Silvius Leopold Weiss and the Dresden and London Manuscripts of His Music

Crawford, Tim. 2009. Silvius Leopold Weiss and the Dresden and London Manuscripts of His Music. Journal of the Lute Society of America, 39, pp. 1-64. ISSN 0076-1526 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Describes and discusses the contents of the two main sources of the lute music of S. L. Weiss (1687-1750). These differ in their makeup, the manner of their compilation, and thus in their significance as primary sources. Both contain several items in Weiss's autograph, but his contribution to the London manuscript (now known to have been owned by a wealthy patron in Prague) was direct, in that he copied this music into a pre-existing book, presumably during his various visits to Prague. The Dresden source, on the other hand, is a set of six volumes, each comprising a collection of separate fascicles using the same tuning of the lute's bass strings; each fascicle in turn contains a single 'Sonata'. The compiler of Dresden seems to have put the manuscript together from various sources, probably gathered in Weiss's late years and soon after his death; some non-autograph items bear comments in his hand. The article further discusses the significance of the prelude as a component of Weiss's sonatas; in a few cases preludes were not supplied by the copyist, who left space for them on an empty page, and Weiss himself has copied a prelude on these empty staves. The overall impression is that preludes were expected to be improvised, and the many examples in both MSS were intended as improvisation models rather than definitive texts.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Computing > Intelligent Sound and Music Systems (ISMS)



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Date Deposited:

10 Jun 2013 11:21

Last Modified:

20 Jun 2017 09:57

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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