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Amiens 162 D, ff. 35v-37 »Veni sancte spiritus« 2v

Notation: Entered by Hand B in square notation (with many ligatures) on staff system 3. The initials are black supplemented by drawings in half red and half yellow, capitals are emphasized in red. Erasures and changes at the beginning of the counter voice indicate that the setting has been revised during the copying.

Disposition of parts: [Tenor] stands on the left pages, [Contra] at the right.

Editions: Amiens 162 Edition no. 8 (PDF).

Text: Sequence (de spiritu sancto), AH 54, no. 153, pp. 234-49, GR p. 294 (Dominica Pentecostes):

[1a] Veni sancte spiritus
et emite celitus
lucis tue radium.

[1b] Veni pater pauperum,
veni dator munerum,
veni lumen cordium.

[2a] Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes anime,
dulce refrigerium.

[2b] In labore requies,
in estu temperies,
in fletu solacium.

[3a] O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.

[3b] Sine tuo numine
nichil est in lumine,
nichil est innoxium.

[4a] Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.

[4b] Flete quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.

[5a] Da tuis fidelibus
in te confitentibus
sacrum septenarium.

[5b] Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perhempne gaudium, amen.


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 parallel thirds, fifths and octaves. It is a relatively ‘old-fashioned’ setting of the well-known sequence tune sung by the tenor (GR p. 294), which originally (in the exemplar) may have been completely regular with identical settings of the double versicles. The notation does not show any indications of subdivision of the setting by fermatas or vertical strokes (except for the text’s marking of the start of each versicle by red capitals).

It seems that the scribe did start to introduce some variations during his copying. When he looked through the setting and remarked its Dorian mode, he apparently disliked its opening on c and changed the start of the tune by writing d-e-f-e-e in stead of c-d-e-f-e. When copying the counter voice, he forgot about this change and copied the exemplar’s c'-a-b-a, which perfectly fits the sequence’s original opening. He then had to erase the four notes and replace them by a-g-a-b, which agree with the new tenor – and the setting now opens on d. In the next versicle (1b) the tenor is closer the traditional tune, c-d-f-e, and the counter voice has a variant of what he first wrote at the start of the piece.

The scribe has taken some further trouble to vary the double versicles in the counter voice. At “celitus” in 1a he has scratched out an f and changed it into d, thereby getting a fifth concord in stead of a third (note 17), and at the start of 2a he has changed parallel fifths into contrary motion (55-56) again by erasure and re-notation. At the same position in 2b he has from the start put in a variant of this contrary motion (81-85), and by “solacium”, he has changed a unison into a third (102). In 3b only the 2nd note, a fifth instead of an octave, is different from 3a. The versicles in 4 and 5 are identical, probably slavishly following the exemplar. It looks as if he got tired of keeping the two-part structure in mind and resorted to simply copying.

PWCH March 2014