New Lyrics for Obrecht's Liedekens

L.P. Grijp

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This article is about the musical settings of Dutch secular texts by the famous Flemish composer Jacob Obrecht (1457/58-1505). Most of Obrecht’s liedekens have been handed down without full text, often with just the first line. Were these compositions meant as instrumental or vocal pieces? Assuming the latter possiblility as a working hypothesis, the author reports about a project he performed with Camerata Trajectina in 2005, in which Obrecht’s liedekens were supplied with new text by the Dutch poet Gerrit Komrij. These practical efforts are evaluated now from a scholarly point of view. Taking "Ic draghe de mutse clutse" as an example the author demonstrates his working method and the considerations involved. First, a reconstruction was made of the textform, i.e. a scheme of rhymes and accents. Next, the abstract scheme was made visible/audible by means of a dummy text. Finally, Komrij was asked to write new texts, using the dummy as a model. During the reconstruction process tiny rhythmic details were found that implied important evidence for the vocal origin of this music. They underline the general impression that Obrecht’s notes become much more meaningful when the liedekens are performed vocally – even with words Obrecht has never known.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-322
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Alamire Foundation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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