Antwerp songbook

Antwerp Songbook

Antwerp songbook

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The Antwerp songbook (in Dutch the Antwerps liedboek and on the cover Een schoon liedekens. Boeck inden welcken ghy in vinden sult. Veelderhande liedekens (a nice songbook in which you will find several songs) was published in Antwerp in 1544 by printer Jan Roulans.


The songbook includes lyrics of some 221 'old' and 'new' Dutch songs (Oude en nyeuwe) to banish sadness and melancholy (Om droefheyt ende melancolie te verdrijuen), with reference to the tune to which it was sung but without any musical notation.

At least 5 editions of the songbook are known: folio‘s from 2 probably older editions survived as reinforcement of the cover of other books while the structure of the preserved copy implicates that two earlier editions have existed. Thus, only one edition is preserved in one copy only, collected by Duke August von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel and conserved in the Herzog August Bibliothek (the library also known as Bibliotheca Augusta) in Wolfenbüttel.The reason why only one copy survived must be that two years after publication this songbook was put on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the index of forbidden literature of the Catholic Church’s infamous Inquisition. The printer died later on in prison, where he was held because of having printed clandestine literature. Not that much the political songs, in favour of the House of Habsburg, but rather the songs about depraved and liscencious monks and nuns might have disturbed the Inquisition. Probably, the few...
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