Citations: The Renaissance Imitation Mass Project


Editorial Principles


  • Variants and Emendations. The base text in all cases is taken from the sources indicated, which are normally the first edition of the given piece. We have consulted other sources, but CRIM editions are not critical in the sense explored in The Lost Voices Project.
  • Incipits. These appear in the PDF edition for each piece (linked via the Work View for each composition) give the original clefs, background system, mensuration sign, and musical notation up to and including the first tone of each voice part. Incipits to not appear in the MEI files.
  • Mensuration. In the musical transcriptions we have retained the original note values, and of course both added bar lines and arranged the individual parts in score format. Tempus imperfectum diminutum ("cut C") is the prevailing mensuration throughout these compositions, and thus one tempus (breve) in the original notation normally corresponds to one measure in the modern transcription. In some transcriptions it has also been necessary to use isolated irregular bars of one semibreve duration. Since these are not distinguished in the original source, we have refrained from marking a temporary change in mensuration in the engraved PDF editions (but they do appear in the MEI encodings rendered with Verovio). Singers can simply follow these as an extra tactus (semibreve) within the phrase. Tempus perfectum in the original sources are indicated by "3". We have preserved both this sign and the "cut C" in the modern transcriptions.
  • Clefs. Modern clefs are used in the transcriptions; original clefs can be seen via the incipits found in the engraved PDFs (they do not appear in the rendered MEI). Contratenor and similar inner parts often use the modern treble or the (transposing) tenor G clef, according to the needs of spacing and alignment with text.
  • Accidentals. Flat and sharp signs appearing on the staff lines themselves correspond to signs given in the original sources. According to modern editorial pracitice, any sign appearing at the start of a bar is considered valid for that part for the duration of the measure.
  • Sharps and Naturals. The same symbol is used for both natural and sharp in Renaissance sources. Sixteenth-century typesetters and scribes normally did not conceive of these signs in the same way that modern readers do: they did not indicate absolute pitch, so much as relative position in a half-step relationship ("mi-fa," in the system of solmization). The flat sign (b-mollum) designated the upper ("fa") position; the sharp sign (b-durum) designated the lower ("mi") position. Sixteenth-century singers understood F-sharp and B-natural each as a "mi" (since they stood directly adjacent to G and C respectively). Scribes and editors of the period thus made no distinction between the sign for a sharp and a natural (as modern readers would understand them). For the convenience of modern readers, we differentiate these functions according to modern practice. All such accidentals are understood to be valid for all the notes for a given voice appearing in a given bar, as in modern practice.
  • Musica ficta. Accidentals appearing above the staff in the modern transcription are implied by contrapuntal contexts—in order to avoid forbidden intervals with other signed alterations, or in order to create complete cadences. Such changes have been determined by the editors in accordance with sixteenth-century theoretical practice (further on these see the Practical and Theoretical Aspects of the Du Chemin Chansonniers in the commentaries to The Lost Voices Project. These signs are valid only for the note over which they appear. In the MEI editions of CRIM pieces, the editorial accidentals have been encoded according to MEI practice. See the Technology section of these menus for more information on the workflows used to produce these encodings.
  • Ligatures and minor coloration. Ligatures have been marked with a continuous horizontal bracket above the notes they connect, and serve to confirm text underlay by preventing a change of syllable. Minor coloration (a darkened semibreve and darkened minim) has the same notational significance as a dotted minim followed by a crochet. Sixteenth-century typesetters used these two forms interchangeably. We nevertheless indicate the use of minor color with a pair of open horizontal brackets above the notes in question, since such information could have importance in determining relationships among sources.
  • Repeat Signs. Repeat signs in the original parts have been retained in the modern transcriptions. First and second endings have been regularized among the voice parts, normally to provide a common point of alignment. As noted above, in some cases it has been necessary to introduce an irregular bar (the equivalent of half the duration of the usual tempus imperfectum diminutum) in conjunction with such repeats. In some instances, the original sources used a repeat sign for the last phrase in two voices (such as superius and tenor) but written out this repeated phrase in full for the other parts, depending on how much room was available to the typesetters. In such cases we have realized the full repeat without special comment in the edition, since the two ways of presenting the text result in the same sounding result.

Literary and Sacred Texts

  • Capitalization. Here we follow the general system used by sixteenth-century typesetters, who used a capital (majuscule) for the first letter of each new poetic line. We preserve this capitalization for repetitions in cases where the first word of a line is repeated. As in the case of orthography and punctuation we adopt a majority rule approach to differences among the various voice parts. For the text of the Ordinary of the Catholic Mass we have adopted a regular system of capitilization based on the syntactic divisions of the text.
  • Orthography. Spelling differences among individual voice parts have been regularized according to majority rule, unless the variant spelling(s) suggest some potential alternative meaning or word play. Abbreviations are realized without explanation or comment. U/V and I/J, often represented each by a single character in early editions, have been differentiated from each other. Accents in French and Italian texts follow the original typography; we have nevertheless added accents to avoid semantic ambiguity (such as "a" for "à").
  • Punctuation. Punctuation follows that given in the original sources, either at line endings, or for medial pauses and repetitions of individual words. As in the case of spellings, here, too, we have opted to regularize punctuation according to majority rule. In the case of a tie between rival readings, we have chosen to include punctuation rather than omit it. Punctuation for text repetitions (either indicated in the source or based on editorial suggestions) follows this rule: the first statement of a line or part of a line is separated from the repetition by a comma. Subsequent repetitions are also separated from each other by a comma. There is no additional comma between the repetition and the continuation of the line to which it belongs. The original punctuation (whether comma, colon, or period) appears at the end of the text of that line.
  • Text Repetition and Character Styles Used in the Modern Transcriptions. Roman type indicates texts written out in the original source, italic type indicates editorial realizations of text repetitions plainly intended by the original scribe or typesetters with "ij". Roman type in square brackets "[ ]" indicates emendations, interpolations, or suggestions of the modern editor.

Text underlay principles

  • Phrases proceed syllabically, saving extra notes for the penultimate syllable of the line. The last note of each phrase normally receives the last syllable of the poetic line.
  • Repeated pitches normally imply a change of syllable, since to do otherwise would result in awkward vocal articulations.
  • Semi-minims rarely receive their own syllable. The major exception to this guideline is the first note of a melismatic line of short notes (semi-minims), which often is marked with a new syllable. Otherwise the next syllable after that is reserved for the note _after_ the minim that follows this series. Thus the first minim after a series of short notes does not normally get a new syllable, nor should the intervening short notes. Except in pieces with a great deal of nonsense syllables or other declamatory gestures, singers were advised against putting a new syllable on each of a series of notes less than a semi-minim.
  • Syncopations and melodic leaps are often good places to change syllables, particularly in long phrases.
  • Syllabification. The careful alignment of text and tone depends of course on the careful placement of particular syllables with particular notes. And this in turn depends on a systematic approach to the division of words themselves into their constituent syllables. With French texts our general approach has been to follow the conventions suggested in modern reference works such as Maurice Grevisse, Le bon usage, 11th rev. edn, 2e tirage, Duculoy, 1980. But these principles need to be adapted to the problems at hand in sixteenth-century orthography (where spellings differ considerably from modern equivalents) and for the case of poetry destined for musical performance in particular, since spoken language might well avoid certain articulations that are in fact necessitated by musical renderings of the same words. Solutions for special problems include: dividing between s and t in words containing this pair together: "es-tre" "tes-tes" "es-tain-dre"; notdividing between c and t in words containing this pair, since they are often written in sixteenth-century sources as one character and in any case reflect Latin roots: "re-trai-cte"; breaking words with "y" as part of a three-vowel combination with the preceding vowel it modifies: "loy-au-té" "soy-ons".
  • Elisions and liaisons. French poets of the sixteenth century often experimented with ways to extend and manipulate standard metrical and versification forms. Most important of these for our musical transcriptions are the many instances in which the final vowel of one word was meant to be elided into the first vowel of a following one (such as "el-le_ai-me", which would thus be sung as three syllables instead of four). Such elisions or liaisons can appear in various positions in the poetic line. No matter where they appear, they present special challenges and solutions for the modern editor.