The flores of Flos vernalis: Robertsbridge Codex, Lichtenthal Codex, and the creation of intabulation in the 14th century

25/02/2019 — Cristina Alís Raurich — 2 min read
Categories: Manuscripts, Musicology, Performance Practice, Repertory

This entry is related to a published article with the same title about the most recent discovery that enables us better to understand some of the oldest intabulations for keyboard instruments we know. Inside the article a link is given to listen to the piece “Flos vernalis” in two versions: one without ornamentation, and another as it appears in the Robertsbridge Codex with ornamentation.

Here you can listen to one of the examples:

In case you are interested in reading the article, here is the abstract. As soon as the article is published I will update you:

The so-called Robertsbridge codex (London, British Library, Add. 28550) contains some of the oldest, if not the oldest, keyboard intabulations that we know and in addition presents unique notational features. One of its pieces (Flos vernalis) is the intabulation of a motet for which, until now, we knew only fragments of the original vocal version (Oxford, All Souls, 56, binding strips). Such fragments do not transmit the complete vocal piece, thus, until now a complete comparative analysis could not be conducted. The situation has now changed after the identification of one more Flos vernalis concordance in Karlsruhe (Badische Landesbibliothek, Lichtenthal 82, pastedown). This makes possible a full comparison of the upper part, and enables us to improve our understanding about the intabulation and ornamentation techniques (flores) of the fourteenth century. The rich ornamentation possibilities recorded in Flos vernalis will be discussed in this paper. The better we understand how Flos vernalis was adapted into tablature form, the more we will be able to recognize the characteristics of two different intabulation techniques for polyphonic vocal works: a literal one (as seen in two intabulations of Fauvel’s motets in the Robertsbridge codex), and one that includes more ornamentation (Flos vernalis).

I did present a paper on the Robertsbridge Codex and 14th-century creation of keyboard intabulation at the Med-Ren conference which took place in Basel (Switzerland) in July 3rd-6th 2019.

Cristina Alís Raurich - Medieval Organ

Cristina Alís Raurich

Performer of medieval and Renaissance keyboards, pedagogue, musicologist. Passionate about communication and obsessed with the question: what is medieval music to us?

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