partbook, 1581-8; provenance: England, 'Dow Partbooks'
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DIAMM information (this information supersedes that given in RISM or the Census Catalogue) (John Milsom, 2010):
Published in facsimile by DIAMM (See DIAMM publications page).
Description from Christ Church Library Music Catalogue.
Manuscript. Complete set of five partbooks containing motets, anthems, consort music and consort songs, copied principally by Robert Dow (1553-88), fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, with later additions by John Baldwin and an unidentified copyist; English, c. 1581-88 (Dow), and later. This set is one of the most important surviving music manuscripts from Elizabethan England, and a major source of works by William Byrd. It is also famous for Dow's exquisite penmanship, executed in black ink over staves previously printed in red. (An image Mus. 988, opened at the bass voice-part for no. 20, Thomas Tallis's 'Salvator mundi [I]', can be viewed here.) For a detailed discussion of the history and codicological structure of these partbooks, together with a biography of Robert Dow, see the article by David Mateer listed in the Bibliography below. For a discussion of the printed music paper on which Dow copied the music, see the article by Fenlon & Milsom. For transcriptions, translations and discussion of Dow's verbal Latin commentaries, written into the partbooks largely at the ends of individual pieces, see Boyd. For information about the consort songs (items 102-126 in the inventory below, excluding the pieces by Byrd), see the edition by Philip Brett listed in the Bibliography.
The volumes are unfoliated. Dow himself numbered items 1-52. Baldwin numbered items 53-4 (also adding '55' in error in Mus. 984-5). The remaining contents were left unnumbered until the 19th century. Various later hands (including that of Havergal) continued the numbering system, in sequences that do not always agree with one another. (In particular, Baldwin's '55' caused confusion; and there is some uncertainty about how to number secunda and tertia partes of multi-section pieces.) In the inventory below, column 1 shows a rational numbering system, which sometimes differs from the numbers actually written into the volumes themselves (shown in column 2), and from Mateer's system (which is not reproduced here). Dow's form of representing a composer's name often varies from partbook to partbook; the version shown in column 3 (when displayed in the form of the MSS) reproduces his fullest and/or most modern variant. Titles of works (when displayed in the form of the MSS) are derived from incipits as they appear in Mus. 984, except (1) in pieces where the opening text-phrase is sung only by other voices, in which case the highest-sounding participating voice is followed; and (2) for consort songs, where the incipit follows that of the 'singing part'. The following pieces were not copied by Dow:
• nos. 53-4: copied by John Baldwin.
• nos. 99-100: copyist unidentified.
Oblong format, c. 200 x 150 mm. The music has been copied on sheets previously printed with red staves, of a type issued by Tallis and Byrd under the conditions of their 1575 royal patent; for details, see Fenlon & Milsom. Collation and watermarks: see Mateer. All five partbooks contain some pages of unused ruled staves; no attempt is made here to list them, on account of the absence of a foliation system. For information about the order in which the contents were entered into the partbooks, see Mateer. Late 16th-century covers of brown leather over boards. Upper and lower covers: gold-tooled with fillets, enclosing a central ornamental panel flanked by the initials 'G. T.' (= Giles Thomson; see Mateer, and section on Provenance below). (An image of the upper cover of Mus. 987 can be viewed here.) Gilt edges. Stubs of black ribbon ties at the upper, lower and fore edges. Spines gold-tooled with fillets, and (at the head) abbreviated voice-designations: 'S/M/C/T/B'. Bookplate 2. An index of contents by Havergal (arranged alphabetically by composer) is pasted into the front of Mus. 984. 19th-century shelfmarks: F.1.23-7. All five volumes appear to have been lightly repaired and partially rebacked, probably in the early 20th century.
Provenance: according to Mateer's researches, at Dow's death the partbooks passed to Giles Thomson, a former colleague of Dow's at All Souls, and later Dean of St George's Chapel, Windsor; he died in 1612. The Windsor connection helps explain the additions made to the partbooks by John Baldwin (d. 1615), who was a singing-man at St George's Chapel. From Thomson, the books passed to Gregory Baker (d. 1637), then to his son Giles Baker (d. c. 1661). The next trace of the set is as part of the Aldrich bequest, where it is listed in Dowding at position N.2.4 as 'Latin Psalms / By Tallis &c MS. 5 voc. 1581'. Possibly the set was acquired by Aldrich together with Mus. 979-83, copied wholly by John Baldwin, which is also of Windsor provenance.
Microfilm: manuscript music, reel 33
Census Catalogue Description:
From Census-Catalogue of Manuscript Sources of Polyphonic Music 1400-1550 5 vols., Renaissance Manuscript Studies (Neuhausen-Stuttgart: American Institute of Musicology, Hänssler Verlag, 1979-1988) Vol. 2, p. 317 and Vol. 4, p. 459
This information is reproduced here by kind permission of the publishers. It is COPYRIGHT and copying/reproduction of any of this content without permission may result in legal action.
1 Magnificat section, 5 hymns, 1 set of Lamentations, 49 motets, 22 anthems and English sacred pieces, 28 English secular pieces, 4 French secular pieces, 3 Italian secular pieces, 1 textless canon, 13 instrumental pieces = 127
Bruster-1, Bull-1, Byrd-56, (Edwards?)-1, R. Farrant/(Byrd/R. Parsons 1)-1, A. Ferrabosco I-2, N. Giles-1, (Hunnis?)-1, R. Johnson I-1, Lassus-3, Mallorie-1, Mocheni-2, W. Mundy-1, R. Parsons I-6, R. Parsons I/(Byrd)-1, R. Parsons I/(Wilder)-1, Shepherd-1, Strogers-6, J. Tailer [Mr. Tayler; Tailer]-1, Tallis-6, Taverner-1, Tye-4, Tye/(Maillard?)-1, Tye/(Verdelot/Wilder)-1, R. White-13, R. White/(M. White)-1, Wilder [Phillips]-1, Woodcocke-2, anon-9
5 paper partbooks (D-ii + i + 93 folios, Medius-ii + 93 + i, AT-ii + 95 + i folios each, B-ii + 89 + i), 142 x 194. No foliation or pagination. Original numbering of Latin pieces at beginning, 1-54; modern ink and pencil numbering of pieces in remainder of manuscript, 55-99 + 99b-133 ("133" applied to three different pieces; some partes counted separately). Early l7th-century covers of brown leather on cardboard, tooled in gold with decorative borders and initials "G.T." Modern index on flyleaves at beginning of D lists pieces alphabetically by composer (R. White works listed first, out of order). Black void mensural notation on orange staves; cantus firmus in some pieces in black mensural notation.
The main scribe was probably Robert Dow the Younger. Pieces #53-54 are slightly later additions in the hand of John Baldwin (see below), who also copied LonBLM 24 d.2, OxfC 979-83, part of OxfBMS e.376-81, and "My Ladye Nevells Booke" (last-named manuscript not within scope of this catalogue). #98-99 possibly copied by Dow, using less formal hand, or may be work of a third, unidentified scribe. No initials, but some text incipits copied in ornamental script. Latin epigrams on various folios include comments on the art of music and evaluations of particular composers (see BoydE).
1581-8, with slightly later additions (BernsCE). Copied in Oxford. The compiler and original owner was Robert Dow the Younger (ca. 1554-1588), fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Later owned by John Baldwin, a singer and clerk at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and gentleman of the Chapel Royal from 1594; Baldwin added two pieces. Later owner "G.T." added present bindings stamped with his initials. Acquired by Henry Aldrich (1647-1710), Dean of Christ Church, Oxford; bequeathed to Christ Church Library in 1710.
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