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MS Florence 2794


D’un autre amer mon cueur s’abesseroit 3v · Ockeghem, Johannes

Appearance in the group of related chansonniers:

*Copenhagen ff. 32v-33 »D’un autre amer mon cueur s’abesseroit« 3v · Edition · Facsimile

*Dijon ff. 42v-43 »D’un autre amer mon cuer s’abesseroit« 3v Okeghem · Edition · Facsimile

*Laborde ff. 18v-19 »D’ung aultre amer mon cueur s’abesseroit« 3v · Edition · Facsimile

*Leuven ff. 14v-15 »D’un autre amer mon cueur s’abesseroit« 3v · Edition · Facsimile

*Nivelle ff. 66v-67 »D’ung autre amer mon cuer s’abesseroit« 3v Okeghem · Edition · Facsimile

*Wolfenbüttel ff. 33v-34 »D’ung aultre aymer mon cueur s’abbesseroit« 3v · Edition · Facsimile

Other musical sources:

Bologna Q17 ff. 40v-41 »D’ung aultre amer« 3v Jo. ockeghem · Facsimile (Q017_042)
Copenhagen 1848 p. 145 »D’ung aultre aymer mon cueur se besseroit« 3v · Facsimile
Florence 178 ff. 62v-63 »D’un altre amer mon cor s’abaserer« 3v
Florence 2356 ff. 73v-74 »[D’]ung aultre amer« 3v
Florence 2794 ff. 19v-20 »D’ung aultre amer mon cueur s’abesseroit« 3v de okeghem
Frankfurt VII 20 f. 1 »Salve mater pietatis« 1v [3v] S only
Paris 15123 ff. 189v-190 »D’um aultre amer mon cueur s’ebasseroit« 3v Busnoys · Facsimile
Paris 2245 ff. 13v-14 »D’ung autre amer mon cueur s’abesseroit« 3v okeghem · Facsimile
Rome 2856 ff. 16v-17 »Dunch aulter amer« 3v Jo okeghem · Facsimile
Rome XIII.27 ff. 112v-113 »Dum altre amer« 3v · Facsimile
Sevilla 5-1-43 ff. 51v-52 »D’ung aultre amer mon cueur s’abasseroit« 3v (incl. an alternative C)
Tongeren f. Cv »[D’un aultre amer mon cueur s’abesseroit]« 2v (S and T only, fragment)

This page with editions as a PDF

Reworkings, citations, and use of material, see Meconi 1994, pp. 28-29, and Fallows 1999, pp. 140-141.

Editions: Jeppesen 1927 no. 28 (Copenhagen); Droz 1927 no. 36 (Dijon); Ockeghem 1992 p. 61 (Dijon); Gutiérrez-Denhoff 1988 no. 26 (Wolfenbüttel); Busnoys 2018 no. 5 (Laborde).

Text: Rondeau quatrain; full text in Copenhagen, Dijon, Laborde, Leuven, Nivelle, Wolfenbüttel, and in Copenhagen 1848, Florence 2794, Paris 2245; also in Berlin 78.B.17 f.118 (no. 293), ed.: Löpelmann 1923 p. 204, London 380 f. 242, Jardin 1501 f. 84v (no. 243), Chasse 1509 f. Q4.

The poem according to Dijon:

D’un autre amer mon cueur s’abesseroit,
il ne fault ja penser que je l’estrange (1)
ne que pour rien de ce propos me change, (2)
car mon honneur en appetisseroit (3)

Je l’aime tant que jamais ne seroit (4)
possible a moi de consentir l’eschange.

D’un autre amer mon cueur s’abesseroit,
il ne fault ja penser que je l’estrange.

La mort, par Dieu, avant me desferoit
qu’en mon vivant j’acointasse ung estrange, (5)
ne cuide nul qu’a cela je me range: (6)
Ma leauté trop fort se mesferoit. (7)

D’un autre amer mon cueur s’abesseroit,
il ne fault ja penser que je l’estrange,
ne que pour rien de ce propos me change,

car mon honneur en appetisseroit.

By loving another my heart would demean itself,
no one should ever think that I will estrange him
or that for any reason I shall break this promise,
for my honor would thus be harmed.

I love him so much that it would never be
possible for me to consent to exchange him.

By loving another my heart would demean itself,
no one should ever think that I will estrange him.

Death, by God, would finish me before
I, alive, would be acquainted with another man.
Nobody shall believe that I will permit this:
My loyalty would to a too large extent be dishonored.

By loving another my heart would demean itself,
no one should ever think that I will estrange him
or that for any reason I shall break this promise,
for my honor would thus be harmed.

1) Nivelle, line 2, “penser” is misssing (error); Wolfenbüttel, “il ne fault pas …”
2) Leuven, line 3, “ne que jamays ...”
3) Laborde and Wolfenbüttel, line 4, “… s’en appetisseroit”
4) Wolfenbüttel, line 5, “Je l’ayme tant que pas il ne seroit"
5) Leuven, line 10, “... vivant racointasse ...”
6) Wolfenbüttel, line 11 “... celle loy me range”
7) Leuven, line 12, “Ma loyaulté trop fort se defferoit”;  Nivelle, “... en amainderoit”; Wolfenbüttel, “... de trop s’en …”
In addition several differences in the spelling.

Evaluation of the sources:

The song is found in all six related chansonniers copied by five different scribes. Copenhagen and Dijon were copied by the Dijon Scribe after the same exemplar. The differences between these two are minimal: Copenhagen only shows a single variant in the poem, “jactointace” in line 10 in stead of “j’acointasse”; and we find a difference in the length of a ligature in the tenor in bb. 38-39. Both are very careful copies of the exemplar. The scribe has chosen to disclose the name of the composer in Dijon, but not – according to his plan for this MS – in Copenhagen.

The version copied by the Nivelle scribe is practically without errors too. It was copied from a different exemplar, which however must have been very like one used by the Dijon scribe. The differences amount to some details of spelling only in the text, and the last line in the tierce ends “... en amainderoit”; in the music the scribe has not entered an embellishment of the cadence in the superius in bar 18 (a matter of taste), and there are differences in the use of ligatures (S b. 27; T bb. 2-5 and 31-39; C bb. 36-38) and coloration (T, b. 5). The small divergence in the embellishment of the tenor in b. 15 was probably introduced by the scribe; bb. 14.2-15 were probably faulty in the first copying, the passage has been erased and written again.

The Wolfenbüttel scribe used an exemplar very close musically to the Dijon scribe’s (the unadorned cadence in bb. 18-19 is apparently the normal one for this chanson). The only differences come in bb. 30-33 where the ligatures are slightly different in the superius and the tenor (but with no consequences for the performance of music and poem). The important differences show up in the transmission of the poem, where we find several variants (line 2, 4, 5 and 11-12, see above), which indicate a separate textual tradition.

More divergent passages show up in the version copied by the Laborde scribe. The text of the poem is practically identical to the one in Dijon/Copenhagen (see above), while the notation of the music shows a few more differences in ligatures and coloration (T bb. 2-5 – close to Nivelle; C b. 11 (coloration); C b. 26; S b. 27 - as in Nivelle; T bb. 28 and 31-33; C bb. 32-33 and 43-44.1) as well as in the musical text: The variant passage in the contratenor bb. 14-15.1 may simply have been caused by a misreading of the semibrevis value’s placement in the bar creating a semibrevis on the b-flat instead of on the following a (creating a dissonance) either at the writing of Laborde or copied from its exemplar. However, this variant is found in several later sources for the chanson (Bologna Q 17, Paris 2245, Paris 15123, Roma 2856 and Sevilla 5-I-43, see Atlas 1976, pp. 216-217) and must be regarded as quite common. Likewise the variant in the superius bb. 31.2-32, which changes the ascending movement to the cadence note into an embellished suspension, is also found in similar shapes in the already mentioned later sources along with a few additional ones (cf. Atlas 1976). Laborde has a greater number of writing errors than any of the other related MSS.

Leuven agrees with the majority of contemporary sources on most points, but adds its own variants in the poem (see above) and in the music. In the contratenor bb. 21-22, it has two brevis-notes in ligature, which eliminate the lower voice’s shared declamation of the words found in the other sources, and in bb. 31-32 the dotted figure is moved to the first bar adding a snatch of dissonance. The first variant reappears in the MS Paris 15123 (Chansonnier Pixérécourt), the second may be a simple writing error.

We must reckon that the five different copyists used different exemplars, but the differences between their versions are not remarkable. Laborde seems to represent an early stage in a tradition of transmission, which later came to influence a number of the late sources for this song.

Comments on text and music:

In this “love song” the woman declares her undying love for her lover. She promises never to exchange him for another man, “ung estrange”, because her honor will be diminished by such a transaction. The high courtly ideals of the poem become somewhat subverted by the music: When she in the second part of the rondeau sings “ne que pour rien de ce propos me change” (or that for any reason I shall change this word / break this promise) and in the same place in the tierce sings “ne cuide nul qu’a cela je me range” (Nobody shall believe that I will submit to / permit this) the superius at the words “me change / me range” suddenly changes its position by going a third below the tenor (bb. 28.2-30.1) and thus allows the tenor to sing these words first. She does “change” and does “submit”.

By his setting of the rondeau’s third line Ockeghem has changed the conventional courtly love poem into a refined work of art in which the words and the music tell different stories. The song about unending love may also be a song about the fickleness of ladies – the certainty of love is made into a musical game. The importance of the third line is clearly indicated by the introductory imitation between the tenor and the superius in bb. 20-24 and by the careful adjustment of the lower voices to the words. This passage (bb. 20-30) is the only one with many ligatures in which the singers of the lower parts don’t have to break up ligatures; the relatively precise placement of the words is here important (compare the first and fourth line of music (bb. 1-8 and 34-47)) – and this applies to all five sources. The  Leuven version has gone so far as to place the word “me” under the lowest notes in the superius in bar 30, where the room for words is restricted.

This chanson must have firmly established in the repertory when it was copied. Apparently it was a “must” to include it, and Ockeghem’s name was just as firmly connected to it, since two of the five scribes did mention him as the composer. The elegant structural duet between the superius and tenor is supplemented in the same range as the tenor by a contratenor, which very often fills out the tonal space between them. The whole is conceived very close the words of the poem, which also are easy to fit to the contratenor. That singers did break up the ligatures and occasionally the longer note values is amply documented for this widely circulated chanson as sources of the next generation and later on often show great variation in the use of ligatures (see for example Schreurs 1977).

PWCH January 2009, revised May 2017