They don’t make ’em like they used to

Chansonnier Cordiforme (ca. 1470)
Chigi Codex (1498-1503)
Capirola Lutebook (1515-1520)




Chansonnier de Zeghere van Male (1542)


Neue Lauten-Früchte (1676)

3 thoughts on “They don’t make ’em like they used to

  1. Beautiful, and amusing. The Zeghere van Male text is the Gloria (from the ordinary of the Mass– but who is pulling whom across the field of battle? and what is he astride?) but I can’t figure out the text in the painting with the fellows shooting arrows at the burning bird atop a tree? Haven’t dared to click through to the source because there’d go an hour.


    1. Ah, but what a fun hour. And I’ve only looked at the cantus so far. Way better than the other cyber distractions I usually fall prey to.

      He is sitting atop a barrel it would seem. Is it a caricature, was it a game? Very curious. Regarding the arrow page, here’s the full page if you’re interested. I wish the quality was a bit better, but maybe you can make it out.

      I have been searching in vain for the relevance of the images in relation to the songs. There doesn’t appear to be any. Perhaps, considering the foulness of some of the drawings, that’s for the best.


  2. Well, it is titled, Missa something or other, and that’s the Kyrie eleison, two times written out, with the word or abbreviation at the end of the second Kyrie explaining– I’m guessing– how we ought to sing the (customary) third Kyrie. 25 composers, around 80 pieces or parts thereof, Apenzeller, De Hondt, and Lupi accounting for 34 of them: I don’t see how to make any of those three names fit what I see there.

    Yes, I believe you are right that while the decoration occasionally was complementary to the text in such painting there wasn’t any conventional necessity for that to be the case and the fantasmes bizarres here are proof of that, ha.

    Looking again, I think the ‘burning’ bird is simply the pigment having been diffused ‘outside the lines’ over the centuries since its making. There is one splendid painting of a man somewhere in the ‘superius’ who appears to have climbed out or crawled out or perhaps been thrown out (who can know what was in the artist’s imagination?) of one world, represented in a circle, onto the page of music in this.

    Fascinating, but my ‘hour’ is up for the time being anyway. 🙂


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