Two offset fragments from a 15th century chansonnier

I ran across these two fragments the other day – both offsets from from what were evidently parchment covers that had once been used for the 1674 parish vital record registers for Bona, Nièvre, France. Although they probably originated from the same musical manuscript, these offsets are currently located within two different larger volumes of collected parish registers in the archives départementales de la Nièvre (4 E 35/1 and 4 E 35/4). Each offset preserves a fragment of what appears to be the uppermost voice of a presumably three-part polyphonic chanson from the latter half of the fifteenth century. (They look French-texted and secular to me, but it is hard to tell with certainty based on the word fragments that can be read unambiguously, and the parchment leaves the offsets came from were, after all, repusposed in a small town parish church, so it is not out of the realm of possibly that they could be contrafacta.) Based on what can be discerned of the music itself, they seem to be similar both in style to many of the three-part pieces in sources such as the Chansonnier Cordiforme and Chansonnier Nivelle de la Chaussée, though I haven't yet located any concordances with certainty. The image details attached below are mirrored, so the offsets can be read in their correct orientation. I have added these to DIAMM, but I am not planning on writing about them, so if they happen to be useful for anyone's personal line of musical research, feel free to grab them and run with them! (Perhaps they could make a good research/thesis topic for a grad student?)


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  • 4 E 35/1 is Binchois, Comme femme desconfortee

    • Excellent! Thank-you! 

      Although less music can be discerned on 4E35/4, hopefully the void A-G breves on what appear to be the words  "J'en fust" followed by full black B MM might be just distinctive enough to identify it.

  • But the DIAMM posting is of the original picture, so it's not much use. Yours is the only one that we can study. Watch this space. And congratulations.


  • Encore bravo cher Richard, c'est un belle découverte !!!

    • merci - il y en aura d'autres......

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