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Music, Authorship, and the Book in the First Century of Print

Music, Authorship, and the Book in the First Century of Print

Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Music, Authorship, and the Book in the First Century of Print
    Book Description:

    What does it mean to author a piece of music? What transforms the performance scripts written down by musicians into authored books? In this fascinating cultural history of Western music’s adaptation to print, Kate van Orden looks at how musical authorship first developed through the medium of printing. When music printing began in the sixteenth century, publication did not always involve the composer: printers used the names of famous composers to market books that might include little or none of their music. Publishing sacred music could be career-building for a composer, while some types of popular song proved too light to support a reputation in print, no matter how quickly they sold. Van Orden addresses the complexities that arose for music and musicians in the burgeoning cultures of print, concluding that authoring books of polyphony gained only uneven cultural traction across a century in which composers were still first and foremost performers.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95711-4
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)

    We can laugh with Georg Forster at his joke about Josquin des Prez, who by 1540 had been dead for almost twenty years. Josquin was enjoying a personal Renaissance in those years, with German printers such as Hans Ott, Johann Petreius, Georg Rhau, and Melchior Kriesstein issuing his music as quickly as possible.² Forster, who put out the Selectissimarum mutetarum motet anthology in Nuremberg right in the midst of this Josquin craze, pointedly refused to play along and deliberately excluded Josquin from his collection, explaining in his preface that he was not going to print works of doubtful authenticity just...

  6. 1. The World of Books
    (pp. 19-29)

    By comparison with the printing of verbal texts, music printing got off to a slow start. Whereas Gutenberg’s forty-two-line Bible came off the press in 1455, almost fifty years elapsed before Ottaviano Petrucci printed the first book of polyphony in Venice in 1501, the Harmonice Musices Odhecaton A, a collection of almost one hundred chansons for three and four voices. Other prints followed, fairly establishing Petrucci’s claim to have been the first to print polyphony on any significant scale, but even so, his double-impression method proved time-consuming, and production was slow. Each sheet had to be printed twice on each...

  7. 2. Music Books and Their Authors
    (pp. 30-68)

    Though the notion clashes with modern definitions of authorship, one could say that it was not composers who authored printed books, but printers, printer-booksellers, and editors. These individuals acquired the music, compiled the books, titled them, and issued them, often in series of their own device. In short, they made the books upon which authorship depended. Perhaps the most vivid illustration of the authorial status claimed by bookmen is the Liber quindecim missarum, an anthology issued by Andrea Antico, a woodblock cutter in Rome. The Liber quindecim missarum is dated May 9, 1516, and was dedicated to Pope Leo X....

  8. 3. Authors of Lyric
    (pp. 69-102)

    “The king has a greater desire to have you than ever,” wrote Adrian Roy to Orlande de Lassus in 1574.¹ Beginning in 1570, Le Roy had made something of an industry publishing Lassus’s chansons in France, and surely would have been delighted had Lassus accepted the royal invitation; indeed, he may even have solicited it—he was the one who presented Lassus’s “musique cromatique” to King Charles IX, music that ravished young monarch beyond words and prompted the offer of employment. Charles even ordered Le Roy to print the music, “so that it would be lost,” and accorded to Lassus...

  9. 4. The Book of Poetry Becomes a Book of Music
    (pp. 103-142)

    Ronsard ended his first book of Odes with a bombastic ode “À sa lyre,” a celebration of the power of lyric poetry indebted to Horace and Pindar for its language, but featuring himself quite centrally.¹ In it, he praises his lute for any renown that may come to him, and although he employs the image strictly as a metaphor, it is hard not to catch a whiff of envy if we read the glorious account of his “singing” in this poem as a confrontation with Mellin de Saint-Gelais, aumônier of Henry II and someone who really could sing and play...

  10. 5. Resisting the Press: Performance
    (pp. 143-158)

    It would be tidy to end here. The Petrarchan books of Ronsard settings discussed in the preceding chapter seem to trumpet the coming sovereignty of the author and a new importance for books of music. They witness French chanson composers turning to the Ronsardian book as the model for a form of lyric publication entrusted not to the voice, but to the codex. Whereas in the 1550s and 1560s singers and composers had resisted Ronsard’s sonnets and instead chosen his chansons and strophic odes for their songs, when the sonnet did finally arrive in printed chansonniers, it was in conjunction...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 159-206)
  12. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 207-232)
  13. Index
    (pp. 233-240)