The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Study and Critical Commentary

of Pi Cantiones

A Sixteenth-Century Song Collection

 

by

Eileen Hadidian

June 1978

 

CHAPTER V.

TEXTUAL AND MUSICAL ANALYSIS

 

     In its original vellum binding, Pi Cantiones is a small octavo volume, measuring 5 by 3 inches. It consists of ninety-nine folios (recto and verso) and is printed throughout in italic. The music is written above the words in the first stanza, in white mensural notation, generally five scores to the page, and is unbarred, except for the final double bars at the close. It is an interesting volume if only because it is believed to be the earliest Swedish musical work to be printed in mensural notation.

     The long, breve, semibreve, minim and crotchet are the principal simple note values used, along with the descending and ascending ligatures.

Example 1.

     Nine clefs are used: bass, baritone, contratenor, tenor, alto, mezzo soprano, soprano, low treble and treble.

     The time signatures used are 3 (triple or perfect time), (duple or imperfect time) and (imperfect time, perfect prolation, equivalent to our modern 6/8 or 6/4).

     The is used occasionally, the and never.

     The long, breve and semibreve, when perfect, are each equal to three notes of the lesser value, and when imperfect, to two only. Notes smaller than the semibreve are always imperfect.

     As a guide to the right interpretation of the Pi Cantiones songs it is to be observed that the melodies, though not hampered by barlines, are strictly metrical, and with a knowledge of the values of the various notes and ligatures, there is no difficulty in reading the songs in their original notation.

     The Pi Cantiones songs are examples of rhythmic or accentual verse, in which stressed and unstressed syllables are determined by whether they are accented or not, as opposed to quantitative or durational verse, in which long and short syllables determine the scansion.

     The principal feet in which these verses are composed are a mixture of iambus , trochee and spondee . The writers, as a rule, have dispensed with the anapest , dactyl and amphibrach .

     In many songs it is difficult to decide the verse scheme in terms of accents, as perpetual irregularities occur, often through all the stanzas. As a general rule, however, trochaic forms outweigh the iambic,

Example 2.

     The stanzas vary in length from two lines (Congaudeat turba filium) to fourteen (Ave Tex regum omnium). The four line construction of the hymn with four iambs per line of text is found only in O Rex Coelorum domine, though here two verses are melodically bound together, thus breaking the hymn's four-line strophic form.

     The short four-line verse, with varying number of syllables per line, occurs in at least fifteen of the songs, such as Puer nobis nascitur, In Natalie Domini (PC 1625), Parvulus nobis nacitur (PC 1625), Jesus Christus nostra salas, Discipline filius and others. The sequences, such as Psallat fidelis concio and Autor humani generis, alter their rhythm and meter repeatedly.

     Only in one song does one find the old verse scheme where a distich two lines of verse regarded as a unit or a couplet end every verse, namely In hoc anni circulo. This form was often used at the time by medieval Swedish-Latin bards and poets.

Example 3.

In hoc anni circulo
Vita datur seculo:
Nato nobis parvulo
De virgine:
Nato nobis parvulo
De virgine Maria.

     The songs come closest in metric style to the German spiritual folk poetry flourishing in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The majority of the songs are in duple meter, although twenty-five are in triple and three in changing duple-triple time.

     Strophic form, with each line set to a strain of music, and the same music repeated for every verse, is found in forty-six of the songs.

     Twenty one songs have a repeat in the beginning.

     Eight have a repeat in the beginning and the end.

     Sequence form, with a new melody for every other verse, is found in seven songs.

     If not formed along the lines of the Minnesinger forms, with Stollen and Abgesang, many of the songs end with some graceful refrain or chorus. At least twenty-seven have a refrain.

     In five of them the refrain consists only of one or two words: In Bethlehem (Congaudeat turba filium), Alleluia (Puer natus in Bethlehem, Ascendit Christus hodie, Surrexit Christus hodie, Surrexit Christus Domine).

     The refrain as part of the song, without melodic separation, occurs in eight: Angelus emittitur, Ave maris stella divinitatis, In natalie Domini (PC 1625), Parvulus nobis nascitur (PC 1625), Johelis prophetiae (PC 1625), Benedicte tres personas, Nunc floret mendacium, Scribere proposui.

     Refrains having the same melody as a repeat in the stanza occur in three songs: De radice processerat, Ecce novum gaudium, O scholares voce pares.

     As an independent melody, the refrain occurs in eight songs: Laetetur Jerusalem, Resonet in laudibus, Ex legis observentia (PC 1625), Triformis relucentia, Cum sit omnes, Discipline filius, Schola morum floruit, Raus virens olivarum.

     In Sum aliena provincia the refrain has the same melody as the stanza, and occurs as an independent verse.

     The refrain precedes the song in two examples, In hoc anni circulo and Tempus adest gratiae (with refrain Gaudete).

     In general the melodies are syllabic, with one note per syllable. There are a few, however, whose text is elongated by long melismas (Disciplinae filius, Triformis relucentia). Often the first syllable will carry a long melisma, while the rest of the song is set in a syllabic manner. At least thirteen of the songs begin this way.

Example 4.

     With regard to mode, there is a tendency toward the modern major-minor system, with melodies revolving around the first, third and fifth degrees. In range most of the melodies do not exceed an octave or ninth. Phrases will usually begin and end on one of the important notes of the mode; these notes are also highlighted by being preceded by a skip, or being given a long note value, thus accented through either agogic or durational means.

Example 5.

     Modally, the songs are grouped in the following categories:

Dorian: 30
Hypodorian: 3
Phrygian: 14
Hypophrygian: 1
Lydian: 3
Hypolydian: 1
Mixolydian: 3
Hypomixolydian: 2
Ionian: 10
Hypoionian: 8
Aeolian: 7
Mixed mode: 7

     A variety of musical forms are represented in the Piae Cantiones collection, dating from the tenth to the sixteenth century. Examples of these forms were brought back by students enrolled in foreign universities who were the formal links between Sweden-Finland and the rest of the continent. In the French schools in the thirteenth century came exposure to the cantio tradition, and to the French mensural system and ars antiqua polyphony. In the fourteenth century German spiritual songs made their way into Scandinavia. By the time of the Reformation most of these songs were well established in Sweden and Finland, and many of them became part of the Lutheran hymn repertoire.

     The Pi Cantiones collection spans the entire development of the non-liturgical sacred song in the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. Some of the songs even originated as liturgical tropes and sequences, before becoming devotional songs independent of the liturgy.

     Most of the songs are said to date from the golden age of the cantio, from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The cantio is a term used since the Middle Ages to denote a medieval monophonic song, usually of religious content. The form can be AAB, AB, or AABA. It is usually strophic and syllabic, with a straight-forward rhythmic style. The text is often a mixture of Latin and the vernacular, usually German or French. The contents are devotional, used primarily during private worship and for processions. Cantio composers were often the wandering clerics and students, and the songs became part of the tradition in the Latin song schools.

     The cantio flourished in Bohemia, from whence it spread to North and South Germany, where during the sixteenth century it evolved into the church hymn in the vernacular. Although it developed mainly in central Europe, the cantio seems to have originated in France in the twelfth century. The two important collections of cantiones, Cod. Laurentianus and Cod. Matriten, are both of French origin.

     Many cantiones are not independent compositions, but originally in addition or interpolation into liturgical pieces such as the Benedicamus trope or the sequence.

     The trope consisted of textual additions to a preexisting melody, parts of the Mass such as the Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Gradual, etc., ranging from a few amplifying words interpolated between the Kyrie eleison (e.g., Kyrie fons bonitatis eleison) to lengthy explanatory sentences, often versified text. Troping was used most frequently with items of the Ordinary of the Mass, and with the Benedicamus Domino. Piae Cantiones includes several songs that were originally tropes.1

     Puer nobis nascitur was sung as Christmas instead of the Benedicamus Domino, and dates from the fifteenth century.

     Puer natus in Bethlehem was a trope for Epiphany from the thirteenth century, of Bohemian origin. It soon became a popular spiritual song in the vernacular, and exists in numerous variants in Germany and Bohemia.

     Divinum mysterium was a trope to the Sanctus, and occurs in many manuscripts from the tenth to the sixteenth centuries all over Europe.

     Congaudeat turba fidelium is a Christmas trope on Benedicamus Domino. It occurs in the eleventh century manuscript in Paris and in a twelfth century Antiphonal Missarium.

     Resonet in laudibus was originally a Benedicamus trope as was the older Magnum nomen domini, and dates from the fourteenth century.

     Zacheus arboris was a church dedication festival Benedicamus Domino, of Bohemian origin, from the fifteenth century.

     Christus pro nobis passus est is a "Benedicamus, de morte et resurrectione Christi", according to Christoph Adolf (1542).2

     Quando Christus ascenderat is also a Benedicamus, according to Lucas Lossius' Psalmodia (1553).3

     Surrexit Christus hodie (PC 1625) was originally a Benedicamus trope for Easter Vespers, from the Mosburg Gradual.

     Ascendit Christus hodie (PC 1625) was also a Benedicamus trope.

     The sequence is the oldest type of trope, a literary and musical accretion to the Alleluia. Sequence texts are usually lengthy poems in a free style, with a rather indeterminate textual rhythm based on the melodic line. They consist of parallel strophes, in the form a, bb, cc, dd...ii, k, beginning and ending with a single line between which there are a number of double line stanzas. The two lines of each stanza are identical in the number and accentuation of the syllables, but usually with a marked variation from one stanza to the next. Musically, sequence texts are set in a rather strict syllabic style, with identical music for the two lines of a couplet.

     According to the research of P. I. J. Kurvinen4 there are seven sequences in the Piae Cantiones editions of 1582 and 1625. All but one (Grates nunc omnes, PC 1625) were originally Marian songs. They all show the sequence construction to a greater or lesser degree. None of them begin with a single line, but several end with one (Psallat fidelis concio, Iam versus amor).

     Unica gratiferat consists of couplets except for stanza 2, which has three lines.

     The stanzas occur either as couplets, with a pair of lines set to the same music, or are through-composed, with the same music written out twice (Florens iuventus, Autor humani generis).

     In Laus virginis there is a stanza, O dulcis Jesus, which Dreves considers to have been inserted here, accidently or purposely, but which actually is a fragment of some other Passiontide or Easter sequence, as the words are out of place in the middle of Laus virginis.

     Grates nunc omnes (PC 1625), belonging to the Christmas mass, is the oldest song in the Piae Cantiones collection. It appeared in Germany around the tenth century; from there it got to Sweden and later found its way into the Protestant service. The variants of the melody given by Moberg5 show that the Piae Cantiones melody is very close to the original version.

     Along with the sequence, there developed in Germany an independent form of religious poetry in the vernacular, called leise, medieval congregational hymns so-called because of their refrain Kyrie eleis (on) which was abbreviated to Kirleis or leis. The texts are either in Latin, German or a mixture of the two (Mischlied). An example of Mischlied is In dulci jubilo. Some leise were also called Wiegenlieder or cradle songs, for their texts dealt with the birth of Jesus and the adoration of the shepherds. In dulci jubilo, Resonet in laudibus, Nunc angelorum and  Psallat unigenito are examples of Wiegenlieder.6

     The Latin hymn construction, a short strophic poem in iambic dimeter () is found in only one song, O Rex coelorum Domine. This standard meter for the Latin hymns () was established by St. Ambrose.

     Many of the Piae Cantiones songs were originally Marian songs, modified in this collection for religious reasons. Along with the sequences mentioned above three Marian songs have been changed: O Christe Rex piissime (Virgo Mater piissima), Ave Rex regum omnium (Ave Regina omnium) and Parce Christe spes reorum (Parce Virgo spes reorum). Two songs have been retained with their original texts, Ave maris stella lucens and Ave maris stella divinitatis.

     Another form found in this collection is the Benedicte, a song of thanks after the meal, and represented here by Benedicte tres personas.

     Among the Piae Cantiones songs, eight are acrosticons, the names representing famous poets and bishops of Sweden-Finlan: Psallat scholarium concio (Petrus), Jesu humani generis (Johannes), Jesu Christus nostra salus (Johannes), Bene quondam dociles (Bircerus), Triformis relucentia (Thomas), Olla mortis patescit (Olaus), Ramus virens olivarum (Raguualdus) and Natus quidam Rex (Nicholas).

     The two-part songs in Piae Cantiones represent a particularly old tradition going back to the thirteenth century ars antiqua polyphonic practice. Paranymphus adiens is found in sixteenth century sources only, but it must go back to an older form, for the static movement between voice parts does not belong to sixteenth century contrapuntal practice. Medieval in setting also is Jeremiae prophetiae. The remaining two-part songs could have been brought back to Scandinavia by students studying in Paris, as the settings are in the style taught by thirteenth century theorists such as Johannes de Garlandia and Franco Parisiensis. That the works of these theorists were known in Sweden is shown by two manuscripts in the Uppsala library. The first, from c. 1330, is a copy of the treatise Musica mensurabilis by Petrus Picardus, a student of Franco Parisiensis.7 The other manuscript, from the fifteenth century, is a music theory book based on Franco of Cologne's Ars cantus mensurabilis, written in the latter part of the thirteenth century.

     Regimen scholarium shows clear traces of thirteenth century two-part settings with its progressions in octaves, fifths and fourths.

Example 6. Regimen Scholarium

     The other two-part songs, Ad cantus laetitiae and Zachaeus arboris, are cast in a form popular in France in the thirteenth century, the roundelay or rondellus, a canonic form similar to the round. This technique is also referred to as Stimmtausch, illustrated in Ad cantus laetitiae: here the music of the first phase is repeated in the second, but in the third phrase the two voices exchange melodies. The first to use this form was Johannes de Garlandia in his treatist De musica mensurabili positio, where he explains how the voices exchange parts - - and gives an example of a two-part setting similar to Zachaeeus arboris.8

Example 7a. Ad cantus laetitiae

Example 7b. Zachaeus arboris

   

     Walter Odington, another thirteenth century theorist, calls this form rondellus in his treatise De speculatione musicae, and applies it to a slightly different technique. Here, two or three melodies are to be sung simultaneously, by as many voices, and all the voices are to sing each melody in turn. But unlike the round, the voices enter simultaneously with different portions of the common melodic material.9

     The three and four-part songs in Piae Cantiones date probably from the early sixteenth century. The melody is either in the tenor (Tempus adeste gratiae, Cedit hyems, Jesus dulcis memoria) or in the descant (Aetas carmen melodiae, Jucundare jugiter).

     In the 1625 edition, the musical editor, Friderici, made certain changes in these polyphonic songs, in order to bring their style in keeping with the musical practice of the time, by changing certain intervals, breaking long notes into smaller note values and expanding the three-part settings to four parts (Aetas carmen melodiae, Cedit hyems and Jucundare jugiter).

     The concluding part of this chapter will be devoted to a closer analysis of several songs from the collection. The songs can be grouped in categories according to certain rhythmic patterns in which the melodies are cast.10 Since songs belonging to the same category tend to exhibit similar characteristics, I have attempted to analyze one song from each group, with respect to form, poetic and musical meter, rhyme scheme, rhythmic and melodic shape, text settings, mode and range.

[Page 48]

Angelus emittitur

      This song, as far as is known, is indigenous to the Pi Cantiones collection and has not been traced to any earlier continental sources. Dreves lists it under Lieder und Motetten des Mittel alters, and states that although the sources for this song date from the sixteenth century, the contents are from the Middle Ages.

     Angelus emittitur consists of nine verses of three lines each, with a refrain Igitur, porta coeli panditur.

     The poetic meter is incomplete trochaic, consisting of seven syllables per line in the scansion pattern . The refrain has 3 + 7 syllables in the pattern

     The musical meter is also trochaic. The shape of the melodic line revolves around the principal notes of the Dorian mode, which carry the accented syllables in the text. These notes sometimes begin and always end each phrase, and are given longer values; except for the G in the third line all the long notes are D, F. and A. Skips occur before strong syllables (Angelus, Igitur), bringing them out through agogic accent. Skips also occur on strong notes, such as the F in the third and fourth lines.

     Exceptions to the prevailing poetic meter are indicated by an *.

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Dies est laetitiae

     This song is a Christmas hymn. Woodward dates the text from the twelfth century, commonly ascribed to Benno, bishop of Meissen (d. 1107), but also to Adam de St. Victor (d. 1177)IX Dreves finds it in four fifteenth century sources.X It appears in all important sixteenth century songbooks prior to Pi Cantiones, those of Christoph Adolf (1542), Johannes Spangenberg (1544), Lucas Lossius (1553), Johannes Leisentrit (1567) and in the Swedish psalm book of 1572.

     The earliest form of the tune is found n the Hohenfurth manuscript at Prague, c. 1410, and given by Dreves [Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi, Vol. 1, 1886, p. 196.]

Example 8.

[Page 53]    

     One form or another of Dies est laetitiae is found harmonized in almost every Lutheran songbook. It was also set by Johann Walther, Seth Calsivius, Praetorius, Schein, Crger, Buxtehude and J. S. Bach.

     The hymn consists of eight verses, of ten lines each, with no refrain.

     The poetic meter is predominately trochaic, with six or seven syllables per line, in the order 7.6.7.7.7.7.7.7.7.6. The excepts to the trochaic pattern are marked with an * beside the text. In the seven-syllable lines, the pattern changes from incomplete trochaic to , an iambic scansion with an extra short syllable inserted between the first and second feet. In the six-syllable lines, the scansion changes from trochaic to .

     The tune is made up of five melodic strains combined and repeated with slight variations to the pattern A B A B C C' D A B' E.

     The musical meter is trochaic, with strong beats occurring on the semibreve level. The melody revolves around the strong notes of the mode, which is F Ionian. Beginnings and particularly ends of phrases fall on these pivotal notes, F and C, as do the  two important skips, between the second and third phrases, and between the fifth and sixth phrases. The melodic setting disregards the initial iambic foot in the poetic lines that are irregular, and treats them as trochaic.

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Personent hodie

     This rousing tune is of Scandinavian origin, and apparently the parody of an older cantio of four stanzas in honor of St. Nicholas. The words and tune alike have been copied by Dreves from the Mosburg Gradual (Cod. Univ. Monacen. 157) of the year 1360.

Example 9.

     The Piae Cantiones version consists of four verses of eight lines each.

     The poetic meter presents interesting scansion patterns. Prominent are dactyl ( / ˘ ˘ ), amphibrach ( ˘ / ˘ ) and trochaic ( / ˘ ) feet.

     The rhythmic setting of the melody follows a pattern quite different from the poetic meter, in that it is primarily anapest ( ˘ ˘ / ). The trochaic feet, however, are set to a trochaic rhythm.

[Page 58]

     The tune is in the dorian mode, within the range of a ninth, and revolving around the principal notes D, A and F. Phrases always end with one of these notes, which moreover are given longer values.

     At the beginning of the seventh line there is a syllable wanting, both in the 1582 facsimile and in Mkinen's modern edition. Vir should be repeated three times, not two, on the note A. This omission is confirmed by Dreves' version on Intonent hodie, the music of which, in the sixth line of the third stanza, requires it to be sung Submersum, sum, sum / Submersum, sum, sum / Submersum puerum / Patris custodiuit.11

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O scholares discite

     This is one of the ten school songs in Piae Cantiones and is probably of Scandinavian origin. Klemming quotes it from an Uppsala manuscript (Cod. vetus Wadstenensis J. VI, quartus in ordine, nunc Upsaliensis 32) but gives no date.12

     The text is a good example of an accentual text which is very regular in its scansion. It consists of seven verses without refrain, of twelve lines each. The poetic meter is trochaic, either complete (three trochaic feet / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ ) or incomplete (three trochaic feet plus an accented syllable / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ).

     The melody is in the ionian and aeolian modes, with a range of a tenth. The music consists of four strains with their repetitions and variations, in the pattern A B C A B D C B' C C B' D.

     Although the number of syllables per line is always six or seven, the musical phrases are irregular in length and often extended by means of melismas toward the end. The use of extensio modi occurs in every phrase but one, and always on strong syllables, either the antipenultimate syllable (dīscite, percīpite, ducītis, dilīgitis, recēdite, secūrior) or on the penultimate syllable (vidēte, quiētis, repetēntes, vivēntes). These are all long syllables in Latin.

     Other than these melismas, the setting is syllabic, and the motion is stepwise.

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In hoc vitae stadio

     This song belongs to a group which start with a long melisma on the first note, usually a breve followed by minims. But whereas many of the others continue with a predominantly syllabic setting after the initial melisma, this song has melismas in almost every phrase, in the beginning and/or on the penultimate syllable.

     The text consists of four verses without refrain, of ten lines each with six to nine syllables per line. The six-syllable lines are always trochaic ( / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ ); the seven-syllables lines are either incomplete trochaic ( / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ), or iambic with an extra short syllable inserted between the first and second feet ( ˘ / ˘   ˘ / ˘ / ).

     The musical setting is trochaic, with long notes and melismas occurring on strong syllables, disregarding initial iambic feet in the poetic scansion.

     The mode is phrygian. The first phrase, starting and ending on E, with the skip of a fifth E-B after the melisma, establishes the mode. The phrases are individually set, the only rhythmic symmetry occurring between the first and fourth phrases.

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Mundanis vanitatibus

     There is no mention of early sources for this song and presumably it is of Scandinavian origin.

     The poetic meter is primarily iambic, consisting of our feet ( ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ). When the phrases starts with an accented syllable, as in Veris felicitatibus, the scansion becomes / ˘ ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / , a trochaic foot followed by three iambic feet, or / ˘ / ˘ ˘ / ˘ / , two trochees and two iambs.

     The musical form is A A B B . The rhythmic setting is iambic, each phrase beginning with an upbeat figure. Each line of music and poetry consists of eight semibreves and four feet, or eight syllables. The phrases are identical in length and the rhythmic setting of the melody agrees with the poetic scansion.

     The mode is dorian, established in the beginning phrase by the upward leap of a fifth D-A. All large skips tend to go to one of the strong notes of the mode, D, A, or F.

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Jesus Christus nostra salus

    This is one of the two songs on the Eucharist. Dreves prints it from four different manuscripts from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The melody is found in Leisentrit's songbook of 1567, but the earliest form of the tune appears in the Hohenfurth manuscript (Gradual Altovadense, 1410), as given by Dreves.13

    The author of the text is unknown, but the acrosticon revealed by the first letter of each verse (Johannes) had led scholars such as Clemens Blume to speculate whether it could be by Johannes Huss, the fourteenth century preacher and reformer.14

    There are four verses of four lines each, with eight syllables per line. The first three lines are primarily trochaic, the last line iambic. The musical system is trochaic, strong syllables accentuated by long notes or melismas, the latter occurring at the end of each phrase either on the penultimate or the antipenultimate syllable.

    The tune is in the dorian mode, established in the first phrase by the upward leap of a fifth D-A, outlining the dorian fifth, by the configuration of the phrase which revolves around D, A, and F, and by the range.

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In hoc anni circulo (with refrain Verbum caro factum est)

    The earliest form of this song occurs in a manuscript from the twelfth century in the Bib. Nat. Paris (Lat. 1139, f. 48), partly in Latin and partly in Provencal. Dreves also discovered it in a manuscript of the thirteenth century, the Antiphoniarium Bobbiense (Cod. Taurinen, f. 114). A popular Christmas carol [e.g., In The Ending Of The Year], it has been translated in almost every language and exists with many variations.

    The earliest form of this tune is taken by Dreves from the Hussite Kantional von Jistebnicz, c. 1420, arranged for two voices.15

    The Piae Cantiones version consists of five verses or six lines each plus a four-line refrain which precedes the verse.

    The poetic meter is trochaic with no irregularities

    The music, in triple meter, consists of four strains, repeated and varied, in the pattern A B (refrain) C D A B (verse); in essence, it is an A B A form, in which the four lines of refrain and the last four lines of verse are identical in musical setting, accents and number of syllables. Melismas occur at the end of the first two lines of the verse, and the piece moves into a higher range.

    The mode is dorian.

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In vernali tempore

    One of two songs in honor of Spring, In vernali tempore has a spirited, lively rhythm, and is probably of Scandinavian origin.

    It has three verses of ten lines each, with no refrain.

    The poetic meter is trochaic for the six-syllable lines ( / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ ) and trochaic with an extra short syllable inserted between the second and third feet for the seven-syllable lines ( / ˘ / ˘ ˘ / ˘ ).

    The music consists of four strains, repeated in the pattern A B A B C D B C D B, which gives an overall musical structure of A A B B ; the musical rhythm is trochaic and in triple meter.

    Modally, the piece seems to be in hypoaeolian on G, with a B-flat in the key signature. The musical setting disregards the modified trochaic structure of the poetic line when there are seven syllables and treats it as trochaic.

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Ave Tex regum omnium

    One of four prayer hymns, this was originally a Marian song.

    There are three verses without refrain, of fourteen lines each. The poetic meter is entirely iambic, except for the first word Ave. The number of syllables per line varies from four to eleven.

    The musical rhythm is also iambic, starting with an upbeat figure for each phrase. The initial trochaic foot of the first verse ( / ˘ ) is disregarded and treated as iambic.

    The musical form is A A B, with the music of the four first lines repeated for the next four, and the remaining six lines set to different music. The mode is hypomixolydian.

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Notes 

1. For a detailed discussion of the origins of these songs, see G. R. Woodward, Piae Cantiones, pp. 205-266. Return

2. Ibid., s.v. "Christus pro nobis passes est". Return

3. Ibid., s.v. "Quando Christus ascenderat". Return

4. P. I. J. Kurvinen, Suomen virsirunouden alkuvaiteet vieen 1640 (Helsinki 1929). Quoted by Mkinen, Die aus frhen bhmischen Quellen, pp. 131-132. Return

5. Moberg, Uber die schwedischen Sequenzen, p. 220. Return

6. Norlind, Latinska skolsnger, p. 138. Return

7. Ibid., p. 148. Return

8. Edmond de Coussemaker, Scriptores de musica medii aevi, I: 97. Return

9. Ibid., I:116. Return

10. See Appendix for these rhythmic categories. Return

IX. G. R. Woodward, , pp. 215-219. [Ed. There were two footnotes numbered 9 and 10; I've renumbered these two to their Roman numeral equivalents, IX and X.] Return

X. See Appendix for list of sources. Return

11. Ibid., p. 210. Return

12. Ibid., p. 248. Return

13. Ibid., p. 236. Return

14. Ibid. Return

15. Ibid., p. 205. Return

 

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