Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Oettinger, Rebecca Wagner. "Ludwig Senfl and the Judas Trope: Composition and Religious Toleration at the Bavarian Court." Early Music History 20 (2001): 199-225.

Modeled after the Latin devotional song Laus tibi, Christe, the religious folksong O du armer Judas became one of the most commonly used sources of Protestant contrafacta during the German Reformation. In the early decades of the sixteenth century, this melody was linked with Lutheran accusations of Catholic corruption. Martin Luther himself even wrote a contrafactum of the song in 1541 to criticize Duke Heinrich of Braunschweig. The poetic form of this Judaslied became so popular that textual borrowings of the first verse could arouse associations of the simple tune. As Ludwig Senfl was composer to a Catholic court in Bavaria, it is surprising that he would take the risk of creating a polyphonic vocal setting of the Judaslied. Although there is no concrete evidence of a religious conversion to Lutheranism, Senfl did exchange letters with Martin Luther and composed music for the Protestant Duke Albrecht of Prussia. Senfl's quasi-canonic setting was probably not used in folk processions and it is most likely that the work was not performed in Bavaria, although it was preserved there in manuscript.

Works: Folksong: O du armer Judas (199-210); Ludwig Senfl: O du armer Judas (217-25).

Sources: Folksong: O du armer Judas (199-210); Latin devotional song: Laus tibi, Christe (200).

Index Classifications: 1500s

Contributed by: Randy Goldberg

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