Unexpected Music: Binding Waste of Folio GrC Ar466 Ef54 1537

Front pastedown of the Kislak Center's copy of "Problematum Aristotelis Sectiones Duaequadraginta : Problematum Alexandri Aphrodisiei Libri Duo" (1537) with manuscript Italian lute tablature (ca. 1600?).
Front pastedown of the Kislak Center’s copy of “Problematum Aristotelis Sectiones Duaequadraginta : Problematum Alexandri Aphrodisiei Libri Duo” (1537) with manuscript Italian lute tablature (ca. 1600?). Courtesy Provenance Online Project.

The use of manuscript waste in bindings has been a delight to me ever since I first encountered it. As a print cataloger, my professional commerce with manuscripts is largely limited to these fragments, but fortunately the Kislak Center’s Incunable Collection and Culture Class Collection have put more than a few instances of such waste in my way. Seven times out of ten or so, it comes from liturgical books; twice out of ten from theological or canon law texts; and very occasionally from something else: a Greek grammar, a Latin medical text, a German legal document. One of my favorites, however, is the leaf of lute tablature pictured above, which has been incorporated into the binding of a sixteenth-century science book—a favorite not least because after it was identified for me by Dr. Arthur J. Ness, I was able to record the music it transcribes for this blog post.

Title leaf of the Kislak Center’s copy of “Problematum Aristotelis Sectiones Duaequadraginta : Problematum Alexandri Aphrodisiei Libri Duo” (Basel: Andreas Cratander, 1537). Photograph by the author.

The book in question, Problematum Aristotelis Sectiones Duaequadraginta. Problematum Alexandri Aphrodisiei Libri Duo (Folio GrC Ar466 Ef54 1537), contains two Greek works in Latin translation often published together in the Renaissance: Physika problēmata‏, dubiously attributed to Aristotle, and Iatrika Aporēmata kai Physika Problēmata‏, equally dubiously attributed to Alexander of Aphrodisias. The former comprises “38 books on questions of physics, biology, medicine and morals” and “originate[s] from the teaching at the Peripatos, like most of the other [Aristotelian] dubia” (Meier et al., “Aristoteles” C.5). The latter purports to deal with questions concerning medicine as well as physics, but “[t]he extent to which any of these problems is ‘medical’ needs to be heavily qualified. The topics selected are indeed predominantly concerned with the functioning of animal bodies; but we are definitely not dealing with any sort of therapeutic manual, and the driving force is intellectual curiosity” (Kapetanaki and Sharple 1). Both are translated by the Renaissance humanist Theodōros Gazēs (also known as Theodorus Gaza; ca. 1400-ca. 1475), one of the principal interpreters of Aristotle to the Latin West during the fifteenth century.

Theodoros Gazēs by Cristofano dell’Altissimo (1556). Photograph by Sailko (CC BY-SA 3.0) courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Born in Macedonia, Gazēs was educated in the Greek tradition of enkyklios paideia, “a complete cycle of study which included not only letters, philosophy, mathematics, and science, but also theology” (Geanakoplos 70). His intellectual capacities were recognized early and by the 1420s he had left his home city of Thessalonikē for Constantinople where “Byzantine secular (‘outer’) learning, though in decline from the eminence it had attained in the fourteenth century … still carried on its long tradition of emphasis on classical Greek literature, science, and mathematics” (Geanakoplos 92). Constantinople also attracted aspiring Graecists from western Europe, among them the Italian Francesco Filelfo (1398-1451), with whom Gazēs struck up a friendship that changed the course of his career. Sometime in the following decade—”several years before 1440, and probably in 1434″—Gazēs left Greece for Italy where “Filelfo’s recommendation … secured him entrée in Mantua to study Latin with Filelfo’s close friend the famous teacher Vittorino da Feltre” (Geanakoplos 72). Under Feltre’s tutelage Gazēs added proficiency in Latin to his mastery of Greek and became in his turn one of the most eminent scholar-educators of the Italian Renaissance. He joined the faculty of the Studium (later university) at Ferrara in 1440, where for the next decade “besides teaching elementary Greek grammar, he gave a course in Greek literature, including the reading of authors such as Demosthenes” (Geanakoplos 74). There he also wrote “the ablest of all manuals of Greek grammar compiled by humanists, Byzantine or Latin, for learning Greek in the fifteenth and early sixteenth century” (Geanakoplos 75), first circulated in manuscript and subsequently printed by Aldo Manuzio in Venice in 1495 under the title Introductivae Grammatices Libri Quatuor (ISTC ig00110000).¹

Cardinal Bessarion by  Justus van Gent and Pedro Berruguete (1476).
Cardinal Bessarion by Justus van Gent and Pedro Berruguete (1476). Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

In 1449 Gazēs was invited to Rome by the scholarly Pope Nicholas V to join “the learned papal circle of Greek studies under the aegis of the most influential of all Byzantine émigré scholars, Cardinal John Bessarion” (Geanakoplos 77). As Bessarion’s client Gazēs had access to the cardinal’s library of Greek manuscripts and was tasked with rendering various classical scientific texts into Latin. Among these were Alexander’s Problēmata, translated by Gazēs in 1453, and Aristotle’s Problēmata, translated in 1454. The latter project had previously been assigned to another papal scholar, the brilliant but cantankerous George of Trebizond (1396-1486), whose work on the text remained unfinished when he left Rome after a disagreement with the pope over the accuracy of George’s commentary on Ptolemy’s Almagest and a physical altercation with Nicholas’s secretary Poggio Bracciolini (Monfasani, George of Trebizond 104ff). Gazēs was no friend of George and saw translating Aristotle’s Problēmata as an opportunity to one-up his rival, whom he subsquently derided as a man who “praises the teachings of Aristotle, as though he himself were an Aristotelian philosopher and did not in fact lack all understanding of Aristotle’s language and subject matter” (Labowsky 180).

Convinced that Gazēs was conspiring with Bessarion and others to ruin his reputation, George struck back in 1456 with a screed entitled In Perversionem Problematum Aristotelis a Quodam Theodoro Cage Editam et Problematice Aristotelis Philosophie Protectio [i.e. Protection of Aristotle’s Problematic Form of Philosophy Against the Perversion of Aristotle’s Problēmata‏ Published by a Certain Theodore Cages (sic)], lambasting Gazēs for “funnel[ing] the great Aristotle through his own mind and reduc[ing] him in such a fashion that he prevented Latin philosophers from understanding Aristotle except in the way Gaza himself understood him” (Monfasani, George of Trebizond 154). In particular George called Gazēs out for “totally pervert[ing] the sequence and numbering of Aristotle’s Problems” (Monfasani, “Pseudo-Aristotelian Problemata” 206)—a charge Gazēs could hardly deny, having “reduced the the thirty-eight books of the Greek text of the Problemata to twenty.”

Some problems he simply eliminated because they were duplicated elsewhere or because they made no sense to him. Some problems he split into two because they seemed to him to involve two questions rather than one. But most of all he rearranged the problems. He folded book 6 of the Greek text into book 5 of his translation. He transferred book 9 of the Greek to the end of book 1 of his version. He inserted book 17 of the Greek into the middle of book 13 of his Latin text. He repositioned the Greek book 18 as book 12 in his Latin version. He combined books 23 and 24 of the Greek to form his book 16 and similarly made the Greek books 25 and 26 into his book 17. And he merged together books 31 through 38 of the Greek into one book, book 20, which closes his Latin translation. (Monfasani, “Pseudo-Aristotelian Problemata” 207)

George fulminated in vain: despite Gazēs’s radical alterations to the text, his Latin rendition of the Problēmata “enjoyed a notable manuscript diffusion (at the moment I know of thirteen) before being superseded by a printed revised version in 1475” (Monfasani, “Pseudo-Aristotelian Problemata” 211).

Caption title of a manuscript copy of  George of Trebizond's "In Perversionem Problematum Aristotelis a Quodam Theodoro Cage Editam" (Rome, 1450-1474; ONB Cod. 218 HAN MAG)
Caption title of a manuscript copy of George of Trebizond’s “In Perversionem Problematum Aristotelis a Quodam Theodoro Cage Editam” (Rome, 1450-1474; ONB Cod. 218 HAN MAG). Courtesy Österreichische Nationalbibliothek.

By the time George called him out, Gazēs too had left Rome to teach for three years at Naples, after which he “withdrew for some years to the monastery of San Giovanni a Piro near Salerno” (Geanakoplos 87). His retirement was interrupted by overtures from Cardinal Bessarion and in 1464 Gazēs returned to the papal court to support his patron through the reign of Paul II—no friend to humanist scholarship²—and his more sympathetic successor Sixtus IV. During this period Gazēs produced the aforementioned updated translation of Aristotle’s Problēmata not long after the original version was first printed in Mantua by Johannes Vurster and Johannes Baumeister in the early 1470s (ISTC ia01030000); the revision was issued by Johannes Reinhard of Rome in 1475 (ISTC ia01031000).³ Bessarion’s death in 1473 brought Gazēs’s second stint in Rome to a close: he delivered a brief course of lectures on Aristotle at Ferrara and then withdrew once more to Calabria where he “died obscurely, probably in 1475, and was buried in the Basilian monastery of San Giovanni da Piro” (Geanakoplos 88). The high regard of his Roman colleagues and his students at Ferrara and Naples ensured that Gazēs’s Aristotelian scientific translations continued to be widely used, superseding those of his predecessors: “By the sixteenth century, Gaza had, in effect, become the only game in town” (Monfasani, “Pseudo-Aristotelian Problemata” 212). When Aldo Manuzio chose Gazēs’s texts for his 1504 Latin edition of the Aristotelian and Alexandrine Problēmata‏ (as well as his translations of Aristotle’s De animalibus and Theophrastus’ De plantis), he ensured them lasting influence: “The Aldine edition was reprinted three times, and became in turn the basis for most, if not all, the later editions of Gaza’s translations” (Monfasani, “Pseudo-Aristotelian Problemata” 213).

Printer's device of Andreas Cratander by Jakob Faber after Hans Holbein ("Basler Büchermarken" no. 99 (XI)).
Printer’s device of Andreas Cratander by Jakob Faber after Hans Holbein (“Basler Büchermarken” no. 99 (XI)). Photograph by the author.

Among those following Aldo Manuzio’s lead was Andreas Cratander, who printed the Kislak Center’s copy of Gazēs’s Latin renditions of the Aristotelian and Alexandrine Problēmata. Born Andreas Hartmann in Strasbourg, he took his baccaulaureate at the Univerity of Heidelberg in 1503, then studied the printer’s trade. After setting type for Matthias Schürer of Strasbourg and Adam Petri of Basel, Cratander opened his own shop in Basel in 1518 where over the course of a seventeen-year career he produced “about 200 titles in German, Latin and Greek of Reformation, scientific and humanistic content” [ungefähr 200 Titel in deutscher, lateinischer und griechischer Sprache reformatorischen, wissenschaftlichen und humanistichen Inhalts] (Meier et al., Andreas Cratander 41). His was primarily a scholarly press with a particular interest in the Greek and Latin classics, issuing works by authors from Homer and Pindar to Plutarch and Galen. Problematum Aristotelis Sectiones Duaequadraginta, Problematum Alexandri Aphrodisiei Libri Duo, Theodoro Gaza Interprete is one of two Latin editions of Greek scientific works by Gazēs in Cratander’s catalog.⁴ In folio format, the text is printed in clear roman type with woodcut initials and diagrams. Cratander’s device, a metalcut by Jakob Faber after a design by Hans Holbein depicting Occasio [opportunity, chance] with her customary forelock, razor, and winged sandals (Basler Büchermarken no. 99 (XI); Hollstein’s German Engravings, “Hans Holbein” no. 74c), appears on the volume’s title leaf and last printed leaf.

Binding of the Kislak Center's copy of "Problematum Aristotelis Sectiones Duaequadraginta : Problematum Alexandri Aphrodisiei Libri Duo." Left: Inside front cover. Top right: Detail of bookblock with parchment manuscript waste and two sewing supports. Bottom right: Detail of endband.
Binding of the Kislak Center’s copy of “Problematum Aristotelis Sectiones Duaequadraginta : Problematum Alexandri Aphrodisiei Libri Duo.” Left: Inside front cover. Top right: Detail of bookblock with parchment manuscript waste and two sewing supports. Bottom right: Detail of endband. Photographs by the author.

The Kislak Center’s copy of Cratander’s edition is bound in full, perhaps seventeenth-century limp parchment—that is, in parchment that “is not wrapped around stiff boards, but forms the sole component of the cover” (Pickwoad 209). An inexpensive style, it has not survived the centuries completely intact, allowing us a look inside the binding’s structure. The parchment sheet that forms the cover is both taller and wider than the bookblock it encloses; the excess has been folded inward to increase support along the edges of the binding. The bookblock—twenty gatherings of printed paper leaves, plus endleaves—has been reinforced across its spine with three strips of parchment manuscript waste⁵ and sewn onto five leather thongs, two of which form the cores of the volume’s endbands. These thongs are threaded through the cover to secure it to the bookblock. The cover also preserves the remains of two leather fore-edge ties that would have held the volume closed when not in use. The paper pastedowns—”[e]ndleaves that are adhered to the inside of a cover or to the boards after a book is covered” (“Pastedowns (Features)”—are recycled documents: each contains one page of manuscript affixed written side down to the parchment covering material. “Manuscript waste paper was prevalent in bindings from the last decades of the sixteenth century and throughout the seventeenth,” writes Anna Reynolds, “although it was never used as frequently as printed waste paper (which was available in larger quantities) or parchment waste (which was valued for its durability, strength and flexibility)” (363). Binders sourced their scrap paper wherever they could, reusing “inventories, receipts, and book lists relating to their own shops … [and] other sorts of shops … pages removed from commonplace books and notebooks, as well as drafts of letters … most likely purchased along with old printed books at probate sales, as well as from individuals” (ibid.) The writing on the waste sheet used as the back pastedown of the Kislak Center’s copy of the Problēmata is barely visible through the sheet, but the front pastedown has detached from the cover to reveal its contents: two pieces of lute music—a complete romanesca and a partial galliard—recorded in Italian tablature possibly around the turn of the seventeenth century.

Left: Renaissance lute in six courses built by Jo Dusepo. Right: Detail of sound box.
Left: Renaissance lute in six courses built by Jo Dusepo. Right: Detail of sound box. Photographs by Jo Dusepo (CC BY-SA 4.0) courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Though now largely relegated to the “early music” niche, the lute was once one of Europe’s most popular acoustic instruments. In western musicology the term “lute” refers both to an entire class of devices—the “‘composite chordophones’—string instruments in which a string bearer and a resonator are ‘organically united’ and cannot be separated without destroying the instrument—in which the plane of the string runs parallel with the soundtable” (Wachsmann)—and to a particular member of that class. The European lute is a hollow-bodied wooden instrument whose (historically gut) strings are stopped on the neck by the musician’s left hand to create the notes plucked by the right hand:

The sound box consists of a pear-shaped pinewood soundboard or belly, in the centre of which a decorated sound hole is cut out, and a semi-circular resonator built up from a number of slim wooden ribs. Attached to this corpus is the neck, to which the fingerboard is glued. The strings are attached to the sound box by means of a wooden bridge and run up the fingerboard to the top, where they are attached to tuning pegs; these are located in a peg box that is fixed to the neck at an angle of nearly 90 degrees. (Burgers 12)

All but the highest pitched string are arranged in pairs known as “courses.” A typical Renaissance lute in six courses (such as the reconstruction pictured above) featured “a single top string, second and third courses strung in unison, and the lowest three courses strung in octaves” (Bitner).

Angelic lutanist on horseback from the Steeple Aston Cope (1330-40), England.
Angelic lutenist on horseback from the Steeple Aston Cope (1330-40), England. Courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The lute came to medieval Europe from the Muslim world following the Umayyad conquest of the Iberian peninsula in the eighth century and the Aghlabid subjugation of Sicily in the ninth. Making its way northward mainly through Italy, the lute found increasing acceptance among European musicians during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries:

By the year 1400 the lute had probably become the most important and widespread instrument in Italy … In the German-speaking regions, especially the southern part from Vienna to Nuremberg and Basle, the lute spread during the fourteenth century to become one of the principal musical instruments. In France it was apparently known primarily to poets. The English paid more attention to it than the French since it was used at the royal court. (Smith 33)

During this period the lute was unfretted, its four or five courses played with a plectrum (see image at left); its primary use was to provide accompaniment to singers or other instruments. In the fifteenth century lutenists began plucking the strings with their fingers, at which point the lute’s performative range increased markedly: “A single musician could then play three-, four-, or even five-part motets or chansons, the same repertory that was the staple of a full consort of wind or bowed instruments as well as vocal ensembles” (Smith 46). The introduction of frets—”necessary for playing multiple tones simultaneously with pure intonation” (Smith 53)—and more courses of strings soon followed to accommodate the lute’s expanding repertoire: “Though six courses are standard for most sixteenth-century lute music, the number of strings on the lute gradually increased in the second half of the century. The seventh course on the lute is mentioned as early as 1511 … though it did not become common until after 1560. Printed tablatures requiring an instrument with eight courses appear in the 1580s, with nine courses in the 1600s” (Smith 80).

Printed Italian tablature of "Gagliarda prima parte" for an instrument in six courses with one diapason from p. 29 of "Intavolatura di Liuto di Simone Molinaro, Libro Primo (Venice: Ricciardo Amadino, 1599)
Printed Italian tablature of “Gagliarda prima parte” for a lute in six courses with one diapason from p. 29 of “Intavolatura di Liuto di Simone Molinaro, Libro Primo (Venice: Ricciardo Amadino, 1599) © The British Library Board. Used with permission.

Very few pre-1500 European lute scores remain extant, but the instrument’s surge in popularity coupled with the advent of printing led to substantial survivals from the sixteenth century onward. Douglas Alton Smith estimates the lute’s repertoire in print and manuscript to be more than twenty thousand pieces (96). These are usually recorded as tablature, “a fingering notation in which the symbols do not represent the notes, but the place where a finger of the left hand should press down a string on the fingerboard” (Burgers 22). No single standard of transcription prevailed during the Renaissance, but rather a number of regional systems. “In France, Spain and Italy, lute tablature systems were developed that look superficially like ‘normal’ staves,” explains Jan W.J. Burgers. “However the horizontal lines do not indicate the pitch here, but the strings of the lute.”

There are usually six lines … The letters or digits on those six lines show whether an open string should be played there (by the letter a or the figure 0) or whether the string should be pressed down at a certain fret: the letter b or the figure 1 for the first fret, c or 2 for the second fret and so on … [T]he rhythm is indicated by the symbols at the top. Italy and Spain used the system with figures (with the difference that in Italy the highest string was represented by the bottom line and in Spain by the top line), while in France the tablature used letters … Apart from the notes to be played, various symbols were used to indicate ornaments or which finger of the right and/or left hand had to be used. (22-23)

The Kislak Center waste is written in Italian tablature representing six courses—Helmholtz g′′ d′′ a f c G (i.e. G4, D4, A3, F3, C3, G2)—with one diapason [bass string]—Helmholtz F (i.e. F2)—notated above the staff and below the rhythm symbols. The division lines mark off rhythmic groups rather than timed measures and the dotted double bars at the ends of phrases are repeat signs.

Detail ("Romanes[ca]" in Italian lute tablature) of front pastedown of the Kislak Center's copy of "Problematum Aristotelis Sectiones Duaequadraginta : Problematum Alexandri Aphrodisiei Libri Duo."
Detail (“Romanes[ca]” in Italian lute tablature) of front pastedown of the Kislak Center’s copy of “Problematum Aristotelis Sectiones Duaequadraginta : Problematum Alexandri Aphrodisiei Libri Duo.” Photograph by the author.

The composition on the upper portion of the waste leaf is titled “Romanes[ca],” a somewhat fluid term that refers to “a melodic-harmonic formula used in the 16th and 17th centuries as an aria for singing poetry and a subject for instrumental variations” characterized by “a descending descant formula supported by a standard chordal progression whose bass moves by fourths. This scheme is to be viewed as a flexible framework, rather than as a fixed tune; it provided, though often disguised by elaborate ornamentation, the melodic and harmonic foundations for countless compositions labelled ‘romanesca’” (New Grove XXI, 577). Sixteenth-century romanescas are usually in triple meter; our example, however, follows seventeenth-century practice and is written in duple meter. Its bass line does indeed move by fourths, descending from E-flat to B-flat to F in most of the piece and rising from G to C to F near the end. The romanesca’s opening chord, bizarrely, contains a tritone—open A in the third course against fingered E-flat in the second and fifth courses—which is repeated throughout. This dissonance is probably the result of scribal error, given the deprecation of the tritone as diabolus in musica [the devil in music] at this time. When transcribing the romanesca in order to make the following (extremely rough!) recording in MuseScore, I corrected the tritone to a perfect fifth (fingered B-flat in the third course).⁶ Whether such fingering is possible I must leave to be determined by actual lutenists.

“Romanes[ca]” (ca. 1600), transcribed and edited by the author
Detail ("Gaglia[rda?]" in Italian lute tablature) of front pastedown of the Kislak Center's copy of "Problematum Aristotelis Sectiones Duaequadraginta : Problematum Alexandri Aphrodisiei Libri Duo."
Detail (“Gaglia[rda?]” in Italian lute tablature) of front pastedown of the Kislak Center’s copy of “Problematum Aristotelis Sectiones Duaequadraginta : Problematum Alexandri Aphrodisiei Libri Duo.” Photograph by the author.

On the lower portion of the waste leaf is the first phrase of a composition with the partially illegible title “Gaglia[…],” almost certainly a gagliarda (in English, galliard), a sixteenth-century dance often associated with the pavane. Its choreography involved “a variety of the cinque pas, a step pattern of five movements”—four hopping kicks and a leap ending in a posture with one foot before the other—”taken to six minims [half-notes]” (New Grove IX, 49).⁷ A conventional galliard is composed in triple meter, “usually in three strains of regular phrase structure (8, 12, or 16 bars), and … in a simple, homophonic style with the tune in the upper part” (New Grove IX, 450). What we have of this gagliarda is its first twelve-bar phrase, which also includes the galliard’s characteristic hemiola—here a change from three two-beat groups of notes to two three-beat groups—before the cadence (C to F).

“Gaglia[rda?]” (ca. 1600), transcribed and edited by the author

The tablature for both gagliarda and romanesca contains adumbrated rather than full performance directions. Only changes of rhythm are explicitly signaled as “each rhythm sign remain[s] valid until it [is] replaced by another” (New Grove XXIV, 910).⁹ The dot or dots which accompany some numbers are “likely … to have been a fingering indication for the right hand (. = 1st, .. = 2nd, ∴ or ∵ = 3rd, …. = little finger)” (ibid.), but further interpretation—tempo, dynamics, ornamentation, and so forth—appears to be left to the lutenist’s discretion.

Unfortunately I don’t know enough about lute music to determine whether these are drafts or transcriptions of known works or new additions to the repertoire—or whether they were discarded as failed experiments or student exercises. I welcome the attention of lutenists and early music mavens to these questions (and if anyone cares to record these pieces properly, I am quite willing to link to the results). The back pastedown also contains manuscript music, although it cannot be read through the paper with the naked eye. Perhaps at some point imaging technology could be used to examine this waste sheet in situ, see whether it contains more of the galliard or another composition, and make whatever is discovered available for analysis and performance as well. After all, even Aristotle recommends the study of music because “we seem to have a certain affinity with tunes and rhythms; owing to which many wise men say that the soul is a harmony or that it has harmony” (661); we are enriched by the ability “to enjoy beautiful tunes and rhythms, and not merely the charm common to all music” that comes from formal training in singing or playing an instrument (665).¹⁰ It pleases me to recover evidence of this enjoyment that but for the needs of another discipline would have been lost.

Many thanks once again to Dr. Arthur J. Ness who kindly identified and dated this manuscript for me. Thanks also to Mr. Sean Burman for answering my music theory questions. Any errors in this post, however, are all mine.


¹ The Kislak Center holds a copy of this work in its Incunable Collection under the call number Folio Inc G-110.

² For particulars of Pope Paul II’s antagonism toward humanism, see John F. D’Amico, Renaissance Humanism in Papal Rome (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), 92ff and Anthony F. D’Elia, A Sudden Terror: The Plot to Murder the Pope in Renaissance Rome (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009), 80ff.

³ Gazēs himself took an interest in working with the fledgling Roman printing industry, co-editing with Giovanni Andrea Bussi Aulus Gellius’ Noctes Atticae (ISTC ig00118000) and Pliny’s Natural History (ISTC ip00787000) for the pioneering press of Konrad Sweynheim and Arnold Pannartz. The latter text “included … an excerpt in Greek taken from the original text of Plato’s Gorgias … [which] quite possibly constitutes the very first specimen of Greek (apart from titles or isolated words) to be printed in the Italian Renaissance” (Geanakoplos 87).

⁴ The other is Aristotelis et Theophrasti Historias (1534; VD 16 A 3460), which contains Gazēs’s translations of Aristotle’s De Animalium and Theophrastus’s De Plantis.

⁵ The waste comes from a Latin manuscript written in a small and much-abbreviated Gothic hand; unfortunately I have not been able to identify the original text. The reader is encouraged to ponder the images at the Provenance Online Project in the hope of solving this riddle.

⁶ I also added the arpeggiations, which are not notated in the tablature, so that the recording would sound less dull.

⁷ The basic choreography can be seen in this video; more complicated versions are danced in this one and this one.

⁸ See note 6.

⁹ Early ltalian lute tablature had its own set of rhythm signs—| for a whole note, | with one flag for a half note, and so on—but “[i]n later sources, both printed and manuscript, the normal staff notation rhythm signs tended to replace the traditional lute ones” (New Grove XXIV, 910), as they have in this manuscript.

¹⁰ As long as it isn’t the flute; see Aristotle 664-667. My apologies to all the flautists of my acquaintance.

Works Cited

Aristotle. Politics: With an English Translation by H. Rackham. The Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959.

Bitner, Walter. “Renaissance Lute.” Walter Bitner: Off the Podium, 3 February 2017. walterbitner.com/2017/02/03/renaissance-lute/. Accessed 8 April 2021.

Burgers, Jan W.J. The Lute in the Dutch Golden Age: Musical Culture in the Netherlands 1580-1670. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2013.

Geanakoplos, Deno John. Constantinople and the West: Essays on the Late Byzantine (Palaeologan) and Italian Renaissances and the Byzantine and Roman Churches. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1989.

Heitz, Paul. Basler Büchermarken bis zum Anfang des 17. Jahrhunderts. Strassburg: J.H. Heitz, 1895.

Hollstein’s German Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts. Vol. 14A: Hans Holbein the Younger (continued). Compiled by Robert Zijlma. Roosendaal: Koninklijke van Poll, 1988.

Kapetanaki, Sophia, and Robert W. Sharples. “Introduction.” Pseudo-Aristoteles (Pseudo-Alexander), Supplementa Problematorum: A New Edition of the Greek Text with Introduction and Annotated Translation. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2006.

Kristeller, Paul Oskar. Catalogus Translationum Et Commentariorum: Mediaeval and Renaissance Latin Translations and Commentaries: Annotated Lists and Guides, Vol. 1. Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1960.

Labowsky, Lotte. “An Unknown Treatise by Theodorus Gaza.” Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies 6 (1968): 173-198.

Meier, Eugen A., et al. Andreas Cratander—Ein Basler Drucker und Verleger der Reformationszeit. Basel: Helbing & Lichtenhahn, 1966.

Meier, Mischa, et al. “Aristoteles.” Brill’s New Pauly, edited by Hubert Cancik et al., translated by Christine F. Salazar and Francis G. Gentry, Brill, 2006, dx.doi.org.proxy.library.upenn.edu/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e136530. Accessed 25 November 2020.

Monfasani, John. George of Trebizond: A Biography and Study of His Rhetoric and Logic. Leiden: Brill, 1976.

—. “The Pseudo-Aristotelian Problemata and Aristotle’s De Animalibus in the Renaissance.” Natural Particulars: Nature and the Disciplines in Renaissance Europe. Eds. Anthony Grafton and Nancy Siraisi. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999. 205-247.

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd ed. Ed. Stanley Sadie. New York: Grove’s Dictionaries, 2001.

“Pastedowns (Features).” Language of Bindings Thesaurus, edited by George Boudalis et al., http://www.ligatus.org.uk/lob/concept/1493. Accessed 7 May 2021.

Pickwoad, Nicholas. “The Interpretation of Bookbinding Structure: An Examination of Sixteenth-Century Bindings in the Ramey Collection in the Pierpont Morgan Library.” The Library 17.3 (September 1995): 209-249.

Reynolds, Anna. “‘Worthy to Be Reserved’: Bookbindings and the Waste Paper Trade in Early Modern England and Scotland.” The Paper Trade in Early Modern Europe. Eds. Daniel Bellingradt and Anna Reynolds. Leiden: Brill, 2021. 342-370.

Smith, Douglas Alton. A History of the Lute from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Lexington: Lute Society of America, 2002.

Wachsmann, Klaus, et al. “Lute.” The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. 2nd ed. Oxford Reference. www-oxfordreference-com.proxy.library.upenn.edu/view/10.1093/acref/9780199743391.001.0001/acref-9780199743391-e-4532. Accessed 8 April 2021.

5 responses to “Unexpected Music: Binding Waste of Folio GrC Ar466 Ef54 1537”

  1. Fascinating. Loved the recording. BTW, you might not want to right justify text — it results in irregular spacing and huge gaps unless you also use a program that breaks words and hyphenates.

    • That’s odd; it’s working for me. If anyone else has a problem with it, please let me know and I’ll see if someone more adept with WordPress than I can troubleshoot it.

  2. I found the images on flickr.com. One of the spine fragments (Penn Libraries GrC Ar466 Ef54 1537 Folio: Binding Waste) is from Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae/Part IIa/Q68, a 6 ad 2. I posted the full text and link on flckr.com

    • Thank you very much! I have updated the book’s catalog record to include this information.

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