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La plus bruiant, celle qui toutes passe 3v · Anonymous

Appearance in the five chansonniers:

*Copenhagen ff. 33v-35 »La plus bruiant, celle qui toutes passe« 3v · Edition · Facsimile

*Dijon ff. 71v-73 »La plus bruiant, celle qui toutes passe« 3v · Edition · Facsimile

This page with editions as a PDF

Editions: Jeppesen 1927 no. 29 (Copenhagen); Lowinsky 1964, pp. xiv-xvii (Copenhagen); Christoffersen 2001 pp. 124-125 (Copenhagen).

Text: Bergerette, full text in both sources:

La plus bruiant, celle qui toutes passe,
a qui du tout mon amour est conjoincte,
chanter me fault d’une faincte conjoincte,
muant nature en becarré la basse.

Je soupire et pleure souvent
en grief tourment est ma demeure.

Mon cueur noir come meure se sent
piteusement fault que je meure.

J’ay ma rigle changee d’autre espace,
ma haulte game est en estrange joincte
pour grief douleur faindre qui m’est joincte
pour la durté qui me fait je trespasse.

La plus bruiant, celle qui toutes passe,
a qui du tout mon amour est conjoincte,
chanter me fault d’une faincte conjoincte,
muant nature en becarré la basse.

The most dazzling, surpassing everyone,
with whom my love is utterly conjoined,
I must sing of her in a false conjunction
lowering the natural B-quadratum.

I often sigh and cry
dwelling in grim torment.

My heart feels black as mulberry,
piteously I have to die.

I have moved my scale into another range;
my high hexachord is joined to a foreign one
to feign the grievous dolour, to which I am enjoined,
for the harshness, which causes me to die.

The most dazzling, surpassing everyone,
with whom my love is utterly conjoined,
I must sing of her in a false conjunction
lowering the natural B-quadratum.

Line 11 “pour grief douleur …“ lacks a syllable in both versions (10 instead of 11 syllables). It does not seem to bother the musical setting as the addition of a filler word does not make the underlaying of text any easier.

The couplets (lines 5-8) are obviously corrupt in Dijon. In order to stretch the text the scribe has added the words “a ma chante pleure”, which probably was meant to appear in both couplets:

Je soupire et pleure souvant,
a ma chante pleure
Souvent en grief tourment est ma demeure.

Mon cueur noir come meure se sant
[a ma chante pleure]
Content piteusement fault que je meure.

Evaluation of the sources:

The song was copied into both manuscripts after the same exemplar by the Dijon scribe. Identical errors appear in both (a semibrevis instead of a minima in the contratenor, b. 8.3; the superius is written a third too low in bb. 57-64; and the ligature in the contratenor, bb. 59-60, is a-f in Dijon and a-e in Copenhagen). The hecachordal signatures in superius carefully prescribe in both instances a flat before b’ and a flat before f”. This last flat indicates that a high tessitura is used in the upper voice with a fictive (ficta or falsa) hexachord on c”, and that one can expect a sound characterized by high E-naturals (mi). In Dijon the tenor has two flats, before b and e’ (the flat before e’ disappears in the song’s couplets), while the tenor in Copenhagen has only one flat, which is more in keeping with the idea of the chanson (see below). Also in Dijon the underlay of the text is less careful than in Copenhagen. Not because the scribe did not think about it. It looks as if he has tried to expand the short text lines in the couplets by repeating words and inserting an extra line: “a ma chante pleure” (see below). It is not possible to perform Dijon’s version of the text in the couplets and at the same time obey the carefully placed signs of repetition (see the attempt at a transcription on p. 3b of the Dijon edition). The problem arose because he did not realize that the tenor governs the text declamation in this section. He applied a more credible version of the text in his slightly later copy in Copenhagen, probably after trying out the chanson in performance. As in other cases the Copenhagen copy must be regarded as the scribe’s more considered version.

Comments on text and music:

This anonymous bergerette displays a lot of interesting features. One could mention the ‘angular’ melody with many leaps and its tendency to let the phrases ‘run past the cadences’, which contribute to its troubled, floating nature etc. My comments will concentrate on the following topics:
1. The poem
2. The relationship between text and music
3. A ma chante pleure
4. Tempo and rhythm

1. The poem

The love complaint spices its conventional poetic language with musical terms. Such a procedure is not unusual. We find it for example in four rondeaux by Charles d’Orléans (nos. 34, 317, 404 and 422, cf. Charles d’Orléans (ed. Pierre Chanpion), Poèsies, Paris 1923-24). However, while Charles with great precision uses a few terms as metaphors, this poet amasses them in order to say the same things over and over in slightly varied ways. Already in line 3 a tautology turns up as “conjoincte”, a rime equivoquée which in line 2 meant “joined to”, here must be understood as “coniuncta”, that is, a hexachord on a scale degree different from the three commonly used, which by mutation is joined to the Guidonian hand and consequently is fictional – it belongs to musica ficta. This clear statement is in line 3 intensified by the word “faincte”, which means “feigned” or again “fictional”. [1] This points out the theme of the song: It is about singing in fictional hexachords. The meaning of the last line in the refrain is not very clear; I shall return to that.

After the description of deathly sorrow in the two short couplets (lines 5-8), the tierce begins by declaring “J’ay ma rigle changee d’autre espace” (line 9). The rule, the scale, or just his usual singing has been moved into another space or range. It can hint at transposition or again at changes brought about by musica ficta. “Ma haulte game” (line 10), strictly “my high scale”, must also be interpreted as referring to a hexachord because the expression can be found in rondeau no. 317 by Charles d’Orléans, and he unambiguously defines it as referring to a hexachord: “Trop entré en la haulte game, / Mon cuer, d’ut, ré, mi, fa, sol, la”. The hexachord is again joined to something foreign, fictive, “est en estrange joincte”, all to imitate or feign (“faindre”) the “grief douleur”, which is nearly killing the poet. Charles d’Orléans also lets us hear agonies of love resound in musica ficta “musique notee par fainte”: “Chiere contrefaicte de cueur, / De vert perdu et tanné painte, / Musique notee par Fainte, / Avec faulx bourdon de Maleur!” (Rondeau 404).

Line 4 heaps up musical terms for a striking ending to the refrain and thereby to the whole poem: “Muant” = “mutating”, “nature en becarré” = “hexachordum naturale to hexachordum durum”, “la basse” = “the bass”. The line lacks a preposition. The meaning may be “becarré [a] la basse”, which, however, gives the line a syllable too many, so either “a” is implied or the line should be emended to “becarré a basse”. We can find a parallel – less courtly elevated – of using words like “nature” and “becarré” in poems in the popular play Sottie des sotz triumphans qui trompent chascun (printed in Paris in the first decades of the 16th century) whose opening monologue rattle up “Sotz triumphans, sotz bruyantz, sotz parfaictz, sotz glorieulx, sotz sursotz autentiques …”, and in line 10 gets to “Sotz de bemol, de becarre et nature” (cf. E. Droz (ed.), Le Recueil Trepperel. Paris 1935, Vol. I, p. 35). The nearest translation of this line is “Fools in every hexachord” or “fools in hexachordum molle, durum and naturale”. The juxtaposition of precisely these three terms does not permit any other interpretation. The hexachord interpretation of line 4 then must be that the poet mutates his song from naturale into durum by lowering the notes – that is again by the use of musica ficta. In my translation this is paraphrased as lowering B-quadratum, which “becarré” indeed also stands for.

2. The relationship between text and music

Knud Jeppesen and Edward E. Lowinsky have commented on the special relationship between text and music in this song. [2] They both took the obscure line 4 as their starting point. Jeppesen interpreted the line as an instruction to mutate from cantus naturalis into duralis in low position. But with support from Adam von Fulda’s tract De musica from 1490 he thought that the poet’s statement did not speak about hexachords and musica ficta, but rather about the three predominant modes, the major ones on ut and fa, the minor on re and sol, and the Phrygian on mi and la. Therefore the line implies a Phrygian colouring of the Dorian mode caused by the E-flat. [3] Lowinsky disagreed strongly and turned the meaning of the line upside-down with the translation “Changing to high notes nature’s low hexachord” (Lowinsky 1964, p. xii). His reasons were in the first place that hexachordum naturale is placed lower on Guido’s hand than durum, and secondly that the superius at “becarré la basse” sings the until then highest passage in the song (cf. the Edition, bb. 25-29). Therefore he proposed to link “muant nature” to “la basse” because a passage just before uses hexachordum naturale in low position (bb. 19-20 which must be solmizated as la, sol, fa, mi). Before and after hexachordum molle is used, and in bar 25 the hexachordum durum comes to full flowering with a sharp (natural sign) before b' – becarré! [4]

The two highly esteemed scholars both took the liberty to disregard part of what the sources in fact tell us in order to get a difficult point under control, because then “wird die Meinung auf einmal klar” and “everything falls into place”. It is a bit difficult to approve, even if elements of their contradictory interpretations do offer important insights. Jeppesen was probably right in his description of a mutation to a hexachord in low position, and that it has a modal significance by colouring the tonal development. At the same time Lowinsky’s calling attention to the correlation between the wording of the text and the shape of the superius’ vocal line in bars 17-29 has a touch of the obvious. The important thing is then to find an explanation, which is able to accomodate and reconcile the contradictory interpretations.

A problem, which has to be sorted out, is that Jeppesen as well as Lowinsky assumed that the superius in the Copenhagen chansonnier has a key signature of two flats inflecting b' and e". This is not the case. The higher flat is very carefully written on the staff’s uppermost line (see the facsimile of Copenhagen chansonnier). This flat draws the singer’s attention to the fact that the song moves outside the Guidonian hand and employs a fictional hexachord based on c”, in which the note f” has to be solmizated as “fa”, and consequently e” is “mi”.

This is, however, the only example in the Copenhagen chansonnier where the superius has a signature of more than one flat. It could be a writing error. The use of signatures in the superius with an extra flat added to the one inflecting b’ is seldom in this group of MSS, but it can be found: In the Dijon chansonnier the same scribe notated »La plus bruiant« in exactly the same way as in Copenhagen (ff. 71v-73). In three further instances we find such an extra flat, all of them before f", which have to be read as “fa”-instructions for parts in a G-clef (Dijon no. 104 (ff. 127v-128) »J’ay prins deux pous a ma chemise«, no. 130 (ff. 156v-157) »A qui vens tu tes coquilles« by Busnoys, and – slightly different – in no. 80 (ff. 97v-98) »L’omme bany de sa plaisance« by Barbingant). Final confirmation of this practice can be found by looking through the Nivelle chansonnier. It also contains four chansons with a flat before f” in high upper parts notated in G-clefs. In all instances they are instructions not to inflect e” (Nivelle no. 17 (ff. 21v-22) »A quoy tient il le cuer me vole«, no. 24 (ff. 29v-30) »Puisqu’aultrement ne puis avoir« by Delahaye, no. 27 (ff. 32v-33) »Comment suis je de vostre cueur« also by Delahaye (also found as Copenhagen no. 1 and Dijon no. 51 without any hexachordal signatures in the upper part), no. 36 (ff. 44v-46) ‘En tous les lieux ou j’ay este« also found in Dijon as no. 71 (ff. 83v-85) under Busnoys’ name and without this flat).

This practice has to be regarded as relatively common in the environment in which these MSS belong, as an important and understandable instruction to the singer, just like it was in earlier as well as later musical sources (including Petrucci’s prints). Reading the signature as the common two flat key signature transformed »La plus bruiant« in Jeppesen’s transcription into a song in C-Dorian with some Phrygian colouring of the upper voice’s cadences on D, while Lowinsky in his transcription introduced so many accidentals that the song is close to c-minor (Jeppesen 1927, pp. 54-55, Lowinsky 1964 pp. xiv-xvii). The two scholars’ lifelong work on 16th century music apparently had weakened their feeling for the special character of this song. [5]

»La plus bruiant« is in a high tessitura. Superius and tenor each has a range of an octave plus a fourth and reaches g" and b-flat' respectively. As the contratenor too lies quite high, there could be reason to think that the song has been transposed up a fourth. Down a fourth, we see a song in comfortable, for its time absolutely ordinary ranges (a-d", c-f', F-a) with only one flat in the contratenor. The transposition away from a normal tessitura could very well be “J’ay ma rigle changee d’autre espace”, exactly what the poet describes.

The song can be transposed, but musica recta cannot. Hexachords on any other degree than C, F and G remain ficta or “faincte conjoincte”. In »La plus bruiant« the flat before f" in superius creates an expectation that hexachords on c" will sound. However, superius has for long stretches been consciously fashioned with a view to enforce an inflection of e" into e-flat", either in order to avoid cross-relations or illegal intervals in relation to the other voices  (bb. 3, 7, 58, 59), by virtue of imitation of a poignant phrase (b. 38), or by repeated, exposed leaps of a fourth up from b-flat' (bb. 12-13, 23-24, 48-49, 50). Every time the expected hexachord on c" is transformed into a hexachord on b-flat' – “ma haulte game est en estrange joincte”. Again exactly what the poet says.

Modally the chanson is in transposed Mixolydian. This is proclaimed by the tenor’s final phrase, which in bars 24-28 goes up and down through most of the authentic scale (c - b-flat'). But the characteristic major third of this mode is most of the time suppressed by musica ficta, and as a result the setting adopts a Dorian colouring. This may be what the ambiguous line 4 hints at – close to the interpretation by Knud Jeppesen. I am more inclined to think that “muant nature en becarré la basse” is just another way of paraphrasing the use of fictional hexachords. Lowinsky had a point in connecting the solmization of the phrases in superius to the words. His description can be modified as follows: Bars 19-20 must be solmizated in hexachordum naturale, bars 21-23 go in hexachordum molle with bar 24 mutating into a ‘high’ hexachordum naturale, which however – forced by the surrounding music – has to be lowered into a fictional hexachord on b-flat' (“muant nature … a basse”), and finally bar 25 hexachordum durum enters (“en becarré”) alternating with naturale until the end of the song. One cannot avoid the feeling that music and text were created concurrently as the ideas popped up, and that the tierce was added as an explanation of the not quite evident last line of the refrain.

Testing the offered interpretation of the relations between the elements of music theory in the text and the music, we can try to estimate if the interpretation describes relations, which can be heard in performance. Several of the points that I have brought to attention must be characterized as ‘music for reading’: The high tessitura may be normalized in performance (transposing down the song), and the modal profile designed by the flat before the high f" is nearly everywhere dispelled by musica ficta and was anyway primarily intended for the informed reader. All in all, the sharp distinction between recta and ficta was a pedagogical intellectual construction, which cannot be heard –certainly not in a transposed performance. What we can experience by hearing is the song’s unusual tonal changeability. A C-Dorian tonal space with a minor third is established during the first lines of text, which turns towards F in bars 14-17, a Phrygian cadence on D is hinted at in the following bars, but the final words in line 3 “d’une faincte conjoincte” slide into an unstable imperfect concord in bar 20 (c / c’-g / e”). The final phrase starts again in C-Dorian, then suddenly rises and cadences in a luminous C-Mixolydian. This is a striking illustration of the poem’s emphasizing of the fictional – and it is clearly audible.

In a bergrette the two half-stanzas (couplets) often have to form a contrast with the refrain. These lines are in »La plus bruiant« quite conventionally about the lover’s heart, which “feels black as mulberry”. In addition to the rhythmical contrast created by the introduction of tempus imperfectum diminutum the setting tonally proceeds in a direction opposite to the refrain: From Mixolydian major third and “becarré” (b. 35) it changes to a sound characterized by minor thirds in the imitation between tenor and superius on “souvent en grief tourment” (bb. 36 f) – remark the tenor’s notated and heartfelt a-flat in bar 40. Before the repetition sign tenor and superius cadence Phrygian on D, which, however, turns into a major triad on g (bb. 53-54). To the words “est ma demeure” the superius sings the almost thematic leap up a fourth b’-flat - e”-flat twice! After the two couplets follows a highly unusual passage, which leads back to the refrain. It moves again to the highest range and re-establishes C-Dorian. The use of coloration in superius demonstrates the composer’s theoretical ambitions also in matters of rhythm. I shall return to that.

3. A ma chante pleure

As mentioned in the discussion of the relationship between the sources it looks as if the scribe in the Dijon chansonnier has tried to improve the short text lines of the couplets by repeating words and inserting an extra line “a ma chante pleure”. It is an interesting addition. Maybe the poem’s use of musical terms did create an association to the poet and duke Charles d’Orléans. His beloved mother, Valentina Visconti, after being widowed, when Louis d’Orléans was murdered in 1407, took as her emblem a picture of a chantepleure, a sort of watering can pouring out big tears; as device she chose “Nil mihi praeterea, praeterea nihil mihi” or in French “Rien ne m’est plus, plus ne m’est rien”. This expression of faithful love to her dead husband became of great symbolic importance in a time when dynastic marriages of convenience were the norm among the nobility, and it was imitated and remembered for generations (cf. Enid McLeod, Charles of Orleans. Prince and Poet, New York 1969, p. 50; opposite p. 44 ibid. is a picture of a chantepleure). It is exactly this feeling of desolation, which »La plus bruiant« tries to express in words and music, so the addition is well chosen, even if Copenhagen chansonnier probably transmits the correct version of the poem. [6]

However, “A ma chante pleure” does not need to have such courtly associations. Chante-pleure can also be a song or a dance, or both. In the farce Bien avisé, mal avisé (printed in Paris around 1500) the personified vices sing and dance “Le chantepleure”, and Mal avisé is lectured that the song in the beginning is happy (“commence par liese”), but ends in tears and sadness (“Il chet en pleur et en tristesse”) for the song is wild and the words even more (“Car le chant en est sauvage / Les motz le sont encore plus”). In other farces and moralities “dancer/chanter la/le chantepleure” is used in similar sense: To drop from happiness into sorrow. This meaning also fits into the tone of »La plus bruiant«. [7]

4. Tempo and rhythm

There is no indication of mensuration at the start of the chanson in either Copenhagen or Dijon. It is not needed, as the mensuration only can be tempus perfectum. From the beginning the rhythmical interplay between the three voices gives a probably deliberate display of subdivisions of the perfect brevis. Superius divide it equally in two perfect semibreves, tenor divides it in three equal parts, three imperfect semibreves, while the contratenor divides it unequally in an imperfect semibrevis plus an imperfect brevis. This sets up a rhythmical stage on which the singers have to re-enter with the tierce having performed the two couplets in tempus imperfectum diminutum. The re-entry is prepared by a short “bridge passage” added to the couplets after the repetition sign – as a sort of clos after two times ouvert. In this passage the tenor and contratenor move in regular breves and longae, while the notes in superius are in coloration by which they loose a third of their duration. If we interpret the tempo relation between tempus perfectum and tempus imperfectum diminutum as strictly proportional, a flawless gradual return to the rhythmical scene of the refrain (and tierce) appears. The triplets in superius (bb. 55-62) exactly match the semibreves in the tenor in the opening phrase, and the breves in tenor and contratenor (bb. 55-62) in the same way correspond to superius’ equal division of the perfect brevis (bb. 1-2) – the voices simply exchange roles in the rhythmical setup. How this return’ was performed in practice is hard to know. Maybe the singers vocalised the return on the last syllable of the couplet; a possibility is to omit bar 54 and go directly to bar 55 as a seconda volta – and it might also be considered to sing here the words “a ma chante pleure” (see the edition of Dijon).

This interpretation of the tempo relation between the two sections of the bergerette is the only one making sense, and it presupposes equivalence between breves in tempus perfectum and breves in tempus imperfectum resulting in a 4:3 relation between tempus imperfectum diminutum and tempus perfectum (1 br (3 sbr) in tempus perfectum = 1 br (2 sbr) in tempus imperfectum = 2 br (4 sbr) in tempus imperfectum diminutum). The disposition of the start of the refrain and the end of the couplets seems very deliberately designed by the composer as if he wanted to stress the tempo relation and show his expertise of such matters. Whether he was conscious of the theoretical debate in the 15th century concerning tempo relations or simply followed a convention of the genre (the 4:3 relation seems to fit most bergerettes) is difficult to know. The French tradition (adhered to by Johannes Tinctoris and Franchinus Gaffurius) prescribes equivalence on the minima level, which automatically produces a 2:1 relation, while the majority of theorists with Bartolomeo Ramos de Pareja and Giovanni Spataro insists on the equivalence on the brevis level (producing 4:3). Tinctoris moreover sees the cut signs not so much as indications of diminution as of acceleratio mensurae, which probably brings the relation close to 4:3. The modern discussion of these problems has been long and comprehensive, but this chanson has not yet been summoned as a witness. [8]

If I am asked to guess on the identity of the composer of this intriguing chanson, I would point to a really competent composer of the second rank with a primarily regional fame, already known for his interest in hexachordal problems and his rather dense polyphony. One name fits this description, namely Delahaye, composer of two chansons in the Copenhagen chansonnier (nos. 1 and 6)  and a local hero in the Nivelle chansonnier.

As mentioned earlier there is a not inconsiderable element of ‘music for reading’ in »La plus bruiant«. The knowledgeable reader browsing the small, intimate and beautifully made manuscript has to admire the refinement and the manifold connotations put into these pages – and his own cleverness and comprehension. This must be the situation imagined by the compiler of the manuscript, by the scribe and the painter, and not least by the person who ordered and paid for the work. As a gift the manuscript was in the same way a tribute to the receiver’s taste and musical intelligence. Were the songs to be performed, the singers had to learn it by heart or to read from copies in another format made by one of the household’s musicians.

So much erudition is bound up with »La plus bruiant« – maybe to such a degree that the music not really gets off the ground – and it becomes interesting to know what is on the next opening. The compiler evidently had some fun when he decided on »Sur mon ame«.

PWCH March 2008 (revised, a longer version was published in Christoffersen 2001 pp. 119-130)

1) Cf. Karol Berger, Musica ficta. Theories of Accidental Inflections in Vocal Polyphony from Marchetto da Padova to Gioseffo Zarlino, Cambridge 1987. Return

2) Knud Jeppesen (ed.), Der Kopenhagener Chansonnier. Copenhagen 1927, pp. LXI-LXII, and Edward E. Lowinsky, ‘Foreword’ in H. Colin Slim (ed.), Musica nova accommodata per cantar et sonar sopra organi; et altri strumenti, composta per diversi eccellentissimi musici. In Venetia, MDXL (Monuments of Renaissance Music I), Chicago 1964, pp. v-xxi. Return

3) “Der verzweifelte Liebhaber, der seine Dame zu besingen hat, kann es nur in Trauerton vollbringen indem er zu einer “faincte conjoincte” … Zuflucht nimmt, und dadurch von nature (cantus naturalis) zum becarre la basse (d. h. eine tiefe Lage des cantus duralis) mutiert: … [quotes lines 1-4]. Dass es sich hier nicht um eine blosse Solmisationsangelegenheit dreht, geht daraus hervor, dass die Mutation aus dem C-Hexachord in den G-Hexachord nicht mit der musica ficta zu tun haben kann. Fasst man aber dagegen die Stelle im Sinne der oben gegebenen Interpretation von der Lehre Adams [pp. LIX-LX] auf, wird die Meinung auf einmal klar, denn in diesem Falle wird damit ausgedrückt, dass der singende Liebhaber die dorische oder mixolydische Tonart durch ein Verzeichen in die phrygische oder aeolische ändert. Vielleicht ist hiermit speziell an die dorische Tonart gedacht, die durch be in die phrygische übergeht. Ansichten wie Glareans über den weinerlichen Charakter dieser Tonart scheinen hierdurch auch andererseits geäussert.” (Jeppesen 1927, p. LXI). Return

4) “Jeppesen interpreted this [line 4] as a mutation from the cantus naturalis to a low position of the cantus duralis. The difficulty with this interpretation is twofold: 1) the natural hexachord, in the context of this composition, is the lowest of the three, the hard one is the highest; 2) the composer sets the words en becarre la basse to a high passage in the soprano, changing from the treble clef on the second to one on the first line to facilitate ascent of the melody to G", the highest note of the whole chanson. I propose that we construe la basse as belonging to nature although, with poetic licence, it is placed after becarre. As soon as we interpret the passage in this fashion, everything falls into place and the musical setting at once makes sense. The phrase preceding the words muant nature has to be solmizated in this manner: [cf. the main text] In other words, the composer changed from hexachordum molle to hexachordum naturale. Now, muant nature, he must change from the hexachordum naturale to a higher position requiring B-natural and indeed in measure 25, to insure the becarre, he inserts a sharp, which, in the usage of the time, stands also for a natural sign. The flat before B in the superius in measure 22 … is surely notated so as to emphasize the change to B-natural. The poet-composer is careful not to speak of a change from the natural to the hard hexachord, but only from the low natural to becarre. The accompanying music, for a fleeting moment of three to four tones, requires a solmization in the hexachordum durum, but it executes the demands of the text in employing the use of B-natural and in changing from low to high.” (Lowinsky 1964, pp. xviii-xix). Return

5) It is quite remarkable that Lowinsky in 1945 had published the classical (if rather incomplete) explanation of these flats before f" in his article ‘The Function of Conflicting Signatures in Early Polyphonic Music’, The Musical Quarterly 31 (1945), pp. 227-260, at pp. 254-256. In note 31 on p. 254 he declares that “The practice is no longer consistent in the Copenhagen Chansonnier ... in Nos. 1, 11, 12, and 29, f" occurs often, but never accompanied by a flat.” – he did not consult the MS itself, but relied on Jeppesen’s edition! Return

6) There is a lot more on the chantepleure in the article by Anna Kłosowska, ‘Tearsong: Valentine Visconti’s Inverted Stoicism’, Glossator 5 (2011) pp. 173-198. Return

7) Cf. Howard Mayer Brown, Music in the French Secular Theater. 1400-1550, Cam. Mass. 1963, pp. 164-66, which includes a longer excerpt of Mal avisé. In modern French “la chantepleure” stands for a sort of bung for wine barrels with several holes to get out the last drops of wine from the barrel. From this a lot of words is derived in the wine industry (even as names for orders). The word is also identified with this meaning in Dictionnaire de L’Académie française from 1694. Return

8) For a thorough examination of 15th and 16th century theoretical positions and of the modern literature, see Anna Maria Busse Berger, Mensuration and Proportion Signs. Origins and Evolution, Oxford 1993; for a review of more recent literature and Tinctoris’ views, see Alexander Blachly, ‘Reading Tinctoris for Guidance of Tempo’ in Paula Higgins (ed.), Antoine Busnoys. Method, Meaning, and Context in Late Medieval Music. Oxford 1999, pp. 399-427. Return