The author re-examines the complete-works manuscripts of Machaut and the question of his role in their production, in light of recent art-historical and philological studies. The discussion proceeds in chronological order, and offers new details about each of the extant complete-works manuscripts, as well as about a few of the lost manuscripts. In addition, a new complete-works manuscript at the National Library of Wales is identified. The study charts Machaut's evolving view of manuscript organization, and speculates on the shape of Machaut's exemplar material and its effect on manuscript organization and the transmission of the works. The original index of manuscript A is found to be a document of primary importance that establishes a new departure in the organization of Machaut's manuscripts, prescribing an order to be followed by the scribe as the manuscript itself was copied. Finally, an examination of the transmission of the motet "Qui es promesses/Ha Fortune/Et non est" provides us with a caveat: even a tradition of music as rich as Machaut's could become corrupted at a very early point, working against Machaut's best efforts to insure the accurate transmission of his works.
- Copyright 1989 The American Musicological Society, Inc.