SPECHTSHART, HUGO, REUTLINGENSIS (ca. 1285-1359/60). Flores musicae. [Strassburg: Johann Prüss, ca. 1492].
Chancery 4o (189 x 135 mm). Collation: A8 B-C6 D6(D2+folding woodcut chart) E-N6 O4 (A1r title and woodcut, A1v table of contents, A3r prologue, A6v woodcut repeated from title, A7r text, A8v woodcut of hand, O4r Exercitium vocus musicalium, O4v blank). 84 leaves, without the inserted folding leaf in quire D. 35 lines and headline. Types: 13:146G (title, headlines), 8:80G (text). Full-page woodcut on A1v, repeated on A6v, of village scene showing Jubal in the foreground with his forge and workmen, and Tubal-Cain in the background chiseling musical notes on a column; full-page woodcut of the Guidonian hand with typographic and woodcut captions; woodblock-printed music on 5-line staves throughout. Woodcut Lombard initial capitals. (Some dampstaining, small stain to last leaf, lacking the folding inserted woodcut of the Pythagorean division of the monocord [stub remaining between D4 and D5].)
Binding: contemporary German blind-stamped half pigskin over wooden boards, tooled with a repeated rhomboid unicorn tool and a flower and leaf roll, the tools not in Kyriss or Schwenke-Sammlung; two brass fore-edge catches (rubbed, upper corners chipped, lacking clasps, endpapers renewed)
Provenance: later musical annotations to woodcut of hand -- Herbert Reichner, editor of Philobiblon, his collection and stock sold en bloc to Lathrop Harper (1971).
Third edition of this important pedagogical treatise on ecclesiastical chant, containing the EARLIEST EXAMPLE OF PRINTED MUSIC IN A WORK OF MUSIC THEORY. Hugo Spechtshart (who identifies himself in chapter 4, M4r), parish priest and possibly Latin schoolmaster at Reutlingen, wrote several treatises in verse, on music, grammar and history, for the use of students. Composed between ca. 1332 and 1342, the Flores musicae is written in 265 rhyming Latin hexameters, accompanied, in the many extant manuscripts of the work and in the Prüss editions, by an anonymous commentary in prose that includes musical examples. Four chapters treat solmization, the monochord, intervals, and the ecclesiastical modes. The work's importance lay in its clear and easily comprehensible presentation of traditional theory; it influenced generations of young clerics and was a principal source for later works of music theory, by Hollandrinus, Wollicks, and Jacob Twinger. Prüss's first edition of 1488 clearly met a large demand and was soon depleted, requiring him to reprint the work ca. 1490 and again about two years later. All editions are rare; of the present edition only one complete copy is held by an American institution (Huntington Library).
HC 7173*; BMC I, 126 (IA. 1735); CIBN H-310; IBP 2888; IGI 4925; Klebs 525.3; Oates 214; Schreiber 5271a; Schramm XX, p. 27 (1226-1227); Goff F-219.