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Pieces from the renaissance
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I've discovered a fair amount of music by downloading MIDI files from the net. You'll find here some files that I've made up by myself, and often transcribed from facsimiles. These latter ones will be mentionned with fs followed by an indication of their source : Urbino
Antico: Motetti novi..., double canons from a booklet published in Venice, in year 1520;
Apel: a facsimile shown in The notation of polyphonic music, 900-1600;
Frottole: Manuscrit italien de frottole (1502); also contains a few religious polyphonic pieces;
Nivelle: Chansonnier Nivelle de la Chaussée (appeared in a sale by auction, in 1939!).
Vatican: a facsimile downloaded from a site showing historical documents from an exposition held by the Vatican a few years ago;
Copenhague: Chansonnier de Copenhague, an outstanding site showing facsimiles of French love songs.

You may use freely these files AFAIK. Of course it would be fair to mention the person who made them (Alain Naigeon), or to put a link to this page. You may broadcast or publish these files, even in the case you'd have modified them, but then please do mention any modification and be sure to put a link to their original version on this page. Thanks!

Recently I felt some interest in mp3 files, that I'll however make available in a few cases only, for some reasons given on the page midi, wav, mp3 which explains basics about this file formats question.

File sizes: the overwhelming majority of MIDI files doesn't exceed 10kb, a few of them weight up to 15 kb, and the introduction of the vespers by Monteverdi amounts to 34kb. The size of MP3 files is given for each of them.

Musical notation of this time was already quite close to the current one, at least for binary time signatures. William R. Brohinsky, another fan of facsimiles, makes available a very beautiful basic site where you'll be able to look at and listen to a rhythmically rich piece by Jean Mouton, transcribed from the first printed booklet in music history: Harmonice Musicae Odhecaton, published in 1501, in Venice, by Ottaviano Petrucci. A small guide in PDF format can also be downloaded with this link. And for a still wider point of view, do visit this other site, a really wonderful one!

As for me, I've made available a few pages about reading ligatures and mensuration signs.

You won't find here any biographical notice. But such interesting pages have been written by other persons... see for instance a site by Olga Bluteau, about musicians of the sixteenth century : biographical and artistic notices, comments about their style, quotations about music and musicians. And musical examples, of course!

Don't miss a page of scores in PDF and ENC file formats!



Adson John Courtly masks and dances  2  3  8  9 Agricola Alexandre De tous biens (diminutions on the song by Hayne van Ghizeghem) Altenburg Michael Intrada Anonymous or unidentified
Dangier tu m'as tollu ma dame (ca 1500) ; fs Apel num 25 page 109   display lyrics Domine quis habitabit in tabernaculo tuo ; fs Antico pages 8 verso to 11
Rather long sentences, beautiful moments, despite the technical constraints brought by double canon... for all these reasons I'd like to imagine this piece is by Willaert!
Though the rather strange setting of Antico's index table allows to speculate somewhat, I must admit however that no definite evidence allows me here to fullfill my wish.
J'ayme bien mon amy ; fs Antico pages 31 verso to 32 ; see also these two pieces by Willaert
Some musica ficta questions are difficult to be solved in a double canon ; I've done the best I could...
Se je demeure despourveue ; fs Nivelle folio VII verso (only two voices, because folio VIII is lacking)
Of course, I has some fun to write a third part (the middle one) !   final result
Olga Bluteau, whose site is mentionned upper on this page, was kind enough to send me her comments about this piece, the words of which she's also written down... here they are, with an English translation of mine.

Pour le mal qu'on vous fait porter ; fs Nivelle folios IX verso to X
Pour les biens qu'en vous je parçoys ; fs Nivelle folios X verso to XI
Se vous me voulés estre bonne ; fs Nivelle folios XI verso to XII
Quand de mon cueur vous ferai part ; fs Nivelle folios XII verso to XIII
S'il vous plaist que je vous tiengne ; fs Nivelle folios XIII verso to XIV
Car que je sceusse vivre ainsi ; fs Nivelle folios XIV verso to XV
Chargé de dueil plus que mon fais ; fs Nivelle folios XLII verso to XLIII
Ha se mon ennemy mortel ; fs Nivelle folios XLIII verso to XLIV
Que pleust à Dieu que vous sceussiez ; fs Nivelle folios XLV verso to XLVI
Comment suige de vostre cueur ; fs Copenhague folios 0 verso to I
An interesting event (vertical triton) occurs in measure 16 of my transcription from ternary mensuration to modern 3/1. One should refrain from putting a flat in the lower voice, this would make it sing a terrible melodic triton, while, on the other hand, a natural B in the upper voice would propagate similar problems in the neighbourhood, and so forth... In principle, one used to avoid a vertical triton rather than a melodic one; however, I notice, without any explanation, that the latter is here an absolute oddity, while the former is only sounding harsh - a slight difference - and I personally find this a little more acceptable... And I'd like to thank Margo Schulter, who eventually pointed out on that the resolution of a vertical triton to a major third was mentionned by Zarlino to be a "pleasant effect" - but that's exactly what happens here!
Just click here in case you'd like to look at and listen to this passage.

Pour changier l'air ; fs Copenhague folios I verso to II
The O mensuration of the tenor is wrong: it must enter after a rest of two semibreves, not three, or nothing will work! Thus the whole piece is binary (contratenor has a C stroke sign). And for the cantus, the note under the fermata - just before the middle of the third line - is a longua.
Ma plus, ma mignone, m'amye ; fs Copenhague folios III verso à IV
Se mieulx ne vient d'amours ; fs Copenhague folios VI verso to VII
La Brosse ; (Attaingnant publisher)
Merze, merze, per Dio ; fs Frottole pages 188 - 189
Morte! Che voy? ; fs Frottole pages 96 - 97
La Bergamasca a 3
A small medieval piece, just to hear something different!
Hanacpachap cussicuinin
From a book found in south America, containing pieces till the baroque period; this being said, if someone had told me it was an early work by Sermisy, I wouldn't have desagreed...
However, it seems to have been written well after 1600 ; I've just discovered some informations on this page. But I still think its style is much older!

Tandernaken a 5

Azzaiolo Filippo Occhio non fu 


Banchieri Adriano Cartella musicale  (a whole page is dedicated to this booklet)
Barbireau Jacques Kyrie de la Missa parens Christi ; fs Vatican ; display the facsimile (153k)
A score is now available on the site of the Arenaï ensemble

Benet John Sanctus ; fs Apel num 24 page 105
Binchois Gilles Tout a par moy ; fs Nivelle folios XXVIv verso to XXVII
Brumel Antoine Da pacem Domine ; fs Antico page 11v - 12
Thanks to Olivier Bettens and Peter Urquhart who helped me to begin the transcription of this piece.

Dulcis est somnus ; bicinium
Busnois Antoine Soudainement mon cueur a pris ; fs Nivelle folios XXXV verso à XXXVI
This beautiful piece strangely begins with equal rests in all three voices (I got no convincing explanation), and ends with a wonderful plagal cadence. According to Olga Bluteau (see her site mentionned upper on this page), this is an evidence of a vertical musical thought - might we say harmonic? - much before the time usually admitted by some narrow-minded scholars. Other examples can be heard: somewhat later in De tous biens by Alexandre Agricola, and in the middle of the sixteenth century in Doulce mémoire by Pierre Sandrin. Usage of this cadential pattern reached its climax in this last period, as Pierre Certon, for instance, wrote it nearly all the time. Thanks to Olga for these comments!
C'est bien malheur qui me court seure ; fs Nivelle folios XLI verso to XLII
Quand vous me ferez plus de bien ; fs Nivelle folios XXXVIII verso to XIX
Lessez dangier faire tous ces effrois ; fs Nivelle folios XXVII verso to XXVIII


Cara Marcus Ala fe se ala bona
This file is published with kind permission by Mike Starke, who entered it before I made many sorts of changes. Percussion has been added by us.

Caurroy (du) Eustache Une jeune fillette : vingt-neuvième fantaisie à 3 Une jeune fillette : trente-deuxième fantaisie à 4
Certon Pierre J'ay le rebours Clemens non Papa Jacobus Souterliedekens Compère Loyset Omnium bonorum plena ; fs Vatican (another variation on De tous biens by Hayne van Ghizeghem) ; display the facsimile (388k)
I was so willing to transcribe this manuscript, that I didn't immediately noticed I'd need some following page that I don't have!
I lack specially much of the bass part, which stops with these notes (even the G at the end has been added by me). Without the bass part, the other parts make hear unusual intervals from time to time!
That's why I had some fun to do a somewhat shocking exercise: I wrote a bass beginning with these notes and ending with these ones (from upbeat of bar 29 till bar 50, 3/1 time signature). Then the piece is for three voices till bar 59 ; and further on, the first page of the manuscript only shows the Contra part written in long note values, thus I don't think it's so interesting to hear it alone... (to be accurate, the last note of the Cantus, and the three last ones of the Contra are also by me).


Des Prez Josquin see Josquin
Dowland John Captaine Digore Piper his galliard
Dufay Guillaume Ave regina coelorum ; fs Apel num 26 page 119 Dona i ardenti ; fs Apel num 23 page 103 (bottom) Quel fronte signorille ; fs Apel num 23 page 103 (top) Puisque vous estez campieur ; fs Nivelle folios XV verso to XVI


Encina (Juan del) Ninguno çierre las puertas  upon which I've written these diminutions Triste Espagna  ; display the facsimile (256k)  upon which I've written these diminutions


Ferrabosco Alfonso II Pavan n°1 Festa Costanzo Deo dicamus gratias Frescobaldi Girolamo Canzon


Gabrieli Giovanni Canzon prima (1615) Canzon XII (1615) Gervaise Claude Pavan Ghizeghem (van) Hayne De tous biens Goudimel Claude Par le désert de mes peines (in Blockland de Monfort, added by the editor) Grillo Giovanni Battista Canzon Guami Gioseffo Canzon La Guamina Ricercar 2 Ricercar 10 Guerrero Francisco Ten cuenta, amor


Hassler Hans Leo Canzon
Holborne Antony Funerals pavan ;   High quality MP3 version (2.8 MB)


Isaac Heinrich La morra


Josquin Des Prez Kyrie de la Missa de Beata Virgine ; fs Vatican ; display the facsimile (157k)
I had a problem with a strange symbol in the final cadence, until Rick Arnest sent me his comments - thanks to him! Look at this cadence.
I've also added a page about a problem of musica ficta in this Kyrie.
Cueurs desoles Plaine de dueil
Sequenced by me, of course, but entered from a score by Leo Quaijtaal, found at ; Leo told me he has no objection, thanks to him! Why not have a look at his site (presently in Dutch)
Mille regretz
Josquin d'Ascanio
Who is he? Nobody exactly knows; for a long time it has been assumed that he was the same person as Josquin Des Prez, but recent discoveries seem to invalidate this supposition. It's not so easy to find the truth, since they were living at the same time, and both spent some time in the neighbourhood of cardinal... d'Ascanio in Milano! Thanks to Todd Michel McComb, who informed me of my mistake - I had credited Des Prez relying on the simple mention [Josquin] in the index table of the facsimile.
In Te Domine speravi ; fs Frottole pages 26 & 27


La Rue (de) Pierre En espoir vis ; fs Antico page 21 Kyrie of the mass L'homme armé ; fs Apel num 27 page 121 Pleni sunt coeli Lassus (de) Roland Bonjour mon coeur Heroum soboles Le Roy Adrien Pavan Si je m'en vais


Marini Biagio Il Barizone Milano (da) Francesco Fantasia 58 Monteverdi Claudio Domine ad adiuvantum in Vespro della Beata Vergine ;   High quality MP3 version (2 MB)
Duo seraphim clamabant in Vespro della Beata Vergine

Morton Robert N'aray je jamais mieulx que j'ay ; fs Nivelle folios i et ii
Mouton Jean Ave Virgo celi porta ; fs Antico page 13 verso En revenant de Lyon ; fs Antico page 2 James james james in Odhecaton A
This file was originally prepared by William R. Brohinsky mentioned on the top of page, and is published here with his kind authorization. I've changed the instrument patches, added a few ornementations and fictas in cadences, increased the tempo, and changed proportions between movements. This last point remains open and controversial, even amongst professional musicologists . Thus each of us finds in the litterature some arguments supporting his own views...
Qui ne regretteroit le gentil Févin ; fs Antico page 23 verso
Let me remind you it's a double canon! This piece is a lamentation upon Févin's death, a little beyond age 40, mentionned as too early by his contemporaries. One more proof, if necessary, that we were taught stupid things about the alledgly short life in these times. Death of young children obviously lower mean life time, but this doesn't mean that those who escaped couldn't live a fairly long life, as we can learn from reading composers' biographies (mean, as a concept, is quite odd when used outside its native mathematical context; just imagine a population decimated by a war, with a majority of men of age 30 and age 50; then the mean life will be around 40, an age that nearly nobody has - excepted our poor kind Févin!)
Nesciens mater virgo virum ; from the score published by Andrew Leonard on
And here is a quadruple canon at the fifth!! This piece makes me think a lot... Its design is much deeper than one might imagine when considering its misleading apparent simplicity. All canonic voices entering after two bars, the nearly miraculous starting bass sequence (very few will work so well, I've tried to find some!) , its descending design (in order to allow the texture to become thicker), the outstanding usage of unisons, of exchanges of notes, etc, bringing 8 voices to life from chords most often made of 3 notes only, that's really quite clever! But, having searched myself (without success!) to write a few bars of such a quadruple canon, I've come to understand that the very depth of this piece lies beyond technical reasons, that is, its music is simply wonderfull! As a conclusion I'd nevertheless point out two things which seem to be essential : the bass is made of a few short sequences, quite affirmative of the mode (often cadential); and, much creativity lies... in the rests, which not only weaken the technical constraints of the canon, of course, but also allow to escape harmonic steadiness. Amen, hats off to you, Mr Mouton!!


Nola (da) Giovanni Chi la gagliarda


Obrecht Jacob Stat een meskin
A fairly living, but surprising piece: the overall result is more interesting than each part considered for itself.
Hélas mon bien
I've attempted a multitrack recording, here it is
Ockeghem Johannes Kyrie de la Missa Ecce ancilla Domini ; fs Vatican ; display the facsimile (271k)
Qu'il n'est douleur ; fs Nivelle folio vi
The cantus is by me, since the folio v is lacking in the manuscript !
Some passages are rather "diabolic", but, in the original voices by Ockeghem already, F and both kinds of B happen often quite close to one another - unless I have been unable to solve all the musica ficta problems. As for the double cadence, it's one of my favorite tricks !
To be honest, I must let you listen to the only two original voices by Ockeghem : here they are
Ortiz Diego Doulce mémoire (diminutions on the song by Pierre Sandrin) Recercada primera (second book, first manner) Recercada primera (second book, second manner)


Palestrina (da) Giovanni Benedictus of the Missa brevis Motet Dies sanctificatus Kyrie of Missa Dies sanctificatus Parabosco Hieronimus Da pacem Domine Phalèse Pierre Ballo milanese Power Leonel Anima mea ; fs Apel num 28 page 135 Praetorius Hieronymus Springtanz Praetorius Michael Danse du Roy Pullois Jean Se ung peu d'esperance avoye ; fs Nivelle folios XIX verso to XX


Rore (de) Cyprien Alla dolce ombra  (counterpoint by Adriano Banchieri)
Non vide il mondo  (same remark)
Un lauro mi diffese all'hor  (same remark)
Pero piu fermo ogn'hor  (same remark)
Rossi Salomone Canzon Ruffo Vincenzo La desperata


Sandrin Pierre Doulce mémoire
Segni Julio Ricercar
If you think you've discovered a plagiarism of a piece by Julius de Modena... well, listen: he and Segni are the same person!
However there is a more recent piece by Giovanni Bassano, the idea of which is amazingly close to the present one..., judge by yourself! (let's stop here, since the file wasn't sequenced by me, and I've forgotten whom I should credit)
Sermisy (de) Claudin Mon cueur voulut
O doulce amour
En esperant
Ayez pitié  (I specially like the bass part!)
Au joly boys
Susato Tielman Allemande  (diminutions at repeats are by me)


Turnhout (de) Gerard Mon coeur se recommande à vous
  multitrack version played by me
Je fais ma penitence


Vasquez Juan Villancico zagaleja  new
My multitrack recording available here
Vento (de) Ivo Vergangen ist mir Glück und Hail
Vermont Pierre On dit qu'Amour...
Victoria (de) Tomas Luis Kyrie de la messe O magnum mysterium  (un Kyrie binaire !)
Vivanco (de) Sebastian Quis dabit capiti meo aquam


White William Pavane a 6
For a more human version - including its drawbacks - click here.
Willaert Adrien J'ayme bien mon amy, version 1 ; fs Antico page 35 verso
J'ayme bien mon amy, version 2 ; fs Antico page 36 verso  (see also this piece by an anonymous composer)
Inter natos mulierum ; fs Antico page 12 verso
Ricercar a 3 - n°1
Sancta et immaculata, first part ; fs Antico page 2 verso
The ad decimam hint on the left page gives the bass part, since it must be understood as ad subdecimam !
Qui veult aymer
O bene mio famm'uno favore

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