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The printing and scope of Tinctoris's fragmentary treatise De inuentione et vsv mvsice

  • Ronald Woodley (a1)


During the course of his thirty-year career in Italy between the early 1470s and the first years of the sixteenth century, Tinctoris witnessed the printing of only two of his own theoretical works. His glossary of musical terms, the Terminorum musicae diffinitorium, has been convincingly shown to have issued from the Treviso press of the author's compatriot and contemporary Gerardus de Lisa, around 1495, although the work had clearly been compiled in manuscript form some twenty years previously. The Diffinitorium has, indeed, fared relatively well at the hands of modern scholarship, though one suspects that its generic significance as an early musical dictionary has occasionally clouded critical judgement on its actual content, and there still remain unanswered basic questions as to why, and for whom, the book was printed at all. By contrast, the other, fragmentary treatise of Tinctoris to be printed in his lifetime, De inuentione et usu musice – a work frankly more interesting by far than the Diffinitorium – has received surprisingly scant attention, and a reassessment of the place, date and circumstances of its publication is long overdue. In addition, it seems appropriate to take the opportunity of presenting here some new fragments of the treatise which have recently come to light in north-east France.



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1 See the bibliographical essay by James Coover appended to Parrish, C., Dictionary of Musical Terms by Johannes Tinctoris (London, 1963), pp. 101–8. Some of Coover's observations on Tinctoris's biography must be read with caution; for his information on Gerardus's life, he is heavily dependent on Scholderer, V., ‘A Fleming in Venice: Gerardus de Lisa, Printer, Bookseller, Schoolmaster, and Musician’, The Library, ser. IV, 10 (1929), pp. 253–73. A facsimile of the Gotha copy of the Diffinitorium print is now available, along with Heinrich Bellerman's 1863 German translation (from Jahrbuch für musikalische Wissenschaft, 1 (1863), pp. 61114), and a ‘Nachwort’ by Gülke, Peter, as: Tinctoris, Johannes, Terminorum musicae diffinitorium, Documenta Musicologica, ser. 1: Druckschrif-ten-Faksimiles 37 (Leipzig, 1983).

2 Haberl, F. X., ‘Ein unbekanntes Werk des Johannes Tinctoris’, Kirchenmusikalisches Jahr-buch, 14 (1899), pp. 6980; preceded only by the brief account in Gaspari, G., Catalogo della biblioteca del Liceo musicale di Bologna, 4 vols. (Bologna, 18901905), i, pp. 260–1. For further bibliography, see Weinmann, K. (with Fischer, W.), Johannes Tinctoris (1445–1511) und sein unbekannter Traktat ‘De inventione et usu musicae’, 2nd edn (Tutzing, 1961), p. 6.

3 Haberl, , ‘Unbekanntes Werk’, p. 72. The puncti are printed thus: ‘Ex Parthenope: quinto Kalendas Februarii….’ (Weinmann, , ‘De inventione’, pp. 7 and 28).

4 Weinmann, , ‘De inventione’, p. 8. For further on Del Tuppo and his position (particularly as partner to Sixtus Riessinger) in the early history of Neapolitan printing, see Catalogue of Books printed in the Fifteenth Century now in the British Museum, 10 vols, (and in progress) (London, 1908–) [hereinafter BMC], VI, pp. xl–xlii.

5 Reese, G., Music in the Renaissance, 2nd edn (London, 1959), p. 147, n. 232. All type sigla follow BMC, VI.

6 It should be noted that persistent efforts to obtain a microfilm copy of the De inuentione unicum (Regensburg, Proskesche Musikbibliothek, h 15) have been frustrated, and the present typographical study is reliant on the facsimile of fol. 2r given as the frontispiece to Weinmann's edition. The evidence, therefore, particularly of type size, is necessarily limited, but has proved sufficient for the immediate purpose. A first-hand examination of the print will be a prerequisite for confirming the findings presented here.

7 For example, Picus, Ioannes, Apologia conclusionum suarum, printed after 31 May 1487 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. 2. Q inf. 2.14(b)).

8 This, and the following details of Moravus's life, from BMC, VI, pp. xlii–xliii.

9 See Bodleian Library Record, 4/VI (12 1953), pp. 341–2; 5/VI (October 1956), pp. 282–3; also Notable Accessions [Bodleian Library]: Guide to an Exhibition held in 1958 (Oxford, 1958), p. 15, no. 21.

10 Fava, M. and Bresciano, G., La stampa a Napoli nel XVsecolo, Sammlung bibliothekswissen-schaftlicher Arbeiten 32–4 (Leipzig, 19111913), ii, pp. 126–7.

11 The relationship between Tinctoris and Cinico, who was the recipient of the only surviving letter by the theorist (Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS XII.f.50, fols. 11–14), will be explored further in a forthcoming study of Tinctoris's Italian translation of the Articles of Constitution for the Order of the Golden Fleece, the surviving source of which (Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS xiv.d.20) was copied by Cinico himself. A somewhat defective text of the Tinctoris–Cinico letter is published in de Marinis, T., La biblioteca napoletana dei re d'Aragona, 4 vols. (Milan, 19471952); 2 suppl. vols. (Verona, 1969), i, pp. 80–1.

12 Fava, and Bresciano, , La stampa, ii p. 117. Of the 2000 copies printed (see De Marinis, , Biblioteca, i, p. 44), that sent to the work's dedicatee, Queen Beatrice, is now in the British Library (ib 29438).

13 Fava and Bresciano, , La stampa, ii, pp. 120–1.

14 Ibid., p. 121.

15 See Perkins, L. and Garey, H., eds., The Mellon Chansonnier, 2 vols. (New Haven and London, 1979), i, esp. pp. 22–6, and Woodley, R., ‘The Proportionale musices of Iohannes Tinctoris: a Critical Edition, Translation and Study’ (D.Phil, diss., University of Oxford, 1982), i, pp. 123–31.

16 On the Neapolitan provenance of this manuscript, see Woodley, , ‘Proportionale’, i, pp. 132–8. De Marinis had already recognised the provenance of its binding in La legatura artistica in Italia nei secoli XVe XVI, 3 vols. (Florence, 1960), I, p. 24, no. 211.

17 On such correspondences in the fifteenth century, see Mazal, O., ‘Paläographie und Paläotypie des 15. Jahrhunderts’, in Buch and Text im 15. Jahrhundert, ed. Hellinga, L. and Härtel, H., Wolfenbüttler Abhandlungen zur Renaissanceforschung 2 (Hamburg, 1981), pp. 5978.

18 For the principal types, see BMC, VI, plates lxvi–lxvii. It should be stressed that the identifications of type by Fava, and Bresciano, (La stampa, ii, pp. 92127) are very unreliable.

19 Prints examined: 83G: Caracciolus, , Quadragesimale, 10 04 1479 (British Library, ib 29415); 84G: Biblia latina, 1476 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. m. 2. 2); 87G: De Cambanis, , Tractatus clausularum, 9 04 1478 (British Library, IC 29412).

20 BMC, VI, p. 861.

21 It should be noted in qualification that some of Moravus's type seems to have strayed to Hungary (Bratislava?) for the anonymous production of a St Antoninus Confessionale in 1477 and a blood-letting calendar in 1480 (Clair, C., A History of European Printing (London, 1976), p. 239). The likelihood, however, that De inuentione was published here rather than in Naples must be considered negligible.

22 Weinmann, , ‘De inventione’, p. 46.

23 Cf. Woodley, R., ‘Iohannes Tinctoris: a Review of the Documentary Biographical Evidence’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 34 (1981), p. 235.

24 See also below, pp. 256–7.

25 BMC, VI, p. xliii.

26 Even the unreliable identifications of Fava and Bresciano reveal no volume in 83G (their ‘type 1’) printed after 1483, the latest being a Stefano Fieschi, Varietates sententiarum seu Synonyma, dated 8 July of that year (La stampa, II, pp. 111–12).

27 Weinmann, , ‘De inventione’, p. 27.

28 Ibid., p. 28.

29 Ibid., p. 33.

30 Cf. Baines, A., ‘Fifteenth-century Instruments in Tinctoris's De inventione et usu musicae’, Galpin Society Journal, 3 (1950), pp. 1926.

31 Weinmann, , ‘De inventione’, p. 37.

32 Description in Molinier, A., Catalogue général des manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France, XVII: Cambrai (Paris, 1891), p. 155. I am grateful to BonnieJ. Blackburn for informing me of her independent discovery of this source.

33 But see below, pp. 258–9.

34 See notes to the text, p. 259 below.

35 See, for example, Schäfer, E., Deutscher Horaz (Wiesbaden, 1976); Manitius, M., Analekten zur Geschichte des Horaz im Mittelalter (bis 1300) (Göttingen, 1893); also Wilkinson, L. P., Horace and his Lyric Poetry (Cambridge, 1951), pp. 159–76. I am most grateful to Dr Duncan Kennedy, of the Department of Latin, University of Liverpool, for initially pointing out this stylistic association with Horace. One plausible candidate for authorship of this verse might be the German humanist poet Conrad Celtis, who displays a certain Horatian (though mainly unchristianised) bent; the verse in question, however, is not to be found in Celtis's extant poetry (Conradus Celtis Protucius: Libri odarum quattuor; Liber Epodon; Carmen saeculare, ed. Pindter, F., Leipzig, 1937).

36 On a further Horatian allusion by Tinctoris, cf. also p. 256 below.

37 Stevens, J., ‘Sibyl, Song of the’, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Sadie, S., 20 vols. (London, 1980), xvii, pp. 290–1; see also Bischoff, B., ‘Die lateinischen Über-setzungen und Bearbeitungen aus den Oracula Sibyllina’, Mittelalterliche Studien, i (Stuttgart, 1966), pp. 150–67, and Corbin, S., ‘Le Cantus Sibyllae: origine et premiers textes’, Revue de Musicologie, 34 (1952), pp. 110.

38 Sage, J., ‘Medieval Drama’, iii, 3(v), The New Grove Dictionary, xii, pp. 51–3; I am also grateful to Dr Carolyn Lee, of the Department of Music, University College, Cork, for her comments in this regard.

39 Cf. Irwin, J. L., ‘The Mystical Music of Jean Gerson’, Early Music History, 1 (1981), pp. 187201.

40 See Woodley, , ‘Proportionale’, i, pp. 93122.

41 Seay, A., ed., Johannis Tinctoris opera theoretica, Corpus Scriptorum de Musica 22, 2 vols. (n.p., 1975; vol. IIa. 1978), II, pp. 165–77. See also Zanoncelli, L., Sulla estetica di Johannes Tinctoris, con edizione critica, traduzione e commentario del Complexus effectuum musices (n.p., n.d.).

42 Seay, , ed., Tinctoris opera, ii, p. 165.

43 Ibid., p 174.

44 Woodley, , ‘Proportionale’, i, pp. 93122.

45 Derolez, A., The Library of Raphael de Marcatellis, Abbot of St Bavon's, Ghent, 1437–1508 (Ghent, 1979), pp. 227–34.

46 See Appendix below, p. 258.

47 It may be noted parenthetically that to construe the title of the treatise simply as ‘On the Discovery and Practice of Music’ does scant justice either to the work's scope or to its author's sensitivity to the nuances of the Latin language. ‘Inuentio’ carries additional connotations of ‘composition’, ‘devising’, ‘identifying the character of’, ‘survey’, etc. ‘Vsus’, in turn, might imply discussion of the ‘enjoyment’, ‘value’, ‘requirements’, and ‘experience’ of music, as well as its current practice.

48 Cf. p. 242 and nn. 14 and 15 above.

49 Perkins, and Garey, , Mellon Chansonnier, i, p. 22.

50 Cf. p. 247 above.

51 Weinmann, , ‘De inventione’, p. 27.

52 See especially Clough, C. H., ‘The Cult of Antiquity: Letters and Letter Collections’, in Cultural Aspects of the Italian Renaissance: Essays in Honour of Paul Oskar Kristeller, ed. Clough, C. H. (Manchester, 1976), pp. 3367.

53 See above, pp. 241–2 and n. 11.

54 At least three copies of the Letters Ad familiares were in the Aragonese library in Naples (De Marinis, , Biblioteca, ii, pp. 45–6). The rhetorical emulation of Cicero by Tinctoris can, I believe, be demonstrated in at least one specific case, namely the modelling of the Proportionale prohemium on part of De oratore, I: see Woodley, R., ‘Renaissance Music Theory as Literature: on Reading the Proportionale musices of Iohannes Tinctoris’ (forthcoming).

55 Cf. Reynolds, L. D., The Medieval Tradition of Seneca's Letters (Oxford, 1965), pp. 23. I am again grateful to Duncan Kennedy for pointing out this possible source. See also p. 241 above.

56 Cf. Woodley, , ‘Review’, p. 247.

57 Clough, , ‘Cult of Antiquity’, pp. 46ff.

58 Weinmann, , ‘De inventione’, p. 27. On the influence of Horace, cf. p. 250 above.

59 Clough, , ‘Cult of Antiquity’, p. 46.

60 Information from the facsimile frontispiece to Weinmann, ‘De inventione’; a detailed, firsthand examination of the print will doubtless enable further conclusions to be drawn. With a work of this period and genre, indeed, the whole print may well have remained unbound and been distributed in loose sheets (cf., for example, Goff, F. R., ‘Characteristics of the Book of the Fifteenth Century’, in Buch und Text, ed. Hellinga, and Härtel, , pp. 2734, on p. 29), a fact which may explain the present binding of the Regensburg unicum with a copy of Gaffurius's Practica musicae (see Weinmann, , ‘De inventione’, p. 6).

61 Weinmann, , ‘De inventione’, p. 28. On the similarity between this phrase and part of the text of Tinctoris's motet Virgo Dei throno digna (which is inscribed at the front of Bologna 2573), see Perkins, and Garey, , Mellon Chansonnier, i, p. 19.

62 Cf. pp. 240 and 245 above.

63 Cf., in this regard, Lowinsky, E. E., ‘Music of the Renaissance as viewed by Renaissance Musicians’, in The Renaissance Image of Man and the World, ed. O'Kelly, B. (Columbus, Ohio, 1966), pp. 129–77, and idem, ‘Renaissance Writings on Music Theory’, Renaissance News, 18 (1965), pp. 358–70.

64 Since the publication of Woodley, ‘Review’, Richard Sherr has demonstrated the likelihood of Tinctoris's having been in Rome in 1502, upon his resignation ‘apud sedem’ of a benefice at the parish church of St George ‘ad Mercatum Veterem’ in Naples; this event may well have immediately preceded Tinctoris's return north (Sherr, R., ‘Notes on some Papal Documents in Paris’, Studi Musicali, 12 (1983), pp. 516).

65 Ijsewijn, J., ‘The Coming of Humanism to the Low Countries’, in Itinerarium italicum: the Profile of the Italian Renaissance in the Mirror of its European Transformations, ed. Oberman, H. A., with Brady, T. A. Jr, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Thought 14 (Leiden, 1975), pp. 193301.

66 Comparisons drawn from Piccard, G., Wasserzeichen Buchstabe P, 3 vols. (Stuttgart, 1977), ii, viii. Beta-radiography has not yet been available, but Piccard nos. 415 (p. 289: Utrecht 1497) and 425 (p. 289: Condé 1497) appear closely to resemble the mark in Cambrai 416.

67 See Chevalier, U., Repertorium hymnologicum, 6 vols. (Louvain, Paris and Brussels, 18921921), no. 18189 for further bibliography, where the presence of the text in Cambrai 416 is noted.

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