miscellaneous dances" and "songs."

Genres:
total
major
minor
ricercare
26
16
10
intabulation
9
5
4
unknown
2
1 + ?
0 + ?
dance
1
0
1
Totals:
38
22
15

Index of Keys Used:

Note that the pitch is relative and since tablature was used, there was no need to think in terms of traditional "key" signatures. Only the ending mode/key is indicated here:

A major 6 A minor 6
B flat major 3 B flat minor 0
B major 0 B minor 0
C major 8 C minor 3
C sharp major 0 C sharp minor 0
D major 1 D minor 4
E flat major 0 E flat minor 0
E major 0 E minor 0
F major 4 F minor 0
F sharp major 0 F sharp minor 0
G major 0 G minor 2
A flat major 0 A flat minor 0

V. Bibliography

Bailes, Anthony. "Reviews: Frühe Lautentabulaturen im Faksimile / Early Lute Tablatures in Facsimile, ed. Crawford Young and Martin Kirnbauer, Pratica Musicale 6 (Winterthur: Amadeus Verlag, 2003)." Lute Society Journal (UK) XLIV (2004): 80-81.

Boetticher, Wolfgang. Handschriftlich Überlieferte Lauten- und Gitarrentabulaturen des 15. bis 18. Jahrhunderts. RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales), B/VII. Kassel: Bärenreiter-Verlag, 1978.

Fallows, David. "15th-Century Tablatures for Plucked Instruments: A Summary, a Revision and a Suggestion." Lute Society Journal 19 (1977): 7-33.

Heartz, Danile. "Mary Magdalene, Lutenist." Journal of the Lute Society of America V (1972): 52-67.

Hoban, Dick. "Masters of Polyphony: Secrets of the Bassadanza Tenor, La Spagna." Lute Society of America Quarterly XLVI:4 (Winter 2011): 7-25.

Ivanoff, Vladimir. Das Pesaro Manuskript. Ein Beitrag zur Frühgeschichte der Lautentabulatur. (Tutzing: 1988). Münchner Veröffentlichungen zur Musikgeschichte 45.

________. "An Invitation to the Fifteenth-Century Plectrum Lute: The Pesaro Manuscript." in: Performance on Lute, Guitar, and Vihuela. Historical Practice and Modern Interpretation (Cambridge: CUP, 1997): 1-15.

Rubsamen, Walter H. "The Earliest French Lute Tablature." Journal of the American Musicological Society 21, no. 3 (Autumn 1968): 286-299.

Saviotti, Alfredo. "Di un codice musicale del secolo XVI." Giornale Storico della Letteratura Italiana 14 (1889): 234-253.

Young, Crawford. Frühe Lautentabulaturen im Faksimile = Early lute tablatures in facsimile. (Winterthur, Schweiz: Amadeus, 2003). Pratica musicale, Bd. 6. [includes facsimile of the pages with tablature]

Facsimile: 

Young, Crawford. Frühe Lautentabulaturen im Faksimile = Early lute tablatures in facsimile. (Winterthur, Schweiz: Amadeus, 2003). Pratica musicale, Bd. 6. [includes facsimile of surviving pages]