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Amiens 162 D, ff. 40v-41 »Bone Jesu dulcissime« 4v [Mathieu Gascongne]

Notation: Added by Hand B across the opening below the last staves belonging to the preceding piece »Veneremur viriginem« in white mensural notation on four-line staves originally drawn for music in chant notation (staff system 3). Red initials and capitals, black ink in text and music.

Disposition of parts: In normal choir book arrangement, [Superius] and [Tenor] on the left page of the opening, [Altus] and [Bassus] on the right.


Attaingnant 1535 no. 26 »Bone Jesu dulcissime« Gascongne (placed on the last page of the part-books)


Attaingnant 1531 nr. 3 »Bone Jesu dulcissime«  (Keyboard)

Editions: Amiens 162 Edition no. 16 (PDF); Rokseth 1930, no. 3; Smijers 1934, Vol. 11 no. 26.

Text: Prayer to Jesus:

Bone Jesu dulcissime,
O Jesu clementissime,
domum istam liberam
Tu conserva, Salva,
Deffende, Guberna.

In the Attaingnant print (1535/3 nr. 26) the third line is “Regem nostrum et regnum”, which turns the motet into a intercessory prayer for the king and the realm.


Homorhythmic declamatory setting with many fermatas (more than in the Attaingnant version), not only over final chords in phrases, but also over the recited words, “O Jesu” (bb. 8-9), and over the first word “Tu” (b. 22) in the fourth line. The altus part is the only one to break up the homophony (in b. 23, and in the final phrase, bb. 29 ff), and the upper voice has a melisma on “clementissime”. The setting’s rhythm is regular, but the rests, the fermatas, and a homorhythmic syncopation (bb. 22-23) create a lauda-like character not unlike the pieces in chant notation in Amiens 162.

This setting uses a version of the text, which is different from the one we find in the printed version. It is a prayer for saving “domum istam liberam” (this free house) and not for the king. The version in Amiens 162 is most probable the original one, which has been revised for the later print. Here the unfortunate parallel octaves between superius and bassus (bb. 31-32) have been corrected – in superius the g’ in bar 32 has been changed into d’.

The print by Attaingnant, Liber undecimus. xxvi musicales habet modulos quatuor et quinque vocibus …, Paris, P. Attaingnant 1535 (cf. Heartz 1969, pp. 275-276), contains 26 compositions, among which six are ascribed to Mathieu Gascongne. Not all ascriptions concerning Gascongne of this print can be regarded as credible: No. 5 “Non nobis, Domine” Gascongne (f. iiii) is known in earlier sources as a composition by Mouton (e.g. in Petrucci 1519), but in Attaingnant’s print the text has been changed to honour King François I – this may have been the contribution of Gascongne –, and no. 24 “Rex autem David” Gascongne (f. xvv) is more plausibly by La Fage (ascribed to him in Giunta 1521). (1)

The small notet/lauda was added to Amiens 162 by Hand B, which almost certainly belonged to Antoine de Caulaincourt, and he put it into the collection before leaving Paris in 1503. Mathieu Gascogne may already have been a member of the French court chapel before 1500 (cf. Swing 2001 and Christoffersen 1994, Vol. I, pp. 261-265).

PWCH January 2014, revised March 2016

1) This paragraph has been modified (March 2016) as a result of a communication from John T. Brobeck, University of Arixona, for which I am grateful.