Owing to gaps in the documentary evidence, the study of medieval instrumental music remains beset with uncertainties. Yet once a context can be established for a given manuscript, it is often possible to establish where the manuscript was probably used, what function it performed, and for which instrument or instruments it was most likely intended.
No example highlights this point more clearly than the Faenza Codex (FaenBC 117; henceforth Faenza), an Italian manuscript containing the largest surviving collection of instrumental music from before 1450. This article re-examines the repertorial context of Faenza, challenging in particular the widely held view that the manuscript contains distinct “secular” and “sacred” repertoire. When combined with the results of a comprehensive investigation of voice-crossings in the manuscript, it is possible to demonstrate beyond all doubt that the Faenza intabulations were intended for solo organ.