Notation: Written in square notation (with many ligatures) on staff system 3. Copied by Hand A on staves drawn by Hand B. Hand B has overwritten Hand A’s custos and probably revised the music; many erasures and changes in the counter voice. The initials are black supplemented by drawings in red (in tenor) and yellow (in contra), capitals are emphasized in yellow.
Disposition of parts: [Tenor] stands on the left pages, [Contra] at the right. In the left margin on all the right pages a line has been drawn in weak ink and at the top is written “vacat”, which means that the counter voice can be disregarded or erased.
Editions: Amiens 162 Edition no. 7 (PDF) including a survey of erasures in the setting (no. 7b).
Text: A widely circulated Marian sequence, AH 54 no. 201, pp. 312-18; 10 double versicles rimed aab ccb.
[1a] Stabat mater dolorosa.
[1b] Cuius animam gementem.
[2a] O quam tristis et afflicta.
[2b] Que merebat et dolebat.
[3a] Quis est homo qui non fleret
[3b] Quis non posset contristari
[4a] Pro peccatis sue gentis
[4b] Vidit suum dulcem natum
[5a] Eya mater fons amoris.
[5b] Fac ut ardeat cor meum.
[6a] Sancta Mater istud agas.
[6b] Tui nati vulnerati.
[7a] Fac me vere tecum flere.
[7b] Juxta crucem tecum stare.
[8a] Virgo virginum preclara.
[8b] Fac ut portem Christi mortem.
[9a] Fac me plagis vulnerari.
[9b] Inflammatus et accensus.
[10a] Fac me cruce custodiri.
[10b] Quando corpus morietur.
A setting of a sequence in simple polyphony for two equal voices using constant crossing of parts. The counter voice amplifies the sound by following the tenor in contrary motion as well as in parallel thirds, fifths and octaves; the setting is of the same type as »Virgini Marie laudes«, but with a more disjunct counter voice. The tenor sings an unidentified Dorian tune (c-d’) organized as double versicles, of which the majority end on d, while a few explore other segments of the Dorian scale with endings on a (stanzas 5 and 7) and e (stanza 8). The repeats in the double versicles are almost identical with only small variations at the end of 5b (notes 275-278) and in the start of 8b (427-431). The setting is subdivided and phrased with the help of vertical strokes and fermatas, and rows of fermatas are found on important words (tend to be in accordance with the stressing of the syllables).
In the counter voice the double versicles are varied by simple changes of intervals and transference of phrases to different ranges. The contra often moves in long chains of parallel concords, mostly thirds and sixths, but fifths are common too (most often two fifths in row) and, occasionally octaves and unisons. Phrases most often end on a concord of a fifth, but octaves, thirds and unisons are also used, and in stanza 6 we find a phase ending on a fourth. The “Stabat mater” ends with a long “Amen”, which appears to be freely composed with the two voices conceived simultaneously in more or less strict contrary motion. On the pages it has been subdivided by vertical strokes (also inside the ligatures) helping to keep the two voices aligned in the long melisma.
Many notes have been erased and rewritten on the parchment. A few were corrections probably made during the copying in order to correct mistakes or to obtain a precise alignment with the text, which had been copied first. It can be difficult to discern these corrections from later revisions, but it is certain that most of the changes in the counter voice was made at a later date, probably by Hand B, whose characteristic custos are written on top of those by Hand A. The visible erasures are tabulated in “Erasures in Stabat mater dolorosa”, which is appended to the edition. During the revision some of the original fermatas were erased and they have not been written in again. Also this may be regarded as a sign that the revision was not undertaken during the copying, but at a later occasion.
It is difficult to find any clear tendency in the revisions except for what he regarded as errors, first and foremost unison passages and fourths between the voices. Some changes were apparently made in order to create variation in the double versicles; others show the exact opposite purpose. For example, in sections 6a-b differences between the two versicles have been eliminated, and at the same time the reviser has got rid of some unison passages by putting the counter voice into a lower range. In 5a he also eliminated high notes, but he kept some of them in 5b and thereby underscored the different sound of the second versicle. His preference for a low range counter voice seems to be a general trait.
Maybe the reviser had the amended piece performed and decided that the song would make a better figure without the counter voice, and therefore discarded it from further deliberations by writing “vacat” on top of all right hand pages.
PWCH March 2014, revised July 2015