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This small "Groningen" music collection was created thanks to the cooperation and effort of Jos Hermans, professor of western manuscript and book science at the University of Groningen. We owe him that all these small fragments could be found, transcribed and performed. Since 1987, when Jos and I first met, "Groningen's little pieces of music", as he called them, came to surface. Jos died on July 27, 2007. His great wish, to make a CD with a book, was finally realized in 2012: ‘Klinkende Klei’. It really is a wonderful book with a beautiful CD; the third edition has now been published.

The music from the region of Groningen was written between the 12th and the 16th centuries. For early music lover discovers an interesting diversity of musical styles: Gregorian chant, early polyphony, chanson, organ music and instrumental consorts. This repertoire can be heard on the CD ‘Klinkende Klei’ and can also be viewed / downloaded on this site.

The Groningen repertoire originated mainly in churches and monasteries: St Martin's Church in Groningen, the monastery at Hellum, the monastery at Aduard, the monastery at Selwerd and the monastery at Winsum. We also used sources related to this indirectly, such as a liturgical manuscript in Aosta, liturgical music from Utrecht and an organ tablature from Oldenburg (the monastery near Lingen).

The profane instrumental music by the Groningen humanist and organist / lute player Rudolph Agricola (1444 -1485) is particularly interesting. Two manuscripts that contain his music were made in Ferrara, in or just after the period when Agricola was employed there as an organist and lutenist (1475/76). This instrumental work by Rudolph Agricola, believed to be by a number of musicologists based on the names (Roelkin, Boisvrin) can be found in two manuscripts (now preserved in Segovia and Rome).

Two hymnbooks from the Martini Church contain Gregorian chant and also simple polyphony. Interestingly, this Gregorian chant is attuned to the most sung (and depicted in the church) Saints of the Martini Church, such as John the Baptist and St. Odger. Since about 1220, the Martini Church in Groningen had a relic in the shape of the arm of St. John the Baptist, kept in a precious reliquary. In 1360, indulgences were envisioned for those who visited the arm for reasons of devotion, prayer, or pilgrimage. A papal indulgence from 1399 dares of a large public rush every time the arm is displayed in the church, and aims to promote this devotion (because that brought money into the drawer). The operation of the altar, on which this relic was kept, was - demonstrably from 1372 - entirely in the hands of the Groningen city council. The relic was kept in the Martini Church, until at least the third quarter of the 16th century.

Odger is an eighth-century gospel preacher, and possibly the first patron of the Martini Church. Together with Martinus and Johannes he is mentioned on the central vault of the southern aisle of the Martini Church. He is depicted on the mirror-like vaulted surface in the north aisle of the church, with a palm branch in the right hand and a book in the left. In the Middle Ages, the city's main market fell on Odger's name day, which is September 10.

Ave spes et salus infirmorum - "Greetings hope and healing of the sick" (also in the responsorial from the Martini Church) is a well known Marian song from the 15th century. It has been passed down in Bohemia as a three-part song and in the Segovia Codex, which, as said, also contains music by Agricola, we can find a number of arrangements for instrumental ensemble.

Groningen, april 2017, Jankees Braaksma

Would you like to have more info about the music, are you curious about other sources, or you use this music for a performance, recording or publication: could you please let me know? You may send me a message: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Spotify: The Easterplay from Hellum

CD: The Easter Play from Hellum

Catharijneconvent at Utrecht (BMH h 7, ca 1200, f.45)

 Pdf transcription: Hellums Paasspel

The 'Easterplay from Hellum' has been passed down in a 12th-century manuscript, unique to the Netherlands, of a missal, which was probably used in the St. Walfriduskerk in Hellum in Groningen.


De Winsumer orgeltabulatuur 1430-1431

Ms. Theol. Qu. Lat. 290, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz

Soundcloud: Frysicum, Wol up ghesellen, Summum Sanctus



PDF transcription: Frysicum tenor melodie, Frysicum, Frysicum piva, Credo, Wol up ghesellen, Sanctus


Four compositions by Rudolph Agricola (1443-1485)

Soundcloud: De tous biens playne Lutepiece by Roelkin in the 15th c. Cancionero de Segovia






















PDF transcription: De tous biens playne


Soundcloud: Chanson Et trop penser. Boisvrin/Rudolph Agricola, (Roma, Biblioteca Casanatense Ms 2856)






















PDF transcription: Et trop penser


 Soundcloud: Vrught en moet ic gaen dahin. Roelkin/Rudolph Agricola (Cancionero de Segovia) 

PDF transcription: Vrught en moet ic gaen dahin


 Soundcloud: Zart reyne vrught. Roelkin/Rudolph Agricola (Cancionero de Segovia)

Pdf transcription: Zart reyne vrught


 Soundcloud: Asperance Universiteitsbibliotheek Groningen (Incunabulum No. 70, recto) - end 14th century Pdf transcription: Asperance Incunabulum 70


Empris domoyrs Universiteitsbibliotheek Groningen (Incunabulum No. 70, verso)

Pdf transcription: Empris domoyrs


 Soundcloud: Ave spes et salus infirmorum. Processionale from the Martini Church in Groningen, 1601, Ms I B 50, Amsterdam

 Pdf transcription: Ave spes et salus infirmorum

Soundcloud: Inter natos mulierum – Responsory to St Joannis Baptistae
Cantuale from the Martini Church, BN Paris, Res. 1522, late 16th century



 Soundcloud: Dies est letitiae Processionale from the Martini Church in Groningen, 1601, BN Paris, Res 1522, late 16th century

Pdf transcription: Dies est letitiae


Soundcloud: Surrexit Christus hodie Processionale from the Martini Church in Groningen, 1601, BN Paris, Res 1522, late 16th century

Pdf transcriptie: Surrexit Christus hodie


Soundcloud: Ad cantus leticieJoh. A Lasco Bibliothek, Emden (D-EM 4o-18)

 Pdf transcription: Ad cantus leticie


Soundcloud:  Easter play from Hellum Catharijneconvent at Utrecht (BMH h 7, ca 1200, f.45)

The 'Easterplay from Hellum' has been passed down in a 12th-century manuscript, unique to the Netherlands, of a missal, which was probably used in the St. Walfriduskerk in Hellum in Groningen.

 Pdf transcription: Hellums Paasspel