Sackbut Class description

The Germanic Lands

Two early sources of secular, “instrumental” repertoire:

The Glogauer Liederbuch & the Vienna Österreichische Nationalbibliothek MS 18810


Main topics:

The joys and headaches of working from original sources:

clefs, time signatures, note values, ligatures and musica ficta

Mo’ ficta, mo’ problems:

using mode to help determine appropriate ficta decisions

Ornamentation after Hermann Finck

This year we’re dusting off our Biersteins and heading to the Germanic lands to revive the rich Stadtpfeiffer or “town piper” tradition! We will be looking at two wonderful sources of largely secular music, the Glogauer Liederbuch and the Vienna Manuscript 18810. Both collections contain an important number of untexted pieces, which lead us to believe these pieces would have been played on instruments rather than sung. Additionally, the Glogauer liederbuch, compiled circa 1480 and containing a staggering 292 pieces, is the earliest known collection to have been published in partbook format, and not choirbook format, another indication of its possible intention for instrumental performance. Vienna MS 18810 is a collection of 86 three-, four-, and five-part compositions and was compiled between 1524 and 1533. After having been amassed in Munich, the 5 partbooks found their way into the possession of the Fuggers of Augsburg, the famous family of

mercantile bankers. It is no coincidence that the Fuggers were all instrumentalists… The first half of each day will be dedicated to sackbut techniques and performance practice. The first hour will consist of a warm-up session in conjunction with the modes and ornamentation from Hermann Finck’s Pratica Musica (1556). The second half of the morning will be spent on the discussion and practice of reading original notation. The entirety of Vienna MS 18810 will be provided in its original form with only a handful of modern editions. Ability to read in all of the clefs, understanding time signatures, note values, ligatures and making decisions on musica ficta will be the main focus of this fall’s workshop. Afternoons and evenings will consist of playing sessions in mixed groups of sackbuts and double reeds. Those daring enough will have the chance to try the medieval slide trumpet, the predecessor to the trombone and an integral part of the early outdoor wind band!

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