Proverbs (1558): notes on the transcriptions

1. The melody in the superius is taken unchanged from Proverbes de Salomon published by Rivery in Lausanne in 1556, which contains rhymed paraphrases of the Hebrew by the protestant poet Accace d’Albiac, sieur du Plessis, with melodies by Francois Gindron. (This source may be consulted on line at <> ) The melodies have been published by Pierre Pidoux in volume I of  Le Psautier hugenot, (Bale: Bärenreiter, 1962) pp. 201-206.

2. The contratenor is a modern reconstruction.  Since the entire solution is hypothetical, suggestions for non-modal tones (musica ficta) have been placed in the staff itself, and not over staff.  The frequency of use of ficta attempts to match the frequency of use in the internal voice which has been preserved, the tenor. With one exception (LMN342) voice crossings with the superius have been avoided.

3. Musica ficta which are present in the tenor and bass books of LeRoy & Ballard’s edition (Proverbes de Salomon, mis en cantiques…, Paris, 1558; tenor preserved in F:Pn, bass in F:Pn, GB:Lb and Brussels) are written into the staff.  Ficta which seem to be implied but are not expressly noted in the originals are enclosed in parentheses.

4. The original clefs for the bass were F3 in LMN330, 331, 334, 336, 338, 343, otherwise F4. The original clefs for the tenor were C4 in LMN337,339,345,346,347; C3 in LMN329, 332, 336, 340, 341, 342,344; and C2 in LMN328, 330, 332, 333, 334, 335, 338, 343.

5. Semi-breves in the original notation are represented by half-notes in the transcription, and the other values adjusted accordingly.  Ligatures were not used by Janequin in the extant tenor and bass books.

6. Final chords, in accordance with Janequin’s most frequent practice, are achieved without thirds.  However, three of the twenty settings (1, 7 and 14) include thirds in the (original Janequin) tenor, so it is conceivable that the composer was moving away from strict open fifth finals.

7. Only the first verse of the poem is included. (LeRoy&Ballard printed as many of the verses as they had room for on the page, and indicated the existence of additional verses with “&tc”.) The full set of verses may be viewed at the Gallica webpage noted above.

8. The reconstructions presented here were done independently of those done by Marc Honegger in his 1971 thesis “Les chansons spirituelles de Didier Lupi et les debuts de la musique protestante en France au XVIeme siecle” (Lille, 1971, vol.II, pp. 169-204.)  Since the two efforts share the same methodological premises, it is perhaps not surprising that there are not significant differences between them.  Honegger’s versions add cadential dissonances rather more frequently than the reconstructions presented here, and the versions here have slightly more chromatically altered tones in the contratenor. Aside from that, variants between the two approaches are mostly differences in taste on voice doubling, and slightly less tolerance of parallel fifths and octaves from my side.