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Ma plus qu'assez et tant bruiante 3v · Busnoys, Antoine

Appearance in the five chansonniers:

*Copenhagen ff. 15v-17 »Ma plus qu'assez et tant bruiante« 3v PDF · Facsimile

*Dijon ff. 31v-33 »Ma plus qu'assez et tant bruiante« 3v Busnoys PDF · Facsimile

Editions:Jeppesen 1927 no. 13 (Copenhagen); Droz 1927 no. 28 (Dijon).

Text:Bergerette, full text in Copenhagen and Dijon, also in Jardin 1501 f. 74v (no. 134) “Autre rondel”.

Ma plus qu’assez et tant bruiante,
tant gorgiase et tant godine
qu’on dit si tost qu’on voit sa mine:
Vela la mignonne fringuante.

Le renom a sur toutes femmes,
sans excepter nulles quelxconques,

d’avoir ung corps formé de mesmes
le mieulx que Nature fist onques.

Je la choisi entre cinquante,
la tres gracieuse poupine,
comme gente, doulce et benigne;
et celle est tele, je m’en vente.

Ma plus qu’assez et tant bruiante,
tant gorgiase et tant godine
qu’on dit si tost qu’on voit sa mine:
Vela la mignonne fringuante.

My more than enough and so passionate,
so gorgeous and so lovely
that everyone says, as soon as they see her:
Look, what a stunning sweetheart.

Her renown surpasses all other women’s
without excepting any at all,

because she has a body shaped just like
the best Nature ever created.

I’ve chosen her among fifty girls,
the most charming sweetie,
because she is nice, sweet and mild;
and that she is like this I can revel in.

My more than enough and so passionate,
so gorgeous and so lovely
that everyone says, as soon as they see her:
Look, what a stunning sweetheart.

Copenhagen and Dijon line 7 “… corps ferme …”; Dijon line 12 “… est telle …”

Evaluation of the sources:

Both known sources to Busnoys’ chanson were created by the same copyist, the Dijon scribe. They are copies of the same exemplar – or maybe more probable, Copenhagen was copied with Dijon as its exemplar. The versions are not completely identical. As in other instances Copenhagen seems to represent a slight revision by the scribe reflecting his experiences with the music. More unusual, Copenhagen exhibits more writing errors than Dijon. For example, bar 5 is notated as two semibreves in ligature, the first with a punctus, the second colored, followed by two black minimae. In Dijon the last two notes correctly are fusae with their flags very thinly written making them easy to overlook when copying. Most of the other errors are banal (T and C b. 6, and T b. 38). Both sources agree on a textual error (“fermé” in line 12 in stead of “formé”), which probably stems from the exemplar. The ascending row of minimae in the second half of bar 24 in the Dijon superius probably also comes from the exemplar. The e' creates a dissonance with the contratenor, which the scribe has tried to correct in Copenhagen by introducing a dotted rhythm in accordance with the tenor. He has, however, chosen the wrong notes to apply this on.

In the tenor bar 11.1-2 Dijon has a brevis f; in Copenhagen the long note has been divided into a semibrevis, a minima rest, and a minima. This does not change much in the music, as the new tenor entry just doubles the note in the contratenor and gives the singer a chance to take a breath. However, it moves the word “godine/poupine” a bit backwards and accents the double partition of the triple bar, which already is present in the other voices – maybe against the wish of the composer, but easier to perform. The Dijon version exhibits a bit more rhythmical tension underscored by a different placing of the superius ligature, which moves the same word (“godine/poupine”) to the middle of bar 11, to the position of the tenor entry in Copenhagen. It looks as if the Copenhagen version has been streamlined.

The other changes are quite small and include coloration (C bb. 10 and 19; S b. 36; in all cases coloration has been removed in Copenhagen), a ligature (T. bb. 32-33; made clearer in Copenhagen), and a dotted semibrevis in the tenor bb. 45.2-46.1, which in Dijon is divided into a tone repetition; the division was probably caused by a change of staff in the exemplar, and restored in Copenhagen.

Comments on text and music:

The bergerette ought to be a song about rustic love far from courtly refinement, but still acted out within the courtly sphere. In this song the girl is described with words as “gorgiase” and “godine”, and she is a “poupine”, words which – daringly? – set the adored one up as a fresh girl from the middle or lower classes. This level of style is matched perfectly by the musical setting, which is at the same time forward and refined.

The roles of superius and tenor are divided between two equal voices in the tenor range supported by a contratenor. They compete eagerly to take the leading role. For example, the tenor is a sixth or octave higher than the superius in bars 5-9, and then the roles are reversed. In the middle of the refrain (and tierce) the activity suddenly breaks off for a moment of magical stillness in parallel thirds at the words “qu’on dit si tost / comme gente” (bb. 14.2-16). This entrancement characterizes the contrasting couplets in tempus imperfectum diminutum. (The change of mensuration is carefully marked in all parts in both sources. This was important, while the scribe did not care to put in the signs for tempus perfectum at the beginning of the song in Copenhagen). The superius quite exceptionally recites the first words of the couplets in repeated breves followed a bar later by the contratenor, while the tenor fills out and sketches the rhythmical drive.

One cannot help wonder why this chanson by Busnoys apparently was known only to the Dijon scribe and not found in any other sources.

PWCH January 2009