Appendix: The Status of Attributions in MB 14

1 In my article, “The Keyboard Works of William Byrd: Some Questions of Attribution, Chronology, and Style” (Musica Disciplina 47 [1993]: 99121), I offered lists of keyboard pieces that have been attributed to Byrd either in early sources or by modern scholars, sorted in terms of the status of the attributions. I do the same here for the works of Bull of the types published in MB vol. 14, that is, preludes, fantasias and related works, plainsong settings, and carols. Table 1 lists sources and manuscript sigla; attributions are divided between “safe” ones that seem beyond serious doubt (Table 2) and others whose status is less certain (Table 3).

2 The results here are somewhat different than for Byrd: fewer “safe” attributions in Table 2, and a great many more uncertain ones in Table 3. Moreover, the uncertainties attached to the latter are such that I have not attempted to distinguish various degrees of probability or improbability among the uncertain works. This difficult situation arises for several reasons. There are fewer sources for these works than for Byrd's, and the majority of the pieces are preserved in just four manuscripts. Two of these, Me and Vi, are of uncertain provenance, yet they transmit numerous unica whose attributions seem questionable, not only because of the presence of several conflicting attributions for other works, but, more importantly, because of the stylistic heterogeneity of the Bull attributions. A third major source, Bu, transmits most of the works thought to be Bull's in anonymous copies, although fortunately few of these are unica. The fourth of the major sources, the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, is currently undergoing re-evaluation and is no longer considered the work of the English recusant Francis Tregian, although the status of its attributions seems secure.

3 What, then, constitutes a fully reliable attribution for Bull? I have accepted attributions given by Tomkins and Cosyn, two composer-copyists who appear to have had access to reliable exemplars and who evidently took some care to preserve attributions. Unfortunately these are few in number. I have also accepted attributions given in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, even though the copyists and provenance of this source must now be considered unknown. Although this source transmits texts of variable quality, its attributions are rarely if ever contradicted in other sources, at least for Byrd and Bull. I have also accepted attributions found in any two extant sources, since no existing source appears to be copied from another one, suggesting that their attributions are independent of one another.

4 I have listed all other attributions in Table 3. Clearly the pieces listed here are of varying degrees of doubtfulness. The main point, however, is that students of Bull’s music risk circular reasoning if they assume any of these works to be his. I myself have been guilty of that, having previously pointed out a similarity between one of these and a work for which I named Bull as a possible composer. (The work in question, the Pavan no. 33a in MB, vol. 27, bears a questionable attribution to Byrd in one source; see “The Keyboard Works of William Byrd,” 108.)

5 In a few cases in which the style of a work seems particularly incongruous, previous commentators have proposed alternate attributions, as noted below. I share their doubts about Bull's authorship of these pieces, but I consider many other pieces in Table 3 to be equally doubtful. Barring new discoveries, these are best regarded as a repertory that was associated with Bull’s name. It doubtless contains compositions by him, but it also contains pieces by others that passed through his hands, sometimes with modifications, as well as some that may have had nothing to do with him, other than a perceived commonality of style.

6 Unfortunately, Table 3 includes every one of the pieces that have been posited as Bull’s work from after his departure for the Continent in 1613. Brown (p. xxiii) has described a few of these as possible instances of a “late style” that Bull adopted after his arrival; the hypothesis of such a style is necessary if one is to accept the attributions of these pieces, which differ considerably from the better-attributed ones. But the hypothesis rests almost entirely on the many unique attributions in Me and Vi, especially those attached to two rather different types of pieces: several long fantasias resembling those of Cornet and Sweelinck, and a few liturgical verse settings. Among the few factors common to both types of works seem to be a focus on fairly strict imitative counterpoint and an avoidance of the more flashy and mechanical types of figuration found in what are presumed to be Bull’s earlier works, written before his departure from England in 1613. This is plausible, but it would require Bull, at the age of about fifty and no doubt under considerable personal stress, to have undertaken a complete rethinking of his style while adopting elements of quite different music. It is not impossible, but it would represent a remarkable and perhaps unparalleled case in music history. In other instances, such as the two fantasias on subjects from Palestrina’s madrigal Vestiva i colli, a unique attribution in Me is somewhat more plausible on the basis of apparent echoes of Bull’s earlier style, especially a somewhat facile sort of melodic diminution.

Table 1

Source Sigla

Source sigla are those used in MB. Names in parentheses are those from which the MB sigla are derived; only in the cases of Co, El, and To are these confirmed as actual copyists or owners of the manuscripts.

Be

GB-Lbl Additional MS 31403 (“Bevin”)

Bu

F-Pn Rés. 1185 (“Bull”; actually two main hands, the first unidentified, the second Benjamin Cosyn)

C3

GB-Och Music MS 1207

Co

GB-Lbl Royal Music Library MS 23.l.4, Cosyn’s Virginal Book (“Cosyn”)

D2

US-NYp Drexel MS 5612

El

GB-Och Music MS 1113 (“Elway”)

Fa

Lost MS attributed to Vincentius de la Faille (1625); modern copy in B-Bc

Ki

William Kitchiner, The Loyal and National Songs of England (London: Hurst, Robinson, and Archibald Constable, 1823)

Ly

D-Bds MS Lübbbenau Lynar A1

Me

GB-Lbl Additional MS 23623 (“Messaus”)

P2

F-Pn Rés. 1186bis II

Pe16

Lost MS, in list as belonging to Johann Pepusch in John Ward, Lives of the Professors of Gresham College (London: J. Moore, 1740); reprint, New York: Johnson, 1967; facsimile in Cunningham, pp. 22631

Pe18

Second lost MS of Pepusch

To

F-Pn Rés. 1122 (“Tomkins”)

Tr

GB-Cfm Mu. MS 168, the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (“Tregian”)

Tu

GB-Lbl Additional MS 36661 (“Tunstall”)

Vi

Wn Cod. 17771, the Vienna Bull Manuscript

Wr

GB-Lbl Additional MS 30485 (“Wray”; more recently supposed to be an autograph of Thomas Weelkes)

Table 2

Works with “Safe” Attributions

This includes all works with attributions to Bull in Tr, To, or Co, or in any two independent sources.

Sigla are given in italics for anonymous copies. A key, plus a figure (e.g., d1) is Cunningham’s symbol (I have added the figure “1” in cases for which he gives a letter alone; a letter alone signifies works that he does not list or to which he assigns no number).

No.

Short title

Sources

Comment

Preludes

     

2/1

Prelude G3

Me, Be, Pc

Pc gives altered version

30/1

Prelude d1

Tr, Bu

 

43/1

Prelude G

Tr (no. 197)

 

60

Prelude F1

Tr, Co

“Dor.” in source interpreted as “Doric” in MB

61

Prelude C1

Tr

“AD.” in source interpreted as “Doric” in MB

       

Fantasias and the Like

     

10

Fantasia d1

Tr, Be, Bu

Bicinium until the end

12

Fantasia d3

Co

 

17

Fantasia G

Tr, Vi, etc.

The modulating hexachord fantasia; additional anonymous copies associated with Poglietti

18

Fantasia G

Tr, To, Bu

Very long hexachord fantasia

       

Cantus Firmus Settings

     

20

In Nomine [1

Bu (twice), El, To

 

28

In Nomine [9

Tr, Bu, El

The “great” In Nomine, 11 beats per measure

29

In Nomine [10

To

 

30/2

In Nomine [11

Tr, To

 

31

In Nomine [12

Tr, To

Final d, unlike the other In Nomines (final a)

33

Christe redemptor

Tr

 

34

Miserere [1

Tr, Bu, El, D2, C3, P2

 

37

Salvator mundi [1

Tr, Bu

 

38

Salvator mundi [2

Bu, D2, P2, Be

 

42

Veni redemptor [1

Tr, Bu, Co, El, D2

 

Table 3

Works Lacking “Safe” Attributions

Sigla are given in italics for anonymous copies; in bold for copies with conflicting attributions. A key, plus a figure (e.g., d1) is Cunningham’s symbol (I have added the figure “1” in cases for which he gives a letter alone; a letter alone signifies works that he does not list or to which he assigns no number).

No.

Short title

Sources

Comment

Preludes

     

Prelude G7

Tr

follows preludes G5 and a2

1/1

Prelude d2

Vi

fragmentary “Fantasia” in source

16

Prelude g

Vi

“Fantasia” in source

57

Dorick prelude a4

Bu, El

Shortened version (no. 57a) is by Gibbons?

58

Dorick prelude a5

Bu, El

 

59

Dorick prelude c

Bu

Proposed composer: Cosyn

       

Fantasias and Similar Pieces

     

Fantasia a

Me

a 3; “Chappel”

120 canons

Vi

blanket attribution

1/2

Fantasia d

Vi

 

2/2

Fantasia G1

Me

 

3

Fantasia a

Me

On a subject from G. Guami, “La Guamina”

4

Fantasia a1

Me

On chromatic subject attributed to Sweelinck

5

Fantasia a2

Vi

subject = ascending chromatic tetrachord

6

Fantasia C1

Me

quinti toni

7

Fantasia C

Me

sexti toni, intabulation of “A Leona” (?)

8

Fantasia a

Me

On Palestrina, “Vestiva i colli” (no. 1)

9

Fantasia d

Me

On Palestrina, “Vestiva i colli” (no. 2)

11

Fantasia d2

Tu

Bicinium

13

Fantasia F

Me

sexti toni; proposed composer: Cornet

14

Fantasia G2

Me (twice)

octi toni; proposed composer: Sweelinck

15

Fantasia g1

El

low E-flats raise questions of medium

Ricercar d

Me

primi toni a 4

Ricercar d

Me

altra primi toni a 4

Ricercar C

Me

quinti toni a 4

19

Fantasia G

Me

Arrangement of hexachord fantasia by Du Caurroy

32

God save the King

Ki, Ly

Ly (with alternate ending) attributes to Sweelinck

50

Canon 4 in 2

Be

 

51

Canon 2 in 1

Be, Wr

Proposed composer: Tallis

       

Cantus Firmus Settings

     

21

In Nomine [2

Bu, El, To

Grouped in mss with nos. 20, 2225

22

In Nomine [3

Bu (twice), El, To

Grouped in mss with nos. 2021, 2325

23

In Nomine [4

Bu, El

Grouped in mss with nos. 2022, 2425

24

In Nomine [5

Bu, El

Grouped in mss with nos. 2023, 25

25

In Nomine [6

Bu, El, To

Grouped in mss with nos. 2024

26

In Nomine [7

To

 

27

In Nomine [8

To

 

35

Miserere [2

Vi

 

36

Miserere [3

Bu

 

43/2

Veni redemptor [2

Tr

 
       

Verses

     

Aurora lucis rutilat

Bu (no. 79)

Follows a series of dances; ed. in MB vol. 66

39

Salvator mundi [3

Me

 

40

Salve regina [1

Vi

5 verses

41

Salve regina [2

Vi

2 verses

44

Vexilla regis

Me

4 verses

45

Jam lucis

Me

2 verses on different melodies

46

Te lucis

Me

 

47

Telluris ingens

Me

7 verses on three different melodies

48

Alleluia per te

Me

 

49

Alleluia post partum

Me

 
       

Carols

     

52

Den lustelijken Meij

Me

2 settings

53

Een kindeken [1

Fa

2 settings

54

Een kindeken [2

Fa

2 settings

55

Een kindeken [3

Fa, Me

Bicinium

56

Laet ons met herten

Me

Prelude and carol based on same melody