Ave Regina caelorum (Walter Frye)

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  • (Posted 2016-02-13)   CPDL #38564:  Icon_pdf.gif Icon_snd.gif
Editor: Simon Biazeck (submitted 2016-02-13).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 104 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: This edition has been transcribed from the Trent codex. Original pitch has been retained and note values have been quartered. Cue-sized and cautionary accidentals are editorial. The original prolation sign, tempus perfectum, suggests a moderate (not slow!) three in a bar. The editorial treatment of partial key signatures (the Tenor alone has one flat), the approach to harmonic and melodic tritones, leading notes, false relations and the question of identical solmization seeks to address some aural prejudices we may have about this music, and indeed much music of the Renaissance. No attempt has been made to correct ‘forbidden’ intervals. In his often-misinterpreted discussion on the sixth tone in his treatise on mode, Johannes Tinctoris states that false concords should be avoided even if it necessitates the use of a linear tritone. However, I do not believe he is not talking about performers’ accidentals. Rather, he is referring to the rules of composition, and we should feel reasonably sure that fifteenth (and sixteenth) century composers knew exactly what they were doing, and were no more concerned with the so-called “rules” of counterpoint than composers or singers of any other age. Therefore, perhaps idiosyncratically, the linear integrity of each voice has been preserved. Only the Discantus has the text and we may well assume that the Tenor and Contratenor should be sung wordless on a uniform vowel, or perhaps even played by instruments. To date, the strongest evidence for purely vocal performance of these voices comes from Guillaume de Machaut’s nephew, Eustache Deschamps who claimed that the ideal ensemble for a polyphonic chanson was a ‘triplicité des voix’ (‘threefold voice’). However, this statement is not without its ambiguities, and we simply do not know for certain what the practice was. The presence of many more ligatures in the Contratenor complicates matters for effective pointing and quite possibly proves that the wordless voice option is best, but for purely practical reasons an attempt has been made to provide the text.

General Information

Title: Ave Regina caelorum
Composer: Walter Frye
Lyricist: Traditional

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: ATBar.
Genre: SacredMotet

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella



External websites:

Original text and translations

Text and translations need to be added.   Question.gif