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Amiens 162 D, ff. 28v-30 »Virgini Marie laudes« 2v

Notation: Entered by Hand B in square notation on staff systems 2 (ff. 28v-29) and 3 (ff. 29v-30); red/black initials, capitals emphasized in red.

Disposition of parts: [Tenor] on the left page, the counter voice [Contra] at the right.

Edition: Amiens 162 Edition no. 6 (PDF).

Text: A widely circulated Marian sequence, RH nr. 21656, which is a French contrafactum (12th century, cf. AH 54, no. 18, pp. 28-29) of the sequence “Victime pascali laudes” (GR p. 242); many words from the model are reused in the Marian reworking.

[1] Virgini Marie laudes
intonant christiani.

[2a] Eva tristis abstulit
sed Maria protulit
natum qui redemit

[2b] Mors et vita modulo
convenere mirando
Marie filius
regnat deus.

[3a] Dic nobis, Maria,
virgo clemens et pia.
Quomodo sis mater facta
tamen permanens virgo intacta.

[3b] Angelus est testis
ad me missus celestis.
Surrexit Christus spes grata
de virgine nunquam maculata.

[4a] Credendum est magis soli
Gabrieli forti
quam judeorum
prave cohorti.

[4b] Scimus Christum processisse
de Maria vere,
tu nobis, nate
rex, miserere.



A setting of a sequence in simple polyphony for two equal voices. The counter voice amplifies the sound by following the tenor mainly in thirds. This causes constant crossing of the parts and a certain monotony, the contour of the counter voice, however, becomes very smooth. The tune in the tenor is very close the standard tune for “Victime paschali laudes” (GR s. 242); it is organized in double versicles + “Alleluia”.

Even if the third is the most frequent concord, parallel perfect consonances also appear: fifths (from the start) and octaves; whenever the tune moves to its highest range (c’-d’), the counter voice follows it an octave below (at the start of 2a-b and correspondingly in 4a-b). Small, but effective, variations appear in the double versicles, for example in the long section 3: In 3a the first half ends on a unison on “et pia” and the second half ends on a fifth on “intacta”, while the endings have been reversed in 3b – first fifth, then unison.

A few variations have been created on the pages. In section 2b the counter voice originally sang d-c-d-f, exactly as in 2a; the last note has been scratched out and replaced by another d changing the third into a fifth. Hereby a very small variation in sound was created. That it was a conscious choice is confirmed by the corresponding passage in 4b, where exactly the same happened.

A different setting of the tune is found in the MS, Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Guelf. 628 Helmst. (W1), f. 204 (187) (cf. facsimile by J.H. Baxter 1931). The double versicles are identical in this setting, as the b-sections are not notated, but only supplied as text in the right margin. The  duplum voice is much more agile (it sings up to four notes against one in the tenor tune) and has a greater range (c-f’), and is mostly placed above the tune. A few homorhythmical passages can, however, also be found, for example at ”virgo clemens et pia” in section 3a.

PWCH March 2014