Pulchrae sunt genae tuae (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina)

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  • (Posted 2019-06-30)   CPDL #54652: 
Original key (high chiavette):      
Transposed down a tone:      
Transposed down a fourth:       - Alto in tenor clef.
Editor: Pothárn Imre (submitted 2019-06-30).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 92 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Note values halved. Updated version of Edition #2004
  • (Posted 2016-05-02)   CPDL #39518: 
Original pitch:        
Tranposed down a minor third:    
Tranposed down a fourth:    
Editor: Gerd Eichler (submitted 2019-11-01).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 66 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transcribed from original print (based on 1587 edition), Mensurstrich layout, original key signature and note values, musica ficta clearly marked . MusicXML source file is in compressed .mxl format.
  • CPDL #17232:      (Finale 2006)
Editor: Sabine Cassola (submitted 2008-06-15).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 72 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: File Sizes: MIDI: 8 KB, Finale 2006: 29 KB.
Edition notes: Original pitch (high chiavette), note-values halved.

General Information

Title: Pulchrae sunt genae tuae
Composer: Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Source of lyrics: Song of Solomon 1:10–12

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SATTB
Genre: SacredMotet

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1584 in Canticum Canticorum, no. 6

Description: From Song of Songs / Songs of Solomon - Chapter 1 - Verses 10 through 12.
The use of musica ficta in this piece (just as in many of Palestrina's works, and unlike e.g. in Lasso's pieces) is far from straightforward. Among the recordings of this piece rather differing realisations of musica ficta can be found. This regards primarily - but is not confined to - the B flat/natural in the opening motif (genae tuae), the B flat/natural in the motif Collum tuum.

External websites:

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Pulchrae sunt genae tuae sicut turturis,
collum tuum sicut monilia.
Murenulas aureas faciemus tibi
vermiculatas argento.
Dum esset rex in accubitu suo,
nardus mea dedit odorem suavitatis.

English.png English translation

Thy cheeks are beautiful as the turtledove's,
thy neck as jewels.
We will make thee chains of gold,
inlaid with silver.
While the king was at his repose,
my spikenard sent forth the odour thereof.

Dutch.png Dutch translation

Prachtig zijn je wangen, als van een tortelduif.
Je hals is als een parelsnoer.
Laten wij voor jou kettingen maken van goud
ingelegd met stukjes zilver.
[Zij:]
Zolang de koning op zijn rustbed lag
verspreidde mijn nardusolie zijn lieflijke geur.

Translation by Anton Hendriks, Ben Terstegge & Hanneke Pot