French-Language Chansonniers from Florence

From the 1440s until the 1490s, Florentines copied and collected French songs in compilation manuscripts called Chansonniers. These collections are of particular importance for historians of early polyphonic music, since many witnesses to French song from other locales, such as modern day France or the Low countires, have been lost. The nine chansonnier manuscripts dating from this period in Florence provide evidence of the large repertoire of French-language songs that Florentines had at their disposal, and suggest that French-language songs held a cultural significance for them as well.

Individual Chansonnier Manuscripts (all produced in Florence)

  • Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Urb. Lat 1411 (ca. 1440s)
  • Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale MS Magl. xix.176 (ca. 1480)
  • Berlin, Staatliche Museen de Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinett, MS 78.C.28 (ca. 1470s)
  • Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, MS 2356 (ca. 1480)
  • Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds Français 15123 (early to mid 1480s)
  • Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale MS Banco Rari 229 (ca. 1492)
  • Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Cappella Giulia, XIII.27 (ca. 1492-94)
  • Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale MS Magl. xix. 178 (ca. early 1490s)
  • Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale, MS Q17 (mid 1490s)

Secondary Literature

Gallagher, Sean, “The Berlin Chansonnier and French Song in Florence, 1450-1490: A New Dating and Its Implications,” The Journal of Musicology 24:3 (2007), 339-364.

Fallows, David. A Catalog of Polyphonic Songs, 1415-1480. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, 6-38.

———. “French as a courtly language in fifteenth-century Italy: the musical evidence.” Renaissance Studies 3:4 (1989), 429-441.