Newsidler Portraits and Autograph Manuscripts

Newsidler Portraits and Autograph Manuscripts
Wm. Lawes: Fantasye
Wm. Lawes: Fantasye
Thibault Lute MSS
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Engraving of Melchior Newsidler
by Tobias Stimmer (ca. 1574)


"Portrait of a Musican"
(thought to be Melchior Newsidler)


Melchiore Newsidler's Intabulation of
"Susanne Ung Jour"
by Lupi Didier II



Melchior Newsidler: Autograph Manuscripts


Compiled by Arthur J. Ness (3/2011)


With nearly 250 surviving works, Melchior Newsidler (ca. 1531-after 1590), son (not brother) of Hans Neusidler, remains the most prolific lutenist-composer of the Renaissance.  His finely wrought works mark him as surely the greatest of the central European lutenists. 


In December 1577, Newsidler wrote his patron Wilhelm II, Duke of Bavaria, “Most serene, honorable Prince, kind Lord, Your princely Grace: Sent is my most humble pledge, as well as wishes for a radiant, good, and peace-filled New Year. Always before, when wanting to be remembered by Your princely Grace, I have humbly presented some pieces for the lute. To that end I also want to comply [this year] and therefore have compiled some quite good German dances, which I do humbly present.”


Some of the yearly pieces survive in the Musikabteilung of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, as can be determined by comparing the lute manuscript with the handwriting in the letter. Another fascicle manuscript with autograph pieces is in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris Ms Rès 429.  Below is an inventory of these autograph pieces.


Relevant concordances for the pieces copied by Newsidler are the following (prints are identified by the sigla use in Howard Mayer Brown, Instrumental Music printed before 1600: A bibliography [Cambridge, Mass., 1965]):


1566/2 and 1566/3 (the Venetian prints by Gardano)

1572/1 (the anthology edited by Jobin),

1573/3 (Waissel's anthology drawn from works by a number of lutenists),

1574/5 (the Newsidler works published by Jobin), and

1586/5 (Sixt Kargel's anthology, which likewise borrows from a number of lutenists).


The sign  “<” (“greater than”) indicates that the concordant work has an encrustation of oramentation added to the version as copied by Hand A and the sign “>” (“lesser than”), that the concordant version has less ornamentation.


I give diplomatic spellings of the titles, composer attributions, etc.  Standard spelling  can be found in a reference work like BrownI, cited above.



Mus Ms 266, Nos. 1-14


BSB Digital:



1. (1v-2) Alla dolce Ombra di Cipriano [de Rore] / A 4

2. (2v.1-3) Signor mio Caro di Cipriano / A 4

                        <1566/2, No.7                         =157211, No. 8

3. (3v-4) Carita di signore: / A 4 di Cipriano

                        <1566/2, No. 8]

4. (4-4v) Con leyfus'·io  / Jaques de pont

                        [Does not =1566/2 (different tuning)]

5. (5v-6) Pis ne me Peult Venir a 5/ Criquillon

                        <1572/1, No. 16

6. (6-6v) Vray dieu disois A 4 Orlando [Lasso]

                        < 1566/2, No.15                      =1572/1, No. 28

7. (7v-8) SousSpirs ardans [Arcadelt]

                        <266, No. 136                         < 1566/2, No. 10

8-9. (8v-9) Passa e mezo M[elchiorl N[ewsidler]

                      =1566/2, No. 13

10. (l0v-11) Bewar mich herr [Zirler?]

                        <1572/1, No. 24                      <1574/5. No. 23

11. (11v-12) Iomi son giovinetta [Ferabosco]

            <1572/1, No. 24          <1574/5, No. 23          <Mus ms 266, No. 134

12. (13 [formerly 76ff.]) Hay Lass A. 4 di Orlando [Lasso]

                        <1566/2, No. 12                      <1572/1, No. 21

13. (13v-14) Susanna / Vng Jour A.5. / di Orlando

                      =1566/3, No. 7            <1573/3, No. 22 

                        >Mus ms 266, No. 149

                        (That is, No. 149 is the model for the versions

                        of Mus ms 266, No. 13 and 1573/03, No. 22)

14. (15-16v) Sancta Maria A.6. vocum / di Vertalot



Mus ms 1627, Nos. 1-12


[Note: This fascicle of Mus Ms 1627 was originally bound with Newsidler’s two books of 1566. In 1861 the volume was disbound, and the prints sent to Berlin as Dubletten.  They are presently with other ex-Berlin scores in Cracow.]


 1. (1-3) Gustate at vidate. Prima Pars [Lasso]

                        =1566/3, No. 6

             Diuites Eguerunt: Secunda Pars

                        =1586/5, No. 29

 2. (3v-5) Bene Dicam Dominum:  Prima Pars [Lasso]

                    =1566/3, No.6

               In Domino: Secunta Pars

                        =1586/5, No. 17

 3. (5v-6v) Je ne me puis tenir d'aimer [Appenzeller]


 4. (6v-7v) Jouisance di adrian Willaert

                    [unicum]   [Does not=l566/3, No. 9 or 1572/1, No. 18]

 5. (6v-9) Tutte La Nuit [Crecquillon]

                      >266, No. 164

 6. (9v-l1) Je file quant Dieu me done de quay [Gosse]

                        >Paris, No. 14

 7. (11v) Cumo di aigio lasat'o Vita mia [Azzaiola]  

                        Vocal Model, Munich, Mus. ms. 1503e, No. 1

 8. (12) Tu mi fay star scontiento [G tuning]

                        Vocal Model: Munich, Mus. ms. 1503e, No. 2

 9. ( 12v-13). La ferarese

                    =Stuttg I, fol. 18

            [Unattributed in Stuttg, but among pieces by Newsidler.]

10. (13v-14) Se dire lo soie [Appenzeller]


11. (14v-15) Anchor che col Partire. 4 Vocum / Cipriano di Rore

                        <1574/5, No. 21 )       >266, No. 125

                        =?1571/6: Phalese & Bellere, publ., No. 114

                        [Same intabulation, but different ornamentation]

15. (15v-16v) Fantasia super anchor che col partire di

                      M: Melchior Neusidler 1572

                      <1574/5, No. 46


Mus Ms 2987, Nos. 37-38


BSB Digital


36. (12-12v) Susanna Vng Jour M[elchior] N[ewsidler] [Lupi Didier II]

                        =?1586/5, No. 34 [similar embellishment]

37. (13-13v) Per su hospiti boschi: I A.4. Voce di Constanze festa



Paris, Ms Rès 429, Fasc. I


 2. (2v-4) Passa e' mezo  antico (c) / Saltarello

                       =1574/5, No. 41

 3. (4v-6)  Passa e' mezo  antico (f) / Saltarello

                       =1573/3, No. 28

 4.  (6v-8)  Passa e' mezo antico (d) / Saltarel1o

 5. (8v-10) Passa e' mezo antico (g) Salterello

 6. (19v-12) Passa e' mezo antico (e) / Saltarello

 7. (12v-13) chi Passa Per questa Strata (c/C)

 9. (14v-22) In te domine Sprerauij / prima pars [Lupus]

                        =1574/5, No. 5

                      Et propter Nomem tuum I seconta pars

10. (22-29v) Vita In ligno moritur / prima pars [Senfl]

                    <1574/5, No. 3

                    Qui prophetice / seconta pars

                    Qui Expansis / Tertia pars


11. (38-38v) Stabat mater dolorosa / prima pars [Josquin]

                    Eya mater / secunta pars

12. (38v-47) Benedicta Es Celorum / prima pars

                    <1574/5, No. 1

                    Perillu daue Secunta Pars

                    Nunc mater / Tertia pars

13. (47v-48v) Chi passa per questa strata (d/D)

Paris, Bibliotheque nationale, Rés 429 is in two parts.  That is two separate manuscripts bound together.  Probably copied about 20 years apart. There's no question about the Bavarian origins, specifically Augsburg. The scribe and also the commentary hand in part 2 also appear in the Marco fascicle of Mus Ms 266 in Munich, which came from the Augsburg Library of  Hans Heinrich Herwarth.

Part 1 is in the hand of Melchior Newsidler (b. ca. 1531: son, not brother, of Hans). His handwriting also appears among the Munich lute manuscripts, since he appears to have regularly sent the Duke lute piece as a New Year's gift. The Meyer catalogue fails to identify two motet intabulations in Rés 429: "In te domine" is by Lupus, and "Vita in ligno" is the famous motet by Senfl.  Both appear later in Newsidler's 1574 print. I have an article on the MN autographs in the Festschrift for John M. Ward.

The "Gassenhauer Hans D. von Metz" (folio 2) and a 17th century piece (a galliard in French tablature, folio 13v) added to the manucript.  I think it may have been added by a later owner, who left this ex-libris on folio 1v:

15M89 Viue Domine hodie

Hortensio de Michi

Cav[alie]re di S[an]to Steffano,

e de chi ben gli vuole

[signature:l Michi


Orazio de Micchi?  The famous harp player, no doubt. Could he play from lute tablature?  It is rather easy to do. Lute tablature might be an easy way to have additional works for the meager  harp repertory of the time.

There's another piece that's caused me concern over the years. It's on folios 135-6, and Ruggiero Chiesa (who published it as a piece by Francesco), as well as Madame Rollin, read the title as "Ricercar di F. [da] M[ilano]."  How did I miss it?  Let's see, when they read it literally, they get "Ricercar F. M." Now how do you make a "J". Well often it's like ours, but with tilde at the top of the "J", and a little dash through it.

Could be mistaken for an "F":  ~ + J + -  = F. As in this case. It's a "J" not an "F". It's "Ricercar di  J[ulio] [da]  M[odena]," and appears in da Crema's book of Julio da Modena (Segni) intabulations as "Recercar nono."  The original part music for this ricercar is lost. See Martin Shepherd's comments about Musique de Joye, about half-way down the page:

Segni was organist at St. Mark's in Venice, and later followed Francesco da Milano to Rome as papal chamber musician.  Domenico Bianchini's print of 1546 (etc.) includes two ricercars by Segni.  He was a mosaicist at St. Mark's, so I can imagine that he and Segni may have played echo style if Domenico brought his lute up on the scaffold when he was working and Segni was playing down below.  Could they have invented "Chori spezzati," for which St. Mark's was to become famous.<g>  I’d like to think so.

Of course there's no evidence for my wild specuation.