I have the AR edition of
“French Chansons for Three Voices (ca. 1550), Part I: Three-Part
Chansons Printed by Gardane (1541)”
Several of our favorite drinking songs are from there. When there are
three good people at a small rehearsal, as there were the Tuesday
after the blizzard of ’05, we sometimes read through some of the ones
we don’t know. On that occasion, this was our favorite of the seven
or eight we read, so I said I would transcribe it, and I have.
There’s a slight infelicity in the transcription. The modern system
of alternate endings on a repeated section was developed after regular
barlines were a consistent feature of printed music. I feel that with
music written before this happened, it’s a lot easier to read without
all the tied notes that the regular barlines require.
In this piece, there isn’t a good way to decide where to put the
repeat sign, and have the alternate endings work for all parts without
tied notes. So I decided on the simplest solution, which is to repeat
back to almost the beginning of the phrase.
This leaves the Cantus
part exactly as the AR edition has it (minus a fermata on the last note). The Tenor part is missing the
half note which should be tied to the ending half note on the first
ending, which I have noted in a footnote. The bassus part singers
have to know to not sing the pickup to the last phrase at the end of
The Renaissance Band continues to chug through Dowland’s “A
Pilgrim’s Solace”. This week’s new one was Tell me,
true Love, where shall I seeke thy being.
It was a particularly difficult transcription problem, and the
solution is unsatisfactory in several ways.
- The Cantus part repeats the B section with the same words. The
bassus part has what’s effectively a first ending that’s more
elaborate than 17th century repeat notation can deal with, so it’s
written out. The transcription mirrors that, so I have inserted
rehearsal letters in the bass part. B is the start of the first
repeat, and C corresponds to the second time through the repeat in the
- The above problem doesn’t really affect the Altus and Bassus,
since they only come in on the repeat of the chorus. That is, the
start of the notes and words is at section C in the bass. In our
rehearsal, we had the people on the Tenor and Altus parts sing Bassus
and Cantus on the A and B sections, and switch to their parts for C.
In performance, we would probably have a solo singer on A and B, and
then everybody come in on C.
- The verses have very different numbers of syllables. The underlay
of the first verse, which is all Dowland did, works fine. The other
verses would need some tweaking if you were going to perform them.
Let me know if you get a better solution to the problem than I did.
I got an email from someone pointing out that the links to the
source didn’t work. That turned out to be an easy fix — the links —
were of the form “http:music/morley/3v/filename.zip”. Removing the
http: caused them to work.
Unfortunately, I also looked at the pdf files on the web, and they had
some serious problems with the printing of the incipits.
I’m sure I will complain more later about lilypond’s gratuitous syntax
changing, but in any case, 2 hours later, I have pdf files that seem
to be much better.
This resulted in a conversion to lilypond 1.9.5 from 1.4. I don’t
actually approve of putting up odd-numbered versions of lilypond, but
convert-ly wouldn’t convert automatically to 2.0, and my Debian
unstable system won’t run 1.4. So this was a compromise.
Anyway, let me know if you see any more problems.