Conrad Paumann

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Conrad Paumann (1410-1473) was a blind, early Renaissance, German lutenist, organist, and composer who "acquired a reputation as Germany's foremost organist." Few of his works have survived. "Since his blindness prohibited him from writing down his own compositions, they could be recorded only from dictation. For this reason Virdung's attribution to him of the invention of German lute tablature (Musica getutscht, 1511) seems quite plausible, for it would have been particularly suitable for dictating music. The transmission of the Fundamenta is especially complicated because the extant sources reflect various stages of Paumann's didactic practices.....Despite his very limited surviving output, Paumann must be considered the leading figure in 15th-century German instrumental music, known internationally not only as a virtuoso but also as a composer. Even in the 17th and 18th centuries he was still remembered as ‘the very best organist’ (H. Canisius: Lectiones antiquae, 1601–4) and ‘in all musical arts the most expert and the most famous’ (J. Staindl: Chronicon generale, 1763).....Paumann's organ works, settings of secular cantus firmi, are obviously the first of their kind to reflect the stylistic influence of the Burgundian chanson, especially with respect to the skilful handling of the three-part texture.

"Characteristic of his organ style is the balancing of a highly ornamented discant, often using standard virtuoso figuration, and a solid tenor-countertenor basis. He deserves credit for refining the practice of the Fundamentum as a method of teaching organists. Though his Fundamenta, like earlier examples, still rely on formulae for their ornamental discants to given tenor patterns, they cease to be improvisation and become composition in the mature three-part pieces (e.g. no.5)."[1]

For additional details, see the Conrad Paumann Wikipedia article.

List of Organ Works[edit]

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Fundamentum organisandi

Background and General Perspectives on Performing Paumann Organ Works[edit]

Historical Organ Collection, edited by Dr. William C. Carl, indicates that the Prelude was "intended to be played slowly, probably with the fists, on account of the heavy touch found on the organs of this period."

Registration and Organs[edit]

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See the footnote in the "Notes" section at the bottom of the page[2]

Fingering and Pedaling[edit]

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Articulation and Phrasing[edit]

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Tempo and Meter[edit]

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Scores and Editions[edit]

Kyrie Anglicum is available at IMSLP [1].

Prelude is available at IMSLP [2].

Another edition of Prelude is found in Dr. William C. Carl's Historical Organ Collection, available at IMSLP [3].


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Free Online[edit]

Mit ganzem Willen wunsch, Luigi Chiarizia, harpsichord [4]

Pay to Listen[edit]

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Other Resources[edit]

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  1. Oxford Music Online,, accessed 16 January 2015.
  2. This footnote was entered in the "Registration and Organs" article

This space is for automatic insertion of footnotes. To enter a footnote from anywhere in the article, start by typing the tag <ref> and then enter the text, and type the tag </ref> to end the footnote. The footnote will then appear in this "Notes" section automatically.