28 psalms de David (1549): notes on the transcriptions

1. Numbering of the psalms/order of presentation: The psalms are presented in the same order as they are found in Janequin’s print, and represent  the first 28 (in biblical order) of the 49 psalms (ranging from psalm 1 to psalm 143) which Marot translated into French verse before his death in 1544.

2. Sources: The superius is based on the superius partbook for Premier Livre, contenant xxviij. Pseaulmes de David…en quatre livres (Paris: DuChemin, 1549) preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris with call number Rés. Vmc. 48 (3). The contratenor and bass are from a version of the same edition in two books instead of four, Premier Livre, contenant xxviij. Pseaulmes de David…en deux  livres (Paris: DuChemin, 1549) now preserved in the Mediatheque d’Orleans with call number Réserve C 3459. Slight typographical divergencies between the two and four book versions can be noted. With one exception, the tenor lines are based on Pseaulmes cinquante de David, mis en vers Francois par Clement Marot a Lyon chez Godegroy & Marcellin Beringen, freres, M.D. XLVIII (LY48) which is found in the University Library in Wroclaw. A manuscript copy of this work is in the Bibliotheque de l’Arsenal in Paris. The Beringen brothers reissued the print to following year (LY49) in substantially the same form. (Copies of LY49 in Geneva:MHR and Paris:Prot. fr.)   The tenor for psalm 43 is my own reconstruction, since in this setting Janequin uses the psalm melody from LY48 in the superius. (No tenor partbook for the 1549 DuChemin print is known to exist.)

3. Staff presentation/key signatures/transcription/transposition. The psalms have been transcribed to the currently conventional clefs (soprano G2/alto G2/tenor G2 at the octave/bass F4) but have not been transposed.  The original clefs were: superius G2/contratenor C2/tenor C3/bassus F3 for psalms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 22, 24, 25, 32, 36, 38; superius C1/contratenor C3/tenor C4/bassus F4 for psalms 7, 8, 9, 10, 18, 23, 33, 37, 43. Now, as then, the best pitch level for performance is that which best suits those doing the singing (relative diapason.)

4. Metric indications/note values/barlines/tempi:  The original metric indications (barred C and 3) have been represented as barred C and 3/4.  Breves in the original are expressed as half notes in the transcriptions, and the other values adjusted accordingly.  Barlines are for convenience of reference, and do not indicate phrasing.  Final tones are presumed held for a period determined by the performers. Appropriate tempi are found, as always, by a combination of musical factors (harmonic rhythm, level of ornamentation, nature of the declamation etc.) and practical considerations (the singers involved, the character of the room, the audience etc.)

5. Musica ficta:  Sharps and flats notated in the sources are written within the staves.  Suggestions based on what is believed to have been current usage at the time are noted above the staves.  In order to preserve the original form of the LY48 melodies, no ficta have been suggested for the tenor line, even in situations where the harmonic context might suggest its use.

6. Texts: The spelling and punctuation have not been modernised, nor have they been made consistent, but are presented as they appear in the “Premièr livre” (DuChemin, 1549), with the exception of stenographic symbols, which have been realized (“&” changed to”et”, “õ” to “on” or “om”, “ã” to “an”, “q'” to “que”, “f” to “s”, “ñ” to “ous”, “p” to “per”, “i” and “u” to “j” and “v” when appropriate, etc.) Subsequent verses are provided to the same extent as they appear in DuChemin’s print, and in the same order, even when, as occasionally happens, only part of a verse is presented. The number of eventual remaining verses is indicated for each psalm, as they appear in Mayer’s Clément Marot: Oeuvres Completes (1980).

7. Previous editions: 12 of the 28 psalms have been previously edited. Psalm number 1 is edited by Maurice Cauchie in “Les Psaumes de Janequin,” Melanges de musicologie offerts a M. Lionel de la Laurencie Ed. Eugenie Droz Paris: Publications de la Societe francaise de musicologie, 1933. pp. 50-51. Psalm numbers 4, 5, 13, 25 and 36 are edited by Pierre Pidoux, numbers 5 and 36 in the series L’Eglise chante, Cantate Domino, Geneva and numbers 4, 13 and 25 in the series Soli Deo Gloria (gen. ed. Marc Honegger) published by Editions Ouvriers, Paris, 1960. In his edition of psalm 36 Pidoux uses the text of the second stanza “O Seigneur qu’ils sont précieux” in place of “Du maling les faitz vicieux”. Psalm numbers 6, 7, 8, 22, 32, and 38 are edited in LaBelle, Nicole, Les differents styles de la musique religieuse en France. Le psaume de 1539 a 1572, Diss. Paris, 1978. Ottawa, The Institute of Medieval Music, 1981, pp. 5-14.  LaBelle’s numbering of the psalms refers not to their biblical order, but to the order in which they are found in Janequin’s print. Thus “Las, en ta fureur” (which in the Protestant Bible is psalm 38) is listed as Psalm 26, being the 26th of 28 psalms in Janequin’s collection. LaBelle’s transcriptions are marred by misunderstandings concerning the signum congruentiae and by uncharacteristic text underlay.