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Hans Judenkönig (Composer)

Born: c1445-1450 - Schwäbisch Gmünd, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Died: Early March 1526 - Vienna, Austria

Hans Judenkönig was a German lutenist, composer and probably lute maker. His family came from Württemberg; his father may have been one Hartmann Judenkönig. He is first recorded in 1518 as a lutenist in the Corpus Christi confraternity at the Stephansdom in Vienna; he had probably already been working as a musician there for some time, and he lived in the oldest quarter of Vienna in a house called the ‘Gundlachhaus’, later celebrated under the name of ‘Küllnerhof’ as a centre for musicians and merchants. Although he was not a member of the nobility, his prominent position as a citizen is indicated by a coat of arms depicting a string player, which appeared in both his books; both books also include a full-page woodcut showing a bearded lutenist (probably Judenkönig himself), together with a pupil playing a large viol. Judenkönig was in contact with the learned humanistic community of Vienna: he arranged some of the odes of Petrus Tritonius, and he seems also to have been familiar with the ideals of the poetic-mathematical circle around Conrad Celtis. His date of death at an advanced age was recorded in the margin of one copy of his Underweisung.

Along with Sebastian Virdung (Musica getutscht, 1511), Judenkönig was one of the first in the German-speaking region to publish a self-instruction manual for the lute. His Utilis et compendiaria introductio, qua ut fundamento iacto quam facillime musicum exercitium, instrumentorum et lutine, et quod vulgo Geygen nominant, addiscitur was printed in Vienna at his own expense, probably between 1515 and 1519 (for editions see BrownI ). It opens with a concise set of instructions for playing the lute, followed by intabulations of 19 settings by Tritonius of the odes of Horace and a setting of Catullus’ ‘Vivamus, mea Lesbia’. Rules for tuning the lute are then followed by a group of intabulations including ten of lieder, the hymn ‘Christ ist erstanden’ and ‘Der hoff dantz’. Ain schone kunstliche Underweisung in disem Bechlein, leychtlich zu begreyffen den rechten Grund zu lernen auff der Lautten und Geygen (Vienna, 1523; ed. in Die Tabulatur, x, 1969) consists of two parts. In the first, instructions for left-hand fingering on the lute alternate with practical exercises in a progressive series: there is an introductory group of two-voice intabulations based on the tenor and bassus parts of four lieder, followed by a Pavana alla veneziana taken from Dalza’s Intabolatura de lauto (1508) and ‘Ain hoff dantz mit zway stimen’ ; the first five left-hand positions are illustrated by three-voice intabulations of 11 lieder, an ode by Tritonius, a motet and a chanson, six dances (including another taken from Dalza), and five fantasias called ‘Priamel’. Judenkönig also included instructions on right-hand fingering. The second part of the Underweisung has its own title page; it is a manual of mensural notation and intabulation technique. Although viols are mentioned in the titles of both books, they are virtually ignored in the texts.


Source: Grove Music Online © Oxford University Press 2006 (by Wolfgang Boetticherr)
Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (February 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Intabulation for lute on the hymn Christ ist erstanden

Christ ist erstanden


Links to other Sites



BrownI | MGG1 (W. Boetticher)
W.J. von Wasielewski: Geschichte der Instrumentalmusik im XVI. Jahrhundert (Berlin, 1878/R)
E. Radecke:
Das deutsche weltliche Lied in der Lautenmusik des 16. Jahrhunderts’, VMw, vii (1891), 285–336
O. K
ِrte: Laute und Lautenmusik bis zur Mitte des 16. Jahrhunderts (Leipzig, 1901/R)
A. Koczirz:
Der Lautenist Hans Judenkönig’, SIMG, vi (1904–5), 237–49
E. Engel:
Die Instrumentalformen in der Lautenmusik des 16. Jahrhunderts (Berlin, 1915), 27
H. Sommer:
Lautentraktate des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts im Rahmen der deutschen und franzِsischen Lautentabulatur (diss., U. of Berlin, 1923)
O. Baumann:
Das deutsche Lied und seine Bearbeitungen (Kassel, 1934)
J. Dieckmann:
Die in deutscher Lautentabulatur überlieferten Tänze des 16. Jahrhunderts (Kassel, 1931)
W. Boetticher:
Studien zur solistischen Lautenpraxis des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts (Berlin, 1943)
K. Dorfmüller:
Studien zur Lautenmusik in der ersten Hنlfte des 16. Jahrhunderts (Tutzing,1967)

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