Chansons spirituelles (1555): notes on the transcriptions


The transcriptions are from  the Second livre des chansons et cantiques spirituels Le tout mis en musique à quatre parties, en quatre livres, par M. Clement Ianequin. A Paris, De l’imprimerie de Nicolas du Chemin, à l’enseigne du Gryphon d’argent, rue Sainct Iean de Latran, 1555. Only the tenor book has survived: it is preserved at Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, fonds Rothschild VI, 3 bis. 76.

“Grace te rend” is transcribed from the Premier livre de chansons spirituelles by Rigaud in Lyon (RISM 1568-9) as it is preserved in the Bibliotheque Municipale, Reims.

“Grace te rend” was also published by Th. de Straton in Lyon in 1561 (no RISM number) in a collection similarly entitled Premier livre de chansons spirituelles.  This collection, previously in Wiesbaden, has been moved, and I have been unsuccessful in finding it after it’s relocation.

From the index of a tenor book preserved in the Museo Carnico in Tolmezzo (Italy) we learn that the first three settings in Du Chemin 1555 (the “In exitu” series) were printed (or reprinted) by Du Bosc and Gueroult in Geneva. The title page, and the section of the book containing the settings by Janequin are now lost, but it may have been printed later in the same year, 1555. (On the Tolmezzo fragment, see Jean Duchamp’s article in Revue de Musicologie, 2011:2.)


Orthography has been minimally modernised (“juste” and not “iuste”, “ouvre” and not “ouure” etc.) otherwise the original spelling (“rend” and not “rends” for example) has been preserved.

The text underlay follows as closely as possible the indications given in Du Chemin’s print, even when these seem at odds with modern practice.


Original clefs were C4 in all tenor parts; C1 (S), C3 (Ct), C4 (t) and F4 (b) in “Grace te rend.”

Note values have been rendered such that original breve = half note in modern notation. Ligatures are indicated by brackets and final notes are arbitrarily notated as long.  Barring into measures is for convenience of reference only, and does not indicate phrasing.

Altered notes which are indicated in the original are entered into the staff.  Since this is a transcription and not an edition, and since the context of the four voices is not available, no suggestions for ficta have been offered for the tenor line.  (This does not mean that they were not practiced, and a number of what seem to be leading tones at cadences and melodic adjustments to avoid tritones suggest themselves.)

Original ficta in “Grace te rend” are entered into the staff; suggestions are placed above the staff.

The Second livre des chansons et cantiques spirituelles is discussed in Chapter 8 of Clément Janequin: French Composer at the Dawn of Music Publishing.