Dating and condition

Submitted by admin on Thu, 12/12/2019 - 22:14

On the basis of the watermarks, Bach researcher Yoshitake Kobayashi has established in the 1990's that the paper used in this manuscript was produced by the paper mill of Niederlungwitz in Saxony (north-east of Zwickau).[1]The corresponding monogram CV belongs to paper maker Christian Vodel, leaseholder of this mill between 1700 and 1736.[2]Watermarks, handwriting, binding and documentary sources, including the correspondence of Walther and music theorist Heinrich Bokemeyer, indicate a date of around 1730. It is thus the most recent of the five known Walther manuscripts.

The volume consists of folded sheets of vat paper, bound in a sheepskin cover with four ribs. The format is oblong (227x317x45 cm). The manuscript itself consists of 367 mostly numbered pages. Most page numbers are in Walther's hand, in the same ink used for the titles and music. Missing page numbers have been added later in pencil. Fifteen pages have been left blank (36, 49, 146, 208, 215, 229-230, 240-241, 256, 309, 315-316, 331-332). Other pages contain only staves (p. 296 is only half covered), sometimes with clefs and (on pp. 241 and 331) the title of a chorale. Of the blank pages, pp. 229-230 and 240 are unnumbered. Eleven pages and their numbers are missing (pp. 37-38, 94-95, 110, 143-144, 216-217, 341-342). Presumably this is the result of mistakes in numbering. In four places a sheet is missing (between pp. 32-33, 92-93 en 213-214); this is not visible in the digital image. It is possible that these where missing before Walther numbered the pages.

The general condition of the manuscript is good; it shows few traces of use. During a restoration in the 1980's the paper was reinforced in a few places with Japanese paper. It is possible that on that occasion a few pages were trimmed. New fly leafs were also inserted during this restoration.


  1. Copies of handwritten notes by Kobayashi, kept with the manuscript. Cf. K. Beisswenger: Zur Chronologie der Notenhandschriften Johann Gottfried Walthers, in Acht kleine Präludien und Studien über Bach: Georg von Dadelsen zum 70. Geburtstag (Wiesbaden 1992), pp. 11-39
  2. W.A. Churchill: Watermarks in paper in Holland, England, France, etc., in the XVII and XVIII centuries and their interconnection (Amsterdam 1935)