the Il Papa Manuscript - Music

Music sources

The Il Papa manuscript has no music in it. Nevertheless, Lisa Koch, a colleague of ours, has managed to find some probable candidates from the corpus of period music, and is looking for more (stay tuned to this space).

La Traditora
Ms. Koch writes us:

On La Traditora, I now have about a dozen sources spanning 1536 to 1589, all with the same title and the same musical material (with some variation, of course). Some early sources call this a Salterello or Dantz, later sources a Gaillard -- either way it’s clearly dance music. The last source is Arbeau, where a fragment called "La traditore my fa morire" is the first piece mentioned in the section on Galliards (he says he danced it in his youth, and that he deems the melody marvelously pleasing). In addition to numerous lute tablatures, I have two four-part settings. The oldest source, from 1536, is a slightly mangled version with a German title, in German tablature; since the piece is clearly Italian, that would indicate that the music is somewhat older than this source (since it had to have time to make it to Germany and get mangled).

All the extant versions of "La Traditora" are in a triple meter, and fall into regular sections of 4 or 8 bars (recalling that there may be a 2-to-1 correspondance between musical bars and dance measures). Most versions end with that "flowing" two-measure D section we had discussed earlier, followed in many cases by a brief coda.

She sends us the following sources for La Traditora:

Che Faralla
Ms. Koch writes us:

Concerning Che farala, I'm pleased to report that I've made some progress. I now have four versions, all dated 1514 - 1517: one lute tablature, one organ tablature, and two four-part vocal settings with words (it's a frottola -- a song with verses). The title is variously spelled "Che farala che dirala" and "Che faralla, che diralla". The lute tablature source that we discussed this summer gave us a misleading view of the musical structure -- that version ends with an extended coda that isn't part of the frottola and isn't present in the other sources.

The structure of Che farala, if the triple-time parts are barred as 6/4, is this:

  • Section A, the refrain, has 5 bars in 6/4 time, no repeat
  • Section B has 4 bars in 6/4 time, repeated
  • Section C changes to 4/4 time; it has 3 bars, repeated
  • Section D is also in 4/4 time, has 3 bars, no repeat
Altogether we have: 5 bars (A), then 4 bars repeated (BB), both in triple time; followed by 9 bars (CC D) in duple time. This structure matches the words.

She sends us the following sources for Che Farala:

There are several ways to make the dance fit to this pattern. All have some problems - but it is helpful to remember that the dance itself has some problems, the most obvious being that it is the only dance in the manuscript that doesn't explicitly say it ends.

Listening to the music, the C section of the music, repeated twice, seems aesthetically clearly associable with the pair of reverences that seem to mark figures. In each case, they are preceded by a pair of essentially repeated figures (modulo the difference between 4 passetti and a volta, which would fit very nicely with the repeated B section of the music, assuming the music is played somewhat fast, and the dance is fairly stately. In two of the three cases, they are followed by a Volta di Lasso, perhaps giving us the clearest indication we have found of how long this figure is - the length of the D figure of the music. The third case matches the big oddity of this dance - that it seems to trail off mid-dance, not telling us it has ended - so perhaps there should be a third such volta. So as long as the rest of the dance fits the A music, this seems to fit nicely. We have found a way in which to fit the other parts of the choreography to the A section of the music; it is a bit odd, and therefore we are not completey satisfied with it, but it does seem to work. See our reconstruction for details.

For some of the other dance, I have made up some music. I am not a musician, so I make no promises whatsoever about these. Please feel free to copy them, use them, change them, improve them, or whatever else you want. I would only ask that, if you improve upon them, please let me know what you've done.

At the moment, we don't have enough room on our web site to put up .mp3 files of the music directly, so for the moment, mp3 links will take you to where they are stored on github. If you want the music, follow the link, right-click the "Download" button on the github page, and select "Save link as...". Hopefully, we will be moving this somewhere with more space soon, so will be able to put them up directly.

Dances for which Ms. Lisa Koch has found period music, and arranged it for these dances

la Traditora
che Faralla

Dances for which I have written music

i Tromboni
lo Dimostra
la Villanella