The manuscript is the sole surviving Ferrarese chansonnier of the late fifthteenth century, the period of the reign of Duke Ercole I d’Este, who ruled Ferrara from 1471 to his death in 1505. Dating from about 1480, and made originally in connection with the betrothal of Isabella d’Este to Francesco Gonzaga, it is one of the most important and representative secular manuscripts that we possess from any Italian court of this period. It contains a rich legacy of three-and fourvoice secular pieces by major composers of the period 1460-1480,
most of them active in Italy, and including such masters as Josquin Desprez, Johannes Japart, and Johannes Martini. It also seems evident that it provides an example of the contemporary collecting of chansons not in the form of pieces designed to be sung, with their original texts, but rather the manuscript was intended for use by the brilliant band of
wind-players who were active at the Ferrarese court. Some of the material
in the manuscript is originally texted in other sources, but a number of its pieces were undoubtedly intended from the beginning as instrumental music. Tus Casanatense 2856 is both of general importance for its content and at the same time has a special significance as a repertoire of music refecting the instrumental practice of the late 15th
century (from the Preface by Lewis Lockwood).