The late fourteenth century was a time of great change and turmoil in Western Europe. Outbreaks of the bubonic and pneumonic plague were common into the early decades of the 1400s. War was ubiquitous throughout Europe, both on national levels, as in the Hundred Yearsí War, and in fierce, concentrated rivalries between independent city-states in Italy. It was a time of spiritual division; a time when two, and later three, rival popes lay claim to Godís authority. There was the possibility of hope for brighter developments ahead. Early humanist writers such as Petrarch were prompting the rediscovery of classical texts in the European universities. Other writers and artists such as Chaucer and Lorenzo Monaco were also flourishing, ushering in new styles in their fields. In music, major transformations could be seen as well. The ars subtilior movement produced compositions of ever-increasing complexity while emigrant composers to Italy from the Low Countries were espousing in most of their works a move toward more simple styles.
One of the toughest challenges in examining music of such a changing period is deciding how to classify the large and disorganized collection of works produced or copied at the end of the fourteenth century. Musicologists have usually approached this repertory by defining it first by region. Before any other question, most writers ask whether the music is French, Italian, British, or from a less prolific region. While this categorizing serves to break down to manageable chunks the vast literature of music for more than one voice, it can hamper our understanding of musical repertories at the crossroads, either geographically or culturally, of two regions.
This problem of classification becomes acute when applied to Italian music of the late-fourteenth and early-fifteenth centuries. At the time a collection of autonomous city-states on the Apennine peninsula, Italyís lack of a unifying and overarching political system is mirrored by the absence of any single unifying conception or definition of Italian music. To define Italian music as music with Italian texts would exclude the great multitude of works by native Italians written in French (to say nothing of the sacred Latin repertory). To define it as music written in Italian styles would prove extremely difficult since so many musical styles were international.
I have until now neglected the one of the most obvious definitions of Italian music: music written within the borders of what is now Italy. Although, for convenience, this definition will be used in this paper, a significant portion of this study will focus on why this usage is inadequate for describing the musical life of Italians around 1400. This paper examines a group of works seen in the context of the musical life of Padua in the late trecento.1 It does not attempt to explore all aspects of Paduan music; only written polyphonic music with at least one vocal line is studied. The core of this paper is an examination of five fragments which originally formed parts of three manuscripts of polyphonic music copied in the Abbey of Santa Giustina in the first decades of the fifteenth-century. An examination of the repertory contained in these fragments will show that separation of music into Italian and French music based on some conception of the nationality of the composer would be inconsistent with evidence for the blending of many musical styles and traditions which formed the musical culture of late medieval Padua.
The five fragments in this study are part of a small body of music clearly traceable to late fourteenth century Padua. I-Pu 1115 and I-Pu 658 each comprise two folios of secular polyphonic music. They are commonly referred to as PadB and PadC respectively. The other three fragments to be studied, GB-Ob 229, I-Pu 1475, and I-Pu 684, are fragments which originally belonged to a single larger manuscript designated PadA. PadA, PadB, and PadC, together with I-Pu 656, I-STr 14, and the four parts of PadD (I-Pu 675, I-Pu 1106, I-Pu 1225, and I-Pu 1283) form the body of manuscripts collectively known as the Paduan fragments. These five fragments were chosen to give a mixture of secular and sacred manuscript fragments while keeping the examination to a reasonable length. Because there is evidence based on concordant readings between PadD and PadA that the first was copied from the latter, and because the paleography of PadD and I-STr 14 has already been examined by Giulio Cattin, I decided to focus on the more neglected fragments.2
Although PadA, PadB, and PadC have been known by scholars since the first quarter of the twentieth century, no examination of these fragments as documents of a Paduan musical tradition has yet been published. Anne Hallmark has come the closest thus far in examining the Paduan music tradition via the various Paduan fragments. Her examination of French influence on Paduan composers is probably the most important starting place for any study of late trecento Paduan music.3 However, these examinations, including the one mentioned above, have tended to focus on Paduan music either which is related to, or dissimilar from, the musical tradition of Florence and other Tuscan cities. Pieces are often discussed without reference to their position in the manuscripts in which they are found.
To explore the rich information of the Paduan fragments, techniques from the ancillary disciplines of codicology, paleography, and filiation will be used extensively. This examination of Paduan trecento music via the Paduan fragments will begin by exploring the musical life of the city which provided the context for the production of the manuscripts. This paper will then examine the composers whose music appears in the fragments to see both how biographical information on the composers can aid our understanding of the composersí music and how the music can reveal important information about the lives of the composers. Following this, the details of the structure of the fragments and particularly their notation will be examined. The final three chapters look at some of the more dense details of the fragments. Those chapters examine each of the fragmentary manuscripts separately so that on the basis of historical context, biographical information, codicological and paleographical features, and attention to musical styles, some of the traditions surrounding each manuscript can be reconstructed.
In order to examine the music of the five Paduan fragments, I have undertaken a new transcription of the fragments. The transcriptions, which form Appendix A of this paper, are of the music as it is found in the fragments. Rather than try to create a critical reading of each piece by comparing across concordant sources, this paper presents the music as it would have been known in Padua. Or at least, the music as it would have been known by one particular scribe or copyist in Padua.4 While creating a definitive edition of a composition can be a great assistance to modern performers, such an edition sometimes removes the work from the local tradition to which it was previously attached.5
Four plates of facsimiles from the Paduan fragments are given in this study. While these plates will be useful in illustrating some of the details of paleography, notation, and manuscript structure in the last three chapters, they should prove especially helpful in the earlier chapters for readers not familiar with fourteenth century music manuscripts.
It is hoped that providing an edition of the music of a fragmentary manuscript can undermine the bias seen in trecento scholarship toward viewing fragments as sources of interesting, but optional, variant readings for concordances in more important, complete documents. Manuscript examination is usually conducted first on the most beautiful and most comprehensive codices before smaller documents are examined. This is particularly true in the case of Italian trecento music. Leo Schrade begins his edition of the works of Francesco Landini by describing him as "long recognized as Italyís greatest composer of the fourteenth century."6 Schrade continues by saying, "Perhaps as a result of such a recognition, the music of Landini has been more comprehensively preserved than the music of any other Italian musician." While not disputing the quality of Landiniís music, this study will assert that the comprehensive preservation of a composerís works often tempts us into creating (and projecting back) the greatness of a composer.7
The exploration of the Paduan fragments reveals the extent to which influence from and interest in the music of other regions was a part of Paduan life. It shows how the Paduan fragments were a product of the tumultuous period spanning the fall of the Carrara dynasty, the installation of Venetian rule over the city, and the subsequent rise in the monastic chapter of Santa Giustina. The examination of sources suggests some of the influences upon composers in Padua by the music heard around them. This study also details the notation and arrangement of music on the page, which allows us to reconstruct larger portions of the structure of the original manuscripts.