Add MS 29987

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Add MS 29987
British Library
London Add MS 29987, f 62v.jpg
Facsimile of f. 62v of the manuscript, showing the Trotto and part of a saltarello
Also known asLondon BM Add. 29987
Datec. 1400
Place of originTuscany or possibly Umbria
Size26 × 19.5 cm
Contentsvocal and instrumental music
Previously kept
Transcription in reduced note values of the Trotto on f. 62v, showing aperto and chiusso endings

London, British Library, MS. Add. 29987 is a medieval Tuscan musical manuscript dating from the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century. It contains a number of polyphonic Italian Trecento madrigals, ballate, sacred mass movements, and motets, and 15 untexted monophonic instrumental dances, which are among the earliest purely instrumental pieces in the Western musical tradition. The manuscript apparently belonged to the de' Medici family in the fifteenth century, and by 1670 to Carlo di Tommaso Strozzi; it was in the British Museum from 1876, where it was catalogued as item 29987 of the Additional manuscripts series. It is now in the British Library.[1][2]

The manuscript[edit]

The manuscript measures approximately 26 × 19.5 cm, and consists of 88 parchment leaves in 11 quaternio gatherings.[3] There are six flyleaves at the front, one from 1957, three from 1876 and two from the seventeenth century, of which the first has a list in the hand of Carlo di Tommaso Strozzi of the composers represented; two flyleaves at the back date from 1876 and 1957. The binding in half leather is from 1957, over older thick wooden boards. The first folio has the arms of the de' Medici family in red, gold, blue and green;[4]:7–8 the arms are in the "augmented" form, with the arms of France in the upper central ball, granted by Louis XI in 1465.[5]

Add 29987 is a part of a larger manuscript of at least 185 pages, as the surviving leaves were originally numbered 98–185.[1] The pages are ruled with eight five-line staves in red, and the music is written in full (black) mensural notation, with only occasional use of void ("white") notes and red colouration.[3] It is carelessly written in one principal and several other scribal hands; the musical text is corrupted in many places by a later hand, which altered the rhythms and added inappropriate rests.[1]

The exact date of the manuscript remains uncertain; estimates range from the late fourteenth century to about 1425. The music dates from 1340–1400;[1] one piece, number 118, is clearly of later date, and numbers 115–117 may also be somewhat later than most of the others.[3] The geographical origin of the manuscript is equally uncertain; it is thought to be either Tuscany or Umbria. The titles of two of the instrumental pieces, "Isabella" and "Principio di virtù", may suggest a connection to Perugia, which was ruled between 1400 and 1402 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti;[3] Visconti was, through his marriage to Isabelle of Valois, the comte de Vertus, or, in Italian, the Conte di Virtù. However Visconti was also Duke of Milan, and the manuscript may thus be connected with that city.[6]

The works[edit]

Add MS 29987 contains 119 pieces of music; however, 3 of them are copied twice, so there are 116 different pieces.[4]:9 Of these, 45 are ballate, 35 or 36 (if a fragment is counted) are madrigals, 15 are instrumental pieces under the general title of "istampitta" or estampie, 8 are cacce and 3 are virelais. There are also a motet and a "Chançonete tedesce" or canzonetta tedesca, and 7 liturgical works, kyrie, gloria, credo, antiphon, 2 sequences and a hymn; the last piece is untexted, but may be a madrigal.[1][4]:10 Totally, 43 pieces, including all the instrumental works, are unica.[4]:13

Eighty-two of the pieces, all but one of them polyphonic, can be attributed to particular composers, either because the composer's name is given in the manuscript or by comparison with other sources. Half of these are by either Francesco Landini (29) or Niccolò da Perugia (12 and a fragment). There are 7 works by Jacopo da Bologna, 5 by each of Bartolino da Padova, Giovanni da Cascia and Lorenzo da Firenze, and 3 by each of Bonaiuto Corsini, Donato da Cascia, Gherardello da Firenze and Vincenzo da Rimini. Andrea da Firenze, Jacopo Pianelaio da Firenze, Paolo da Firenze, Rosso da Collegrana and Thomas de Celano are each represented by a single piece. There is one ballata by Guglielmus and Egidius de Francia, and a madrigal by Guglielmus alone.[4]

List of contents of the manuscript[edit]

The 119 pieces in the manuscript are:[4]:18–26

Number Name/ beginning of text Composer Genre Unicum? Notes
1 O dolç' apress' un bel perlaro fiume Jacopo da Bologna madrigal same as #3
2 Di novo e giont' un cavalier errante Jacopo da Bologna madrigal
3 O dolç' apress' un bel perlaro fiume Jacopo da Bologna madrigal same as #1
4 O perlaro gentil Giovanni da Cascia madrigal
5 Apress' un fiume chiaro Giovanni da Cascia madrigal
6 Per allegreça del parlar d'amore Francesco Landini ballata
7 O tu chara scientia Giovanni da Cascia madrigal
8 Si chome al canto de la bella iguana Jacopo da Bologna madrigal
9 Sedendo al ombra d'una bella mandorla Giovanni da Cascia madrigal
10 Si dolce non sono Francesco Landini madrigal
11 Musica son che mi dolgho piaggendo
Gia furon le dolceççe mie
Ciascun vole narrar
Francesco Landini madrigal
12 Una colomba candid' e genti Francesco Landini madrigal
13 Alba cholumba con sua verde rama Bartolino da Padova madrigal
14 Prima vertute chon stringer la lingua Jacopo da Bologna madrigal
15 Mille merce Egidius and Guglielmus de Francia ballata
16 Quando la terra parturessen verde Bartolino da Padova madrigal same as #24
17 La dolce cera Bartolino da Padova madrigal
18 Non posso far buchato anon. ballata
19 Useletto selvagio Jacopo da Bologna madrigal
20 Un bel parlare vive sulla riva Jacopo da Bologna madrigal ×
21 Piu non mi churo Giovanni da Cascia madrigal
22 I credo ch'i dormiva Lorenzo da Firenze madrigal
23 Qual legie move Bartolino da Padova madrigal
24 Quando la terra parturessen verde Bartolino da Padova madrigal same as #16
25 Per sparverare Jacopo da Bologna caccia
26 Non avra mai pieta Francesco Landini ballata
27 Donna, s'i t'o falito Francesco Landini ballata
28 Guard' una volta Francesco Landini ballata
29 Io son un pellegrin anon. ballata
30 Perche di novo sdegno Francesco Landini ballata
31 Tosto che l'alba Gherardello da Firenze caccia
32 L'aspido sord[o] e'l tirello scorçone Donato da Firenze madrigal
33 La dona mia Niccolò da Perugia ballata
34 Non senti donna piu piacer anon. ballata ×
35 Se pronto non sara Francesco Landini ballata
36 Nella piu chara parte Francesco Landini ballata
37 Sta quel ch'esser po Andrea da Firenze ballata ×
38 Gran piant' agli occhi Francesco Landini ballata
39 Adyou, adyou, dous dame volie Francesco Landini virelai
40 Partesi con dolore Francesco Landini ballata
41 I son tua donna Niccolò da Perugia ballata ×
42 La mantacha ssera tututu lo primo
Cum martelli incrudena
anon. ballata ×
43 In forma quasi tra 'l veglar Vincenzo da Rimini caccia same as #96
44 Piu bella donna 'l mondo ma non Francesco Landini ballata ×
45 Donna, non fu giamay Bonaiuto Corsini ballata ×
46 Vidi nell'ombra Lorenzo da Firenze madrigal
47 Piata ti mova Bonaiuto Corsini ballata ×
48 Amor, tu vedi ch'io per te Bonaiuto Corsini ballata ×
49 Povero çappator Lorenzo da Firenze madrigal
50 I fu gia bianch' ucciel Donato da Firenze madrigal
51 Po che da tte mi Francesco Landini ballata
52 Cantano gl'angiolieti Santus anon. motet ×
53 Io vegio in gran dolo Niccolò da Perugia ballata
54 Chosi pensoso Francesco Landini caccia ×
55 Chi 'l ben sofri non po Niccolò da Perugia ballata
56 Nell' aqua chiara Vincenzo da Rimini caccia
57 Dappoy che 'l sole i dolçi raçi Niccolò da Perugia caccia
58 State su, donne Niccolò da Perugia caccia ×
59 Itta se n'era star Lorenzo da Firenze madrigal
60 No dispregiar vi[r]tu Niccolò da Perugia madrigal
61 Ita se n'era star Vincenzo da Rimini madrigal
62 Soto verdi frascetti Gherardello da Firenze madrigal
63 Mentre che vagho viso Niccolò da Perugia ballata
64 La neve e 'l ghiaccio e venti d'oriente Guglielmus de Francia madrigal ×
65 I pregho amor Francesco Landini ballata
66 Come tradi[r] pe[n]sasti donna may Jacopo Pianelaio da Firenze ballata ×
67 Lasso, per mie fortuno post' amore Francesco Landini ballata
68 Quanto piu charo fay Francesco Landini ballata
69 Per lla 'nfruença di Saturn e Marte Francesco Landini madrigal
70 Se non ti piaque Paolo da Firenze madrigal
70a [Povero pellegrin] Niccolò da Perugia madrigal fragment, one untexted line only
71 Donna, i prego amor Francesco Landini ballata
72 Benche partir da te Niccolò da Perugia ballata
73 Posando l'onbra delle verde fronde anon. madrigal ×
74 Bench'i serva con fe anon. ballata ×
75 Donna, tu pur i vecchi anon. ballata ×
76 [D]iligenter advertant chantores Lorenzo da Firenze antiphon ×
77 Ghaetta anon. estampie ×
78 Chominciamento di gioia anon. estampie ×
79 Isabella anon. estampie ×
80 Tre fontane anon. estampie ×
81 Belicha anon. estampie ×
82 Gia perch'i penso Francesco Landini ballata
83 Bench' amar, crudel donna anon. ballata ×
84 Parlamento anon. estampie ×
85 In pro anon. estampie ×
86 Principio di virtu anon. estampie ×
87 Salterello anon. saltarello ×
88 Trotto anon. trotto ×
89 Salterello anon. saltarello ×
90 Salterello anon. saltarello ×
91 Lamento di Tristano; La rotta anon. dance pair ×
92 La Manfredina; La rotta della Manfredina anon. dance pair ×
93 Salterello anon. saltarello ×
94 Dies irae Thomas de Celano sequence ×
95 Surgit Christus anon. sequence ×
96 In forma quasi tra 'l vegliar Vincenzo da Rimini caccia same as #43
97 I son c'a seguitar Niccolò da Perugia madrigal
98 Ciascum faccia per se Niccolò da Perugia caccia
99 Gi porte mi ebramant Donato da Firenze virelai
100 Con levrier e mastini Gherardello da Firenze madrigal
101 Tremando piu che foglia Rosso da Collegrana madrigal ×
102 Chosa non e ch'a se tanto mi tiri anon. ballata ×
103 Non piu no piu diro Niccolò da Perugia ballata ×
104 El gra disio Francesco Landini ballata
105 Chançonete tedesche anon. "canzonetta tedesca" × textless, appears to give the tenor of four German songs
106 L'alma mia piagie Francesco Landini ballata
107 Nessun ponga sperança Francesco Landini ballata
108 Or sus, vous dormét anon. virelai
109 Segugi a corde anon. caccia
110 Comtenplar le gran cose Francesco Landini ballata
111 Dolcie signorie Francesco Landini ballata
112 La dolce vista Francesco Landini ballata
113 Luce'a nel prato Francesco Landini madrigal
114 Per um verde boschetto Bartolino da Padova ballata
115 Kyrie anon. ordinary of the mass ×
116 Et in terra anon. ordinary of the mass ×
117 Patrem anon. ordinary of the mass ×
118 Tibi Christe splendor anon. hymn × in a later hand
119 [textless piece] anon. madrigal (?) × -

Selected discography[edit]

The following discs contain some of the instrumental pieces taken from this manuscript:

  • Istampitta – Musiques de fête à la cour des Visconti en Italie à la fin du XIVe siècle, Alla Francesca, dir. Pierre Hamon, Carlo Rizzo (Opus 111, OP 30 325)
    Contains three salterelli, the Lamento di Tristano and the istampitte: Isabella, Tre Fontane, Principio di virtù and In Pro.
  • Landini and Italian Ars Nova, Alla Francesca, dir. Pierre Hamon (Opus 111, 60-9206).
    Contains the istampitta Belicha.
  • Tristan et Yseut, Alla Francesca, dir. Pierre Hamon and Brigitte Lesne (Zig-Zag Territoires, ZZT 051002), 2005.
    Contains the Lamento di Tristano.
  • Troubadours – Trouvères – Minstrels, Studio der frühen Musik, dir. Thomas Binkley (Teldec)
    Contains a salterello and the Chançonete tedesche Nbs 1 and 3.
  • Llibre Vermell – Robin et Marion, Studio der Frühen Musik, dir. Thomas Binkley (Teldec)
    Contains the trotto
  • The Art of Courtly Love, Early Music Consort of London, dir. David Munrow (Virgin Veritas)
    Contains the istampitta Tre Fontane
  • Early Music Festival, Early Music Consort of London, dir. David Munrow (London Records, 2 CD), 1998.
    Contains the istampitta Ghaetta, the Lamento di Tristano, La Manfredina, the trotto and a saltarello.
  • Lamento di Tristano, Capella de Ministrers, dir. Carles Magraner (CDM), 2003.
    Contains the istampitte Belicha, Chominciamento di gioia, Ghaetta, In pro, Isabella and Parlamento, the Lamento di Tristano, La Manfredina and three saltarelli.
  • Narcisso speculando, Mala Punica, dir. Pedro Memelsdorff (Harmonia Mundi), 2002.
    Contains the istampitta Isabella
  • Danses, Danseryes, Musica Antiqua, dir. Christian Mendoze (Disques Pierre Verany)
    Contains the Lamento di Tristano, La Manfredina, the trotto and two saltarelli.
  • La Lira d'Esperia, Jordi Savall and Pedro Estevan (Auvidis Astrée).
    Contains the istampitta In pro, the Lamento di Tristano, La Manfredina, the trotto and two saltarelli.
  • Music for a Medieval Banquet, The Newberry Consort, dir. Mary Springfels (Harmonia Mundi)
    Contains the istampitte Cominciamento di gioia, Principio de virtù and the trotto
  • Futuro antico I, Angelo Branduardi (EMI), 1996.
    Contains a Saltarello, the Lamento di Tristano and La Rotta
  • The Lady and the Unicorn, John Renbourn (Transatlantic Records), 1970.
    Contains adaptations of the Trotto, Saltarrello, Lamento Di Tristan and La Rotta.


  1. ^ a b c d e Kurt von Fischer, Gianluca D’Agostino (2001). Sources, MS, §VIII. Grove Music Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.50158. (subscription required).
  2. ^ MADRIGALS, ballads, and motets by Italian composers, viz.: Jacobus de Bolonia. Johannes de Florentia. Franciscus de Florentia. Frater Bartolinus de Padova. Giovanni de Chascina. Ser Lorenzo, prete di Firenze Ser Gheradello. Bonavitus Corsini, pitor. Frate Andrea de ser Vi. Donato da Chascina. Frate Vincenzo. Nicholo del Proposto. Frate Guigliemo di S. Spirito. Francescho degli Organni. Don Paghollo. Rosso de Chollegrana. Vellum; ff. 88. early xvth cent. On f. 2 are the arms of Medici. Belonged in 1670 to Carlo di Tommaso Strozzi. Quarto. Western Manuscripts: Add MS 29987. British Library. Accessed February 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d GB-Lbl Add. 29987: RISM description. Digital Image Archive of Mediaeval Music. Accessed February 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Gilbert Reaney (1965). The Manuscript London, British Museum, Additional 29987: A Facsimile Edition with an Introduction. Musicological studies and documents: 13. [s.l.]: American Institute of Musicology. Introduction previously published as: Gilbert Reaney (1958). The Manuscript London, British Museum, Additional 29987 (Lo). Musica Disciplina 12: 67–91 (subscription required). (page references are to 1965 edition)
  5. ^ Giovanni Carsaniga (1994). An Additional Look at London Additional 29987. Musica Disciplina 48: 283–297. (subscription required)
  6. ^ Timothy J. McGee (1990). "Dança amorosa: A Newly-Discovered Medieval Dance Pair", in Beyond the Moon: Festschrift for Luther Dittmer. Ottawa: Institute for Mediaeval Music. p. 295–306. ISBN 0931902657

Further reading[edit]

  • Richard H. Hoppin, La Música medieval. 2000. Madrid. Ed. Akal. ISBN 84-7600-683-7. (pp. 367–368)
  • Commentaries by Francis Biggi on the booklet of the CD Istampitta – Musiques de fête à la cour des Visconti by Alla Francesca.

External links[edit]