The motets of 1533: notes on the transcriptions

1. Trancription:  The motets have not been “edited,” but while remaining as faithful as possible to the original presentation,  the music has been transcribed into a notation which is currently familiar to a larger audience.  The transcriptions are meant to serve as a reliable basis for decisions which eventual performers will make, on among other things, text underlay and musica ficta.

2. Ordering:  The number of motets thought to have been included in the now lost Sacrae Cantiones has been arbitrarily fixed at twelve.  These have been assigned numbers LMN255 to LMN 266 in the chronological catalogue of Janequin’s sacred works presented on this site. (Lesure and Merritt number the secular chansons from 1-254 in their edition of Clément Janequin: chansons polyphoniques.)

3. Sources:  As noted, the Sacrae Cantiones collection is known only through bibliographical references by Fétis and others, which name Attaignant as the publisher and 1533 as the date of publication.

4. Staff presentation/key signatures/ transposition:  The music has not been transposed. The original clefs for “Gabriel angelus” were (from high to low):  G2, C2, C3, F3. The original clefs for “Congregati sunt were: C1, C3, C4, F3.

5. Metric indications/note values/barlines:  The original metric indications (barred C) have been maintained.  Breves in the original are expressed as half notes in the transcriptions, and the other values adjusted accordingly.  Note values have not been altered (as did Lesure in his 1949 edition of “Congregati sunt”) to facilitate text underlay. Barlines are for convenience of reference, and do not indicate phrasing.  Final tones are presumed held for a period determined by the performers.

6. Texts and text underlay:  Orthography (“j” for “i” etc.) has been modernized, spelling has not. Punctuation, or lack of it, is as it was in the original.  No capital letters have been added. Ligatures have been indicated by brackets.  On the subject of text underlay, it should be remembered that what is presented here is 4th generation text underlay.  1st generation text underlay is what Janequin delivered in handwritten form to his publisher Attaingnant in 1533.  2nd generation underlay is what Attaingnant’s journeymen were able to achieve within the constraints of 16th century publishing possibilities, in which placing the syllables exactly under the corresponding tone was not only frequently difficult, but often impossible without incurring increased publishing costs.  3rd generation underlay is what a new set of journeymen in Ferrara achieved, with perhaps a new page format and a different set of type, and perhaps a new set of ideas as to how the underlay process could be carried out, not to mention the errors and misunderstandings which inevitably follow every new step of any transmission.  Did Buglhats workers include all the repeat signs that were indicated?  Did they transpose syllables from the beginning of a melisma to the end, or from the end to beginning?  The underlay which has been provided in the transcriptions tries to faithfully reproduce the indications which have been provided in the 1538 print, even when these seem at odds with my personal tastes.  However, it should be apparent by now that eventual performers of this work should feel no qualms whatsoever about seeking solutions which they feel work best, creating a 5th generation of underlay which for all we know may be as close to the original as any of the others.

7. Musica ficta:  Sharps and flats which are present in the 1538 print are presented in the staff.  Sharps and flats above the staff are suggestions, which should be treated as such.

8. “Congegati sunt” has been edited by Francois Lesure. (Éditions de l’Oiseau Lyre: Monaco, 1949)