[cantabile] Meeting reminder, Tuesday, April 19

Our coaching session with John Tyson tonight will begin at 8:00 PM
promptly. We will be playing at his house at 310 1/2 Pearl St. His
phone number is (617) 661-3353.

I have explained to him that this group doesn’t drink beer for only
10 minutes, and he shouldn’t invite us for beer unless he expects to
spend at least an hour on it. He has a lot of practicing and
rehearsing to do early in the morning these days, so it is likely that
the beer-drinking part of the rehearsal will move to my place.

Please bring all the music for the Walk for Hunger. We will be
concentrating on the three French drinking songs, but John would like
to start with one of the things we did last time so that he can see
whether what he said made any difference. We have cancelled “April is
in my mistress’ face” since then, but it might be any of:

  • Me, me and none but me
  • Il bianco e dolce Cigno
  • Clear or Cloudy

Even more than usual, since we won’t be where I have lots of copies
of lots of things, please let me know in advance if you need me to
print anything for you.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but for the next two
weeks, we are not a drop-in group. Please come on time, or
earlier if your instrument needs setup and tuning time. Please have
your music with you and in order (I haven’t yet sent out a performance
order, but have it in some kind of order where you can find things).
Please use rehearsal time for rehearsal and not for social life. In
other words, treat this group, for the next two weeks, the way you
treat any other serious performing group you may belong to.

The May third meeting goes back to being a drop-in group with lots
of sightreading and social life.

[publishing] Testing Lilypond 4.5

I spent most of yesterday morning building and testing lilypond

I won’t be using it routinely yet, because there’s a very serious
bug in abc2ly, where it doesn’t any more translate the Key signature.

Update: they fixed that but, so I’ll probably be doing some more
testing, and then maybe starting to convert my setup to using the
current version.

This means abc2ly is unusable, since the notes are different for a
different key signature in lilypond and abc. That is, in lilypond an
F# is entered as fis no matter what the key signature is. But in ABC,
the note on the first space of a treble clef is entered as F, and the
key signature is what determines whether that note is sharped or not.
So an abc2ly that doesn’t know what the key signature is, isn’t going
to have the right notes, and a workaround that just edits the key
signature in isn’t.

But just so you can see what they’re up to, compare this piece

from 2.0.2
with the same piece from

Let me know what you think.

[cantabile] Report on the April 12 rehearsal

The good news is that we were joined again by Patricia Hawkins, who
is also planning to play the Walk for Hunger. This means that we’re a
lot better off for singing on the vocal top lines.

The bad news is that between trying to thoroughly rehearse
some of the things we’re shaky on or trying out new part assignments (good),
and how long it took everyone to be in place with their instruments
tuned and music in front of them (bad), we got through only a small amount
of what we need to rehearse in the next two weeks. The rehearsal
next week will be a coaching session on another small part of the
repertoire, so this really can’t happen on April 26. We really have
to be able to start playing at 7:45, which means everybody has to have
their books in order and marked with what they’re playing, and the
people with setup and tuning time have to be there well before the
start time.

I have updated the part
to reflect the decisions we made last night. If you
need any help printing your parts, or understanding what you’re
playing, please ask me before the next rehearsal.

We played:

  • Drinking rounds
  • Babylon group
  • Changeons Propos
  • Il Bianco e dolce cigno

Bruce’s message about NEFFA

Hello everyone!

This is it! The last NEFFA email! Unless I forgot something, or some
major cat-ass-trophy erupts between now & then (like snow?)…

Don’t forget we also have a church service on April 24. There’s a
little info about this at the bottom of the page. More will come.

Please let me know how many booklets you’re making, so I’ll know if I
need to make more. Please do this soon, so I’ll have time to react.
And bring the booklets with you on Sunday! Don’t Forget Them!


The workshop is on Sunday from 12:00 – 12:55 in the Small Hall. This
is where we’ve been before. I assume the chair setup will be similar.
We’ll sit in parts with the basses to my right, the way we set up in

This workshop is a lot of fun, has always been well-attended, and is
one of the best ways to introduce the music to more people. But we
need to be efficient and organized in advance, to make it run

Try to get there a little early; the previous session is the “Ladarke”
sing-along; if you want to do this, you’ll already be there. Or sneak
in towards the end of the session.

Bring your stand if you need one, and all your instrument parts (don’t
laugh! I’ve seen it happen!) if you play an instrument, but don’t
bring your regular music book; we’ll sing from the special handout.

I’ll need people to do these things:

– a few people to greet in-comers, hand out booklets, encourage them
(we can’t force them) to sit in voice-parts, and generally be helpful.
A couple people might want to stay near the door so people who come in
late will get welcomed.

– some people to hand out booklets within the room. It takes some
strain off the greeters.

– 4 people to hold the signs (I’ll bring these) to designate where the
voice-parts are seated.

– everyone should sit in their favorite voice part, scattered amongst
the rest of the people. If someone near you seems confused, try to
help them out (within reason). Being a Good Example is usually the
most helpful – Sing Lustily And With Good Courage!

– one or two people could make rough estimates of how many attendees
we have. I’ll see if I can find out how many chairs they have; this’ll
help the count.

– if I tell the Bassoon Joke, and you’re sick of hearing the Bassoon
Joke, try to laugh anyway. It will encourage others to do the same…

– a few people to collect booklets . I’ll encourage everyone to take
theirs home, but some people might not want to; if we gather them, we
won’t leave the room in a big mess. Also make sure the chairs aren’t
too disarrayed.

– if people have questions, encourage them to come out to the corridor
and talk with us. We NEED to be out of there on time so the next event
can set up. I’ll have a pile of green flyers near the exit door, and
another pile in the Hall-O-Flyers. Also the back page of the booklet
will have information on it.

OTHER STUFF. If you’ve been to NEFFA before, you can skip this part:

– If you’re on the Performers list I submitted a month ago, you can
pick up your pass at the Performers Sign-In table in the lobby. This
gets you into the festival for the whole weekend. If you didn’t give
me your name, you can buy a ticket at the ticket table.

– DON’T plan on showing up just before noon and getting in! Allow an
hour for parking and bus-riding. The parking lot is across town. Don’t
try to park near the site unless you get there before sunrise!

– Please do other stuff while you’re there! It’s tons o’ fun, and
you’ll see and hear lots of cool things. A lot of us are also doing
other things there, so you’ll see some familiar faces. Don’t forget
your dance shoes and your lunch money!

If you have any questions or answers, let me know before Friday
afternoon. I will be at NEFFA all 3 days and will probably be too
tired to listen to messages at night.

ALSO Remember we have a church gig on April 24th. There’ll be at least
one rehearsal, on Thursday the 21th, and possibly another if I can
find a time. We’re doing about 5 songs, so it shouldn’t be too
difficult. Look for another email soon!

I will see you all there! Have fun!



[cantabile] Report from April 5 meeting

We got through a lot of stuff:

  • Good morrow, fair ladies of the May. This will be done by a small
    group if at all.
  • All the drinking songs on the setlist,
    except “To Anacreon in Heaven”. The ones that need more work are
    “Slaves are they that heap up Mountains” and “Vive la Serpe”.
  • The River set, except the Swan ones that we did Saturday, and
    excluding the 5-part Vecchi Cigno, which we have decided to postpone
    until after the May performance. This set is in pretty good shape;
    the Billings needs work, and will sound better when we have everyone.
  • The May music, except the Campian and “April is in my Mistress’
    Face”. We may drop April if it continues to sound as bad as it
    sometimes does these days.

Printing music

For the next meeting, please have your music printed and
organized. I decided not to do booklets for people, because we’ve
been doing a lot of this stuff for years, and most of it for months,
and many people have their own copies with helpful markings on them.
So I’ve felt that the work that I’ve put into having booklets hasn’t
always produced better performances. However, having everything
organized does produce better rehearsals. I’m happy to print things
for you, but you have to tell me what you need.

I have annotated the setlist,
so please check it if you have old music, to make sure you have
up-to-date copies in the right key.

[publishing] Susanne un jour

Latest upload to the music publishing:
un jour, Lassus

This is not specifically for the Cantabile Renaissance
, unlike most of my polyphonic Renaissance music.

It was supposed to be for the Cambridge Center for Adult Education
Renaissance Ensemble class. I will still use it for whatever part I
end up doing, and I suspect most of the singers will use it, but the
instructor is still convinced that unbarred parts are a harder way to
play Renaissance music, and is planning to distribute hand-written
parts. She has degrees in music from prestigious institutions, so her
education does include how to write legible notes, and her normal
handwriting is no worse than most peoples, but when she reduces lyrics
to “fit” under notes, they come out completely illegible.

Anyway, she decided that, or told me about the decision, after I
had already done more than half the transcription, so I finished it.
I’m going to be not only singing or playing some part in the madrigal,
but doing divisions on the top line. So I’ll be able to play the
divisions against the MIDI file instead of just a metronome, which is
an advantage when things get wild and crazy.

See Ancor che
col partire
for something else I did this way. I also did “Non
Gemme non fin aura”, but haven’t yet uploaded it; watch this space for
further developments.

The transcription is from the Choral
Public Domain Library
edition. Unfortunately this contributor
uploaded the .mus finale file, which I can’t read. Had they uploaded
the .etf file, lilypond would
have been able to use it. The MIDI file is also useless for
transcription purposes, as all the
parts are on the same channel.

[WG] Songs for Neffa, and a plea for copyists

NEFFA is almost upon us – only 10 more days! I’ve finally finished making a booklet of tunes for our workshop, including:

Arise and Hail – Babylon Streams – Corfe Castle – Cranbrook – Folkestone
– Lingham – Lydia – Pentonville – Poole – Psalm 95 – Spanking Roger – Wiltshire

That’s 12 tunes, which is more than we’ll have time for, but I want to be
able to make the final choice on the spot. This includes several we’ve
never done there before, plus several all-time favorites. Or favourites,
I suppose. We’ve got a big-time groaner, some arse-kickers, some Thomas
Hardy references, some folky-sounding ones and some more-elegant ones. Something for everyone…
If you see any on the list which you’re not familiar with, maybe you’ll have time to look at it before we have to do it with 100 other people.

So, Now – I need some volunteers to make copies. It’s a 22-page booklet,
which needs to be copied double-sided, and stapled. It’s all laid out so
that 2-page pieces will come out on facing pages.

If you can make a batch of copies, without getting in trouble with your boss, let me know ASAP and I’ll get a master to you. We should plan on having about 140 copies, since we got 120 people last year. If I get them
copied at Stooples (I know it’s spelled “Staples,” but they always mess it up), it will cost me about $231, which is rather a lot considering it’s
a volunteer event (and I don’t have a real job)…

I hope everyone’s having a good week. Maybe it won’t snow any more between now and Neffa. I’ll send another email next week with the final Neffa