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Open access 15th c.
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Tout a sa dame 3v · fede alias Jean Sohier

Appearance in the five chansonniers:

*Nivelle ff. 48v-49 »Tout a sa dame« 3v (partly erased) Fede PDF · Facsimile

Edition: Nagy 2009, p. 30 (reconstruction).

Text: Rondeau quatrain; full text; Berlin 78.B.17 ff. 106v-107, ed.: Löpelmann 1923, p. 178 (only refrain and couplet).

Tout a sa dame
est et sera,
tant qu’il vivra
cueur, corps et ame.

Plus que nul ame
dit et dira

tout a sa dame
est et sera.

Sur toute femme
l’obeyra
et l’ouvrera,
car il proclame:

Tout a sa dame
est et sera,
tant qu’il vivra
cueur, corps et ame.

Wholly his lady’s
he is and will be
as long as he lives
with heart, body and soul.

More than anybody else
he says and will say that

wholly his lady’s
he is and will be.

Before all other women
he will obey her
and serve her,
because he proclaims:

Wholly his lady’s
he is and will be
as long as he lives
with heart, body and soul.

Evaluation of the source:

Entered into Nivelle by the main writer, presumably without any obvious errors. A later user has rubbed out the composer’s name and music and text of the upper voice. The erasure has made the upper voice unreadable, even if faint traces still are visible. The ultraviolet photographs of the pages published in the facsimile edition by Paula Higgins (Minkoff, Geneva 1984) are most helpful as regards the text.

Comments on text and music:

A very compact setting of a rondeau quatrain with four syllables only in each line. This sort of rondeau is met more often in poetry collections than it is in musical settings. The lover is depicted as faithful and obedient, which form a contrast to the next song in Nivelle, also by Fede and also erased. The setting runs the verse lines together two and two in syllabic declamation with a slightly more decorated upper voice, followed by an extended melisma in all voices on “Cueur, corps et ame”. The tenor seems to be the primary voice with the contratenor mainly above, but often crossing below in a harmony strongly coloured by fauxbourdon-style– all contingent upon the correctness of the my reconstruction.

The happy song seems to belong with the next chanson in Nivelle »A la longue j’ay bien cognu« ff. 49v-51 as an antithesis to the denouncement of clandestine love. Both are ascribed to “Fede” alias Jean Sohier, both set artful poetry more often met in manuals of poetry-writing than in chansonniers, and share musical style and ranges of voices.

See further ‘The music of Jean Sohier dit Fede: Comments and edition’.

PWCH June 2013