Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, Codex Q 18 (olim 143) preserves various genres. Frottole and laude, many with complete texts, occupy the first nineteen folios; the remainder of the manuscript consists of approximately seventy textless pieces, one a 5, some a 3, the majority a 4. More than half of these textless pieces have not been found in any contemporary source. None of the pieces in the manuscript bears an attribution, although from concordant readings 45 pieces can be attributed to, among others, Isaac, Josquin, Compère, Tromboncino, Brumel, Cara, Caron, Busnois, and Agricola. The last third of the manuscript was copied by Giovanni Spataro (ca. 1458-1541), the famous and influential theorist, teacher, choirmaster, and composer, who around 1500 was in the employ of the youngest son of the Bentivoglio, the ruling family of Bologna. Watermarks, scribal features, and repertory establish with near certainty that the manuscript originated as a unit in Bologna between the years 1502 and 1505. The majority of compositions in Q 18 are at least suitable for instrumental performance. It seems likely that the manuscript was compiled with instrumental performance in mind. Bologna boasted at least two groups capable of performing these pieces: one, the civic wind ensemble called the Concerto palatino della Signoria, and the other, noble and bourgeois amateur musicians who were known to have performed alongside professionals. Both the position of these two groups within the context of musical patronage under the Bentivoglio family and the place of Bologna in northern musical culture are illuminated by means of newly recovered documents and through the repertory of Q 18.
- Copyright 1988 The American Musicological Society, Inc.