Martim Codax
Jogral medieval

Nationality: Galega

Biographical Note:

Probably a galician minstrel, active in the middle or third quarter of the 13th century. Although he is one of the only two authors present in the songbooks whose compositions were also preserved in an individual manuscript, the so-called Pergaminho Vindel, where they are accompanied by their respective musical notation (the other author being King Denis, witl the Sharrer Parchment), nothing concrete is known about his biography. His surname seems to rule out the hypothesis of a higher social status. He would then be a minstrel or a segrel, most possibly connected to Vigo, a location repeatedly sung in his compositions.
It should be added that the authorship of the seventh song attributed to Martim Codax (Ai ondas que eu vim veer) is uncertain, having been added to the Pergaminho Vindel by the first musical scribe. It should also be noted that his name (in the Martim Codaz form) equally appears in a note, as yet not fully understood, transcribed by the Vaticana Songbook (and only this manuscript) after one of the songs of Martim de Ginzo (see, in that song’s edition, the note L, v.6).
With all this, the proposals for the explanation of his name have not been lacking, the oldest and traditional seeing in Codax or Codaz a nickname (from codex, or codo, elbow, or codazzo, tail, for example), the most recent suggesting it could be a patronymic or a toponym. Recently (2018) Ron Fernández1, taking a critical review of all these suggestions, advanced some new documentary data, in particular the existence of the name, in the form Codaz, in two documents of the monastery of Santa Maria de Oia (dated 1275 and 1278), both referring to the sale of a vineyard que foi de Fernan Codaz (which belonged to Fernan Codaz), a character that this researcher believes may have been Martim's brother. The location of this vineyard, in Sandián, in the current municipality of Rosal, takes us to the south of Galicia, very close to the Portuguese border of Minho river.

As mentioned in the text explaining the criteria followed in this database, the huge quantity of musical recordings of Martim Codax’s songs in existence has lead our team to limit the audio files to chosen examples. A user interested in other versions can consult the respective discography on-line, at the address indicated at the bottom of this page.


1 Ron Fernández, Xavier (2018), "Martin Codax: o nome. A onomástica na lírica trobadoresca", in The Vindel Parchment and Martin Codax. The Golden Age of Medieval Galician Poetry, edited by Alexandre Rodríguez Guerra and Xosé Bieito Arias Freixedo, John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 233-235.
      Go to web page

Martín Códax: Cantigas de Amigo - A discography

Read all cantigas (in Cancioneiros' order)

Cantigas (alphabetical order):

Ai Deus, se sab'ora meu amigo
Cantiga de Amigo

Ai ondas que eu vim veer
Cantiga de Amigo

Eno sagrado em Vigo
Cantiga de Amigo

Mandad'hei comigo
Cantiga de Amigo

Mia irmana fremosa, treides comigo
Cantiga de Amigo

Ondas do mar de Vigo
Cantiga de Amigo

Quantas sabedes amar amigo
Cantiga de Amigo