Anonymous, [Planh] en mort d’En Joan de Cucanh

  • S. XIII (1270); parchment; mm 271 × 211; one folium, with music notation
  • Cividale del Friuli, ‘Archivio Capitolare’, 1484 Capitolo – San Marco di Rubignacco

Occitan lyric of circumstance written in memory of Giovanni di Cucagna and set to music by an anonymous minstrel bound to the court of the patriarch Gregorio di Montelongo.

This late example of ‘liederblätt’ conveys an Occitan complaint (‘weeping’) in memory and praise of the late Giovanni di Cucagna, podestà of Cividale in 1250, and then, since 1252, ministerial servant at the court of the patriarch Gregorio da Montelongo with duties of counsellor and man-at-arms. Only a little more than one year probably elapses between the drawing up of this ‘planh’ from the other one – (En chantan maven a retraire), Occitan as well – written in memory of the patriarch who deceased on September 8th, 1269. «The anonymous author could either be one of the last transalpine poets and musicians come to work in the North-Italian courts or an Italian who had learned to practise those techniques». The loose sheet, contemporary to its writing and having no other witnesses, seems to be conceived for an easy reading, since it was written in a littera textualis script with well identifiable characters. The music script, provided as usual only for the first strophe since it was to be repeated also in the following ones, is the black square notation on tetragrams drawn in black ink. The folium, mutilated due to its reuse as a book cover board, shows what is left: after the heading En mort dEn Joan de Cucanh (On the Death of Master Giovanni di Cucagna), only the eight-verse ‘cobla’ (metre: a10 b10 a10 b10 c10 c10 d10 d10).

The ms. 1484 kept at the Archives of the Chapter of Cividale del Friuli

The ms. 1484 kept at the Archives of the Chapter of Cividale del Friuli

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