30th Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies
Fordham University, Lincoln Center, New York City: March 27-28, 2010

Árni Heimir Ingólfsson, "Rask 98, Modal Change, and the Transmission of Medieval Music in 17th-Century Iceland"

Written around 1660 by an unknown scribe, Rask 98 is the largest surviving music manuscript from post-Reformation Iceland and an invaluable source for our understanding of Icelandic musical culture in the 17th century. A remarkably eclectic source, Rask 98 contains a variety of music from continental sources, but also uniquely transmits 21 songs to secular texts, the only such examples known from this period in Iceland. My study seeks to situate this manuscript in a cultural context, and to explain the curious changes in modality that seem to occur in songs that had travelled to Iceland from such places as Spain, France, and Germany. Certain aspects of the transmission of these songs suggest that once in Iceland, they became part of an oral tradition, undergoing transformations that have not until now been fully understood. I seek to explain these by looking at later oral traditions in Iceland, in which remarkably similar changes in modalities of native songs takes place.


Last modified: Oct. 13, 2009
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