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Ma plus, ma mignonne, m’amye 3v · Convert, P.

Appearance in the group of related chansonniers:

*Copenhagen ff. 3v-4 »Ma plus, ma mignonne, m’amye« 3v PDF · Facsimile

*Dijon ff. 78v-79 »Ma plus, ma mignonne, m’amye« 3v PDF · Facsimile

*Laborde ff. 75v-76 »Ma plus, ma mignonne, m’amie« 3v P. Convert PDF · Facsimile

Editions: Jeppesen 1927 no. 4 (Copenhagen), Goldberg 1997 p. 473 (Laborde).

Text: Rondeau cinquain, full text in all three sources:

Ma plus, ma mignonne, m’amye,
mon tout, ma plaisance, ma vie,
la plus des plus, sans riens blamer,
celle seule que veux amer
et que j’ay pour dame choisie.

Vostre suis, car je n’ay emvie
fors vous servir et vous supplie
qu’a tousjours vous puisse nommer

ma plus, ma mignonne, m’amye,
mon tout, ma plaisance, ma vie,

la plus des plus, sans riens blamer.

N’ayez pas paour que vous oublie:
Nulle ne sçay tant assouvye
fors vous a qui puisse penser;
mesme seul ne me puis garder
cent fois le jour que je ne die:

Ma plus, ma mignonne, m’amye,
mon tout, ma plaisance, ma vie,
la plus des plus, sans riens blamer,
celle seule que veux amer,
et que j’ay pour dame choisie.

My only one, my darling, my girlfriend,
my all, my joy, my life,
the most beautiful of all without blaming anyone,
she is the only one who I will love,
and I have chosen her as my lady.

I am yours, because I have no other desire
than to serve you, and I implore you
that I always may be able to name you

my only one, my darling, my girlfriend,
my all, my joy, my life,
the most beautiful of all without blaming anyone,

Have no fear that I shall forget you.
I know of no other as perfect
as you - no one I could think of -
even when alone, I cannot guard myself
a hundred times a day from saying:

My only one, my darling, my girlfriend,
my all, my joy, my life,
the most beautiful of all without blaming anyone,
she is the only one who I will love,
and I have chosen her as my lady.

The three sources only show insignificant differences in spelling.

The poem is also found in the text MS Berlin 78.B.17 f. 148v (ed.: Löpelmann 1923, p. 274).

Evaluation of the sources:

This is the second chanson by Convert in the Copenhagen Chansonnier, and placed very near the first »Pour changier l’air« (no. 2, ff. 1v-2). In Dijon these two chansons are also placed very near each other (nos. 67 and 70, ff. 82v-83), and in Laborde “Ma plus, ma mignonne” comes in direct succession of »Pour changer l’air« (no. 61, ff. 74v-75). Diminutive remnants of a trimmed off composer name above the superius in Laborde suggest that this rondeau also should be ascribed to “P. Convert”. (1) The three sources seem to tell nearly the same story as they did concerning »Pour changier l’air«: Copied by the Dijon scribe after the same exemplar – probably the same loose fascicle of chansons as used for the other chanson – and exhibiting different solutions to minor problems in the source.

Copenhagen is as in many other cases a clean copy without any errors. Some errors creep into Dijon: in the superius at bar 26 (2 sbr instead of a br as the line’s final note – a rather unusual uncorrected writing error; maybe the scribe did not want to erase a faulty semibrevis and just filled out the measure with another) and a note is missing in the tenor (b. 31.1). The scribe also omitted all mensuration signs. On the other hand he did copy the signum congruentiae in the tenor (b. 26.2) and used more coloration for the dotted figures (S bb. 6-7, 44, 45; T bb. 6-7; C bb. 50-51).

In both Dijon and Copenhagen he very carefully placed a sharp between the e’ and g’ lines before the g’-longa in bar 17. Knud Jeppesen read this as a g’-sharp in bb. 17-18 preceded by the necessary inflections of the minimae in bar 16 (Jeppesen 1927 p. 5). This, however, causes difficulties during performance in relation to the lower voices. It is more likely that the sharp means exactly what it says: that the g’ is fa (uninflected) and the preceding f’ has to be raised. It is still a difficult reading with the tenor sounding c’ and the contratenor rising through f, but probably so prescribed in the Dijon scribe’s exemplar – and a parallel to the accidental in the superius in »Pour changier l’air« (b. 43).

As in »Pour changier l’air« he simply omitted the difficult accidental when copying the chanson into Laborde. In addition to the usual differences in the use of coloration and a single writing error (C b. 49) he also in Laborde made some small changes affecting the declamation of the text by combining repeated notes (S bb. 30-31), using ligatures (C b. 15, and T b. 20), and by splitting up a brevis (C bb. 23-24). In the final melisma he underscored the descending sequence in the upper voices by changing a minima into two semiminimae at the end of bar 46 in the superius.

Comments on text and music:

This lyrical setting of a happy love song unfolds with a superius restricted in range (only covering an octave), which floats above the lower voices in clear-cut melodic contours showing a sure command of the conventions of the Phrygian mode. Tenor and contratenor share a slightly more extended range an octave below the superius and are closely interwoven in their declamation of the text (see how they keep up the musical flow in the transition from 2nd to the 3rd line of text, bb. 16-18 – two slightly different solutions in Copenhagen/Dijon and Laborde). Also the early entrance of the lower voices with the last lines of refrain and tierce (presenting the points of the poem) shows a sure feeling for vocal effects. This song adds to the picture of Convert as a very able composer belonging to the slightly older generation of musicians at the time of the compilation of the sources.

PWCH June 2008


1) See further Alden 1999 pp. 111-112 and Alden 2005a pp. 56 ff.