My first encounter with really complicated Renaissance rhythms was in
my sophomore year in college, when a friend attempted to organize a
performance of the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610. I had been singing
in a chorus for less than a year at that point, and this in
combination with a few years of lessons on piano, flute, and voice
wasn't enough to make reading Monteverdi easy (if anything is). But I
was fascinated by the polyphony, and tried quite hard, and at some
point got the inspiration ``It's just counting. Ignore the bar lines,
Many people seem to view these pieces as pretty tunes with no
relationship to each other. To me, there are three characters, and a
plot at least as well defined as the ones in Schubert's song cycles.
The way I see it, the point-of-view character in all but one of the
songs (Leave now mine eyes lamenting) is male, and at the
beginning of the cycle he is in love with Flora. (When lo by
break of morning, Sweet nymphe come to thy lover)
I've put a fair amount of work into
typesetting some of Thomas Morley's "Canzonets for Three voices" so that
the group I sing and play recorders with can perform from unbarred
parts without having to deal with the facsimile. Here's
what the cantus part looks like (size 194773) as Morley
There are a number of differences between the way Thomas Morley
published his canzonets and the way they are presented in even a
very good modern edition.
Serpent Publications is dedicated to providing music suitable for
playing in the home.
The first music published for that purpose was the sixteenth century polyphony which English speakers know best in the madrigals of Thomas Morley.
Thomas Morley's Canzonets for Two Voices are among my favorite pieces
for introducing Renaissance polyphony. As a performer and teacher, I enjoy
them frequently both as concert pieces and as musical practice for
There were a couple of notes wrong in the tenor part of Tant
que vivrai by
Claudin de Sermisy.
Since I was fixing them anyway, I modernized the lilypond.
I intended to add the rest of the lyrics, but lyricsmania.com seems to
be down, so I'll do that some other time. A friend needs the
corrections for a workshop soon.