Yves Ruggeri: The “Memento Mori Sibylla” of Johann Jacob, Froberger

An interesting article by Yves Ruggeri on this Froberger piece from the Montbéliard Manuscript and his transcription of it are available here:

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Thanks you so much @Dennis, this is really excellent. Most appreciated.

I do wonder why it is that the owners of important manuscripts are so frequently reluctant to publish facsimiles or editions. According to the article, there are several other previously unknown Froberger pieces in this ms. Keeping them hidden away is certainly a legal prerogative of the owner; but bespeaks an artistic dog in the manger attitude that I do not understand. I hope I am wrong in this and that there will be full publication soon, so that we can all have access.

I have played through the piece and confess that I am unable to make musical sense of it as a whole. The article emphasises the rhetorical figures; but, in my experience of Froberger, recognition of these has never been essential for me to make musical sense of the work. Perhaps, as hinted, it is a new period of Froberger’s oeuvre. If so, it is all the more important that we have access to the other pieces, as they may shed some light on a new style.


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I do agree totally about the lack of sharing of these precious MSS. I don’t understand it ether.

But David in what way do you not make sense of the piece? It’s very close to the Tombeau for M Blancrocher, even with more or less identical verbal instructions. Or is that piece problematic also?

I find these pieces very beautiful, free, and spacious. Obviously heavily influenced by free improvisation on the lute.

It is nothing like the Blancrocher tombeau, despite the similar performance instructions. That piece has been in my repertoire for years. What other features make you say that it is “close”?

I cannot connect to this newly found piece at the moment – I cannot find the musical logic or line; but I will keep trying.

Perhaps others here have played it and can help.


There is a more useful article by Bob van Asperen here.

NB: The Memento Mori Sibylla discussed above is actually a méditation, rather than a tombeau.



I share some of David’s perplexity, if that’s the right word, regarding this piece. In this case, I think, familiarity breeds understanding {recalling how weird almost anything by Froberger seemed, 60 years ago}. But I’m not there yet.

A modest suggestion, not necessarily to be taken literally: transcribe the piece in something like Bauyn’s unmeasured notation, in which the ‘slurs’ often serve to clarify the harmonic blocks. You’ll have to add the slurs yourself, of course.

Good luck!

Thank you, Dennis.

Yes, perplexity is a good description. Thanks, Dale!

I certainly intend to keep working on it. I often find that reading away from the instrument helps in such cases.


I am perplexed by the perplexity. What is is that perplexes you all? Do tell. [This probably means I am simply not learned enough to be perplexed.]

Thanks so much David. A superb and learned article.

Since there is no facsimile of the MS available I guess Bob van A. had to sign a non-disclosure agreement! :frowning:

What a treasure that journal site is.