Reconsidering Contrafacts

Practices of Contrafacture in Monophonic Song (1150–1550)

When: 20 June 2024 (week 9), 10am-7pm
Where: Committee Room, Faculty of Music
Convenor: Philip Wetzler

Looking at different repertories of monophonic song between 1150 and 1550, the aim of this workshop is to explore different approaches to the widespread spectrum of practices and concepts of contrafacture: composing new texts for pre-existing melodies. The fact of a song being a contrafact will not be taken as a result but as a starting point for further inquiries. In this workshop we will encounter similarities, analogies, and differences between different regions, languages, genres, and times between 1150 and 1550, looking at Trouvère, Sangspruch and Minnesang, religious song (geistliches Lied), Meistersinger and puy societies.

The schedule will be split into two parts: the first half is reserved for presentations of individual papers with a following discussion, in the second half we will collectively examine and interpret further selected case studies. Anybody interested is welcome to attend the presentations and take part in the discussions. If you want to attend or if you have questions, please email Philip Wetzler.

The workshop is generously funded by the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst e.V.

Preliminary schedule with provisional titles

  • 10:00 – 10:30 Coffee/Tea
  • 10:30-11:00 Introduction
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Joseph Mason, Satire, allusion, erasure: approaches to contrafacture in trouvère songs of war
  • 11:45 – 12:30 Philip Wetzler, From Contrafact to Practices of Contrafacture: Middle High German Sangspruch and Practices of Contrafacture
  • 12:30 – 13:30 Light Lunch Break
  • 13:30 – 14:15 Anna Wilmore, Ludic Lyrics: Play and Piety in Marian Contrafact
  • 14:15 – 15:00 Agnes Rugel, “geistlich lieder, doch in weltlichen weysen”. How practices of contrafacture structure the landscape of religious songbooks in late medieval Germanspeaking areas
  • 15:00 – 15:30 Tea/Coffee Break
  • 15:30 – 17:00 Collective Discussion of Case Studies
  • 17:00 – 17:30 Tea/Coffee Break
  • 17:30 – 18:30/19:00 Collective Discussion of Case Studies
  • 19:00 Dinner (self-paying)

Image from the Hohenfurt Songbook (Hohenfurter Liederbuch), fol. 65r, Hohenfurt / Vyssí Brod (Bohemia), Stiftsbibliothek Ms. 8b