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The contribution of Caulaincourt – tonary and sequences

While Hand A worked on his collection of funeral music, the undoubtedly young and inexperienced Hand B, who with great probability was Caulaincourt, folded the remaining sheets in quaternions and prepared them for use. First he drew music staves in red ink on all pages, where he used a rastrum narrower than Hand A's and put eight staves on each page, one more than Hand A, and he never left spaces for initials (staff system 3). Then he probably copied a tonary, which would be useful primarily for teaching the modes to novices, into an empty fascicle. He started on the front page with the 1st tone and copied most of the 2nd tone on the reverse page. This first folio is missing in the manuscript today, therefore the tonary (ff. 113-116v) as it now stands, opens with the last “Gloria Patri” in the 2nd tone followed by the tones 3-8 and Tonus peregrinus (cf. the proposed reconstruction of fascicles 13-14 in the Description). Every complete set of directions for a tone begins as the tradition decrees with a short model antiphon on a Biblical quote, which demonstrates the characteristic intervals of the mode and its recitation pitches, and which ends in a textless melisma (neuma), then follow the melodic formulas for canticles, Alleluia and “Gloria patri” (Huglo 1971, pp. 385 ff; see also Treitler 2003, pp. 36-38, and Berger 2005, ch. 2 ‘Tonaries. A Tool for Memorizing Chant’, pp. 47-84).

As already hinted at, Caulaincourt’s procedure for making a music manuscript was different form Hand A’s, and easy to distinguish from his. As in most music manuscripts he began by furnishing all the pages with music staves in one operation, then he copied the text in black ink leaving spaces for emphasized letters, next came letters in red and his very big initials covering two staves, which were drawn upon the staves, and finally, the music. His custos are small zigzag-lines followed by a curvy flourish as common in music manuscripts. In his texts Caulaincourt tries to write the same type of formal textura as Hand A, but he was not able to form his letters with the same regularity. Their spacing is looser, not merging into word pictures in the same way, and the sharp differences between the heavy lines and hairlines often become blurred. Obviously, he was a copyist of limited experience, but he tried as best he could to conform to the style of the professional scribe. This is not so noticeable in the tonary, which was a separate project of his, but it becomes quite clear in the sequences, where he for real followed in the footsteps of Hand A.

There can be no doubt that Hand A regarded the four fascicles of funeral music as a finished independent collection, a thin folio book for a special use. (1) In addition, he had procured a collection of two-part sequences for equal voices in simple polyphony, which he apparently intended to present as a similar collection for use in masses and on saints’ days. It consists of three Marian sequences, one for the Holy Spirit and a trope in a sequence-like form for the responsory “Ex eius tumba” belonging to the office of the very popular St Nicolaus:

»Virgine Marie Laudes« a 2, ff. 28v-30
»Stabat mater dolorosa« a 2, ff. 30v-35
»Veni sancte spiritus« a 2, ff. 35v-37
»Veneremur virginem« a 2, ff. 37v-41
»Sospetati dedit egros« a 2, ff. 41v-42

To get this work done, he took a fascicle of four sheets, which was prepared with red staves by Hand B, and copied »Stabat mater dolorosa« on the first opening leaving the front page without music. He finished the sequence following the same procedure as in the funeral music – except for the drawing of staves (ff. 30v-35). It was clearly his intention that “Stabat mater” should open this collection. However, this was the last piece Hand A copied in the manuscript. Maybe time had run out, and he had pressing duties elsewhere, or the money sent with Caulaincourt did not go any further. Anyway, Caulaincourt was left with the responsibility for the manuscript, but retained access to the use of the exemplars collected for the job.

Caulaincourt went on with »Veni sancte spiritus«, »Veneremur virginem« and »Sospetati dedit egros« making them as similar to the work of Hand A as possible. Already during “Veneremur virginem” he had to start using the next fascicle of four sheets, and with “Sospetati dedit” copied, it was already halfway filled. Now, he seemingly began to economize on the costly parchment. Probably he envisaged that in time it would be necessary to copy much more music into the manuscript – that he would need the empty pages. Therefore he broke the structure planned by Hand A. The empty pages at the end of the funeral music combined with the empty front page of the first fascicle containing sequences (fasc. 5) could be used for the sequence »Virgine Marie Laudes« (ff. 28v-30), and as a result he had seven pages left for other things at the end of the second sequence fascicle (fasc. 6). Now the two clearly defined collections of polyphonic songs had become united into a slightly different sort of music manuscript.

These songs are of the simplest type of two-part harmony, with roots back to the earliest singing of polyphony. To a tune in the tenor range is set a counter voice, which follows the tenor note-against-note in perfect and imperfect consonances in parallel or contrary motion with many crossings above or below the tune. (2) Their texts and the known tunes are much older than the ones in the funeral repertory. It is only the Dorian tune of “Stabat mater” that cannot be found in older sources. “Virgine Marie Laudes” is a widely circulated 12th century French contrafactum of the sequence “Victime pascali laudes”. All the sequences or sequence-like compositions are like the funeral music written out in full with all repetitions.

Probably it was the intention of the scribe to present these songs in a uniform way, that is with the tune placed on the left-hand pages and the counter voice at the right. That is how its is in most cases, but in »Veneremur virginem« the voices have been reversed for stanzas 1-5. The tenor carrying the not very widespread tune here stands on the right-hand pages. (3) This composition, apparently copied straight after the exemplar, is strange. Before the last stanza is inserted a stanza from a different sequence “Hodierne lux diei” in a two-part setting, which contrasts in technique and mode with the “Veneremur”-setting. (4) After this the tenor changes its place to the left-hand page, only to change back for the final “Amen”. The peculiarities in the music as well as in the layout surely originated with the exemplar for this probably quite recent composition.

The sequence-like »Sospitati dedit egros« appears as a sequence or a hymn in some sources (Hofmann-Brandt 1971, vol. 2, pp. 126 ff, RH no. 19244, Mone 1855, vol. III p. 464). In Amiens 162 it is made clear that the composition is a trope for the responsory “Ex eius tumba”. The words for the responsory are copied above the music across the opening until where the trope comes in: “Ex eius tumba marmorea ... et debilis quisque”; and the last two words “Sospes regreditur” come in their appropriate place below the trope.

As far as we can ascertain, Hand A copied his exemplars without introducing any major changes in the songs. Of course, he corrected errors on the pages, and he may have adjusted the placement of notes in relation to the words. Hand B apparently began to revise the music already in the start of »Veni sancte spiritus« (ff. 35v-37). This tells us that Caulaincourt had some knowledge of music and that he was eager to put his stamp on his work. 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 notes c'-a-b-a, which perfectly fit the sequence’s original opening. He 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. He took some further trouble to vary the double versicles in the counter voice by inserting small changes. However, the versicles in stanzas 4 and 5 are identical, probably slavishly copied from the exemplar. It looks as if Caulaincourt got tired of keeping the two-part structure in mind and resorted to simply copying, and this is how he proceeded for the remainder of this repertory. Later, when the music came into practical use, he made extensive revisions in the music copied by Hand A as well as in pieces that he had copied himself. This urge to revise is a small part of the evidence that permit us to identify Caulaincourt with Hand B.

The limits of his understanding of music are on the other hand exposed in the problematic »Veneremur virginem«. The exemplar probably did not have any key signatures, but after copying the piece he may have observed that b-flats were needed in the ‘inserted’ fifth stanza, and he added a key signature of one flat all the way through in both voices. He did not care much about where it was placed, just put it on or around the uppermost line of the staves. This means that the flats in accordance with the changes in the positions of the clefs happen to refer to many different pitches. Literally understood they indicate in turn the following pitches as fa-steps, f’, e’, g’, d’, c’ and b. We shall probably just understand them as a warning: flats are needed somewhere in the piece.

This repertory is so to say ‘retrospective’. Most of the texts and the musical technique point far back in time. The collection of pieces procured by Hand A for the monks in Corbie is of the sort that better educated singers could create alla mente by following traditional rules to enhance the sound of well-known tunes with a counter voice at solemn occasions. The detailed writing down and organisation of such performances for less experienced singers could, however, very well be quite recent.

The characteristics of the text hand we have identified as Hand B are also found in two songs in the last fascicle of the manuscript, which had not been used for other music. It is a plainchant sequence or trope »Sedentem in superne« on f. 124v and an old-fashioned three-part motet »O miranda dei caritas / Kyrie eleyson« on the preceding opening. Caulaincourt chose this placement for the two pieces, which he probably had found himself through his contacts in the Parisian monastic milieu, because they did not fit in with the careful selected repertories of funeral music and sequences nor with the tonary. The monophonic “Sedentem in superne” is often found in Northern France as a trope for “Gloria in excelsis”, and it also appears as a trope for the responsories “Centum quadraginta” and “Hic est advenit” (Hofmann-Brandt 1971, vol. II, pp. 119-220). The motet was probably a quite recent creation in the shape in which it appears in Amiens 162, but its history reaches 200 years back to when it started life as a double-texted motet in modal or Franconian notation; it appears, for example, in the Bamberg and Las Huelgas codices. Here it has the same text in both upper voices, and it is written in a semi-mensural notation following the principles of the other pieces in simple polyphony, and in sound it does not differ from them (ex. 1). The old art music pattern of the motet has been re-interpreted to fit into a more recent perception of simple polyphony. (5)

Example 1, “O miranda dei caritas / Kyrie eleyson” (ff. 123v-124), bb. 1-10.

Example 2, “Bone Jesu dulcissime” (ff. 40v-41), bb. 1-10.

Before Caulaincourt left Paris, he added »Bone Jesu dulcissime« for four voices on an opening almost left empty, ff. 40v-41, because the end of »Veneremur viginem« only took up one staff on each of its pages. This small motet or lauda was later ascribed to Mathieu Gascongne who possibly was a member of the French court chapel already while Caulaincourt stayed in Paris ((Swing 2001). Maybe it was the prayer in this version of the song for the protection and salvation of a “free [monastic] house” (domum istam liberam) that caught Caulaincourt’s attention; in the version, which was published later by Attaingnant in Paris, it had become a prayer for the king and his realm! His abbey’s constant struggle to avoid being put under the king’s commende surely had a prominent place in in his thoughts. This song is the only one in standard choirbook layout and white mensural notation in the music manuscript, which Caulaincourt brought back to Corbie (ex. 2). The stylistic distance between the two pieces, which he apparently found on his own, is remarkable.

The music manuscript in Corbie

When Caulaincourt returned to Corbie, the music collection consisted of a bundle of fascicles protected by a sheet of parchment with empty staves, which he probably already in Paris had removed from the last fascicle to keep it all together. Inside this cover were the six fascicles with the funeral music and sequences, a single fascicle with the tonary, and the last incomplete one with two additional pieces only. The main collection looked impressive when placed open on a lectern with its big and clear writing and the different voices arranged across the openings.

The next music copied into Amiens 162 was the plainchant vespers for St Barbara (ff. 42v-45v), which were needed for the services of the Confrérie Ste Barbe. Caulaincourt had kept space open for them after the sequences, and now he could bring together a complete set of proprium items for the first and second vespers, spoken as well as sung. He had the exemplars for the vespers ready and did the copying carefully in one operation. All text and initials were entered first, and where writing space was needed for readings and text stanzas without music, he simply erased every second staff line and draw new lines in between the staves to write the text on. His writing here is visibly less influenced by the style of Hand A; it is smaller and more rounded with a better control of the pen, but all in all a less formal textura. It is the writing that we in the description of the manuscript have named Hand C, but at the end of the vespers, probably getting tired, he lapsed into the bigger, less controlled writing of Hand B (f. 45v). Here too, he displays the same lack of interest in the precise placement of key signatures as seen earlier.

Evidently, some time had passed since Caulaincourt worked alongside Hand A to bring about this maturing of his writing of the textura. His studies in Paris stretched over ten months offering rich opportunities to get new impressions, and his involvement in the confraternity may have had to wait for him to receive the full rights to celebrate mass. He was ordained very soon after his return to Corbie, but only in 1504 the abbot was able to obtain the dispensation from the archbishop of Rouen, which accorded the full rights to the young priest at the age of 22. It is tempting to understand this hurried ordination as an indication that the abbot wished Caulaincourt to take over the responsibility for the Confrérie Ste Barbe, and that the new additions to the music manuscript should be viewed in this connection. However, Caulaincourt does not mention anything about this matter in his Chronique.

At same time, he intended to enter a plainchant mass for St Catherine (of Alexandria) including all the spoken items. It is in the same script as the vespers, using the exact same procedure to make space for the lengthy readings, and showing the same lack of understanding of key signatures. It was placed after the tonary with an empty folio as divider, and it runs into the next fascicle (ff. 118-121) linking the two last fascicles together. After writing all the texts, he only got two items of the music copied, the “Alleluya. Hodie Katherina virgo” and the sequence “Triumphanti verbo”. These were the least familiar items in the mass; the remainder of the music belonged to the standard chant repertory, and their copying was deferred until a more convenient occasion – which apparently never materialized.

Some time later he got hold of a two-part »Credo in unum deum«, which he wanted to add to the collection. Now, however, he nearly could not find space enough for it in the manuscript. He started the copying on the empty opening after the Catherine mass, ff. 121v-122, in a writing smaller and more compact than before, but still he had to squeeze in the ending of both voices in very small script on the empty staves below »O miranda dei caritas / Kyrie eleyson« (ff. 123v-124). It is an old-fashioned setting in simple polyphony for two equal voices, which constantly cross each other. The tenor builds on the Credo cardinalis tune, which probably originated in France around 1300 and during the next centuries became widely circulated all over Europe (Credo IV, GR p. 67*). Like in »Veneremur virginem« he got the normal layout of the voices reversed, so that the tenor carrying the Credo-tune was placed on the right-hand pages; possibly the unison opening of the setting led him or his exemplar astray. However, he did not recognize the tune and therefore later revised this voice with several erasures and changes in the belief that it was the counter voice.

At this stage the music manuscript was nearly filled out, not many empty spaces were left, and – more important – it was in use. We must assume that Caulaincourt after trying out the repertory in actual performance during services became somewhat dissatisfied with some of the songs and sat down to revise them to his liking as far as he could. The alternative, that the revisions were a result of a purely intellectual venture into the intricacies of music, seems less credible taking his lack of musical knowledge in certain areas in consideration; the revisions were probably consequences of singing the music rather than of reading it. We shall return to his revisions of the songs copied by Hands A (»Juxta corpus spiritus stetit« and »Stabat mater dolorosa«), B (»Virgini Marie laudes« and »Veni sancte spiritus«) and C (»Credo in unum deum«) in the discussion of the repertory.

During this period he probably added some very short and curious pieces on empty spaces in the lower parts of pages. The psalm verse “Ecce quam bonum et quam iocundum habitare fratres in unum” (Vulg. Ps. 132, v. 1: Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity) is written with music in chant notation on f. 116v. The verse had become a sort of devise for confraternities around 1500 (Vincent 1994, p. 68), and here it is set syllabically in five-note segments, which produce a very disjunct tune. The last element of text appears twice, the second time in a lower range and after a double bar, and this appears to be an indication that it might be performed note-against note in two parts as a polyphonic Phrygian ending. Moreover, it is possible to sing the curious tune as a four-part canon, because all the segments can be combined in simple polyphony with parallel fifths. The counter-voice for the last element cannot be used while the canon runs, but may possibly be added when the parts thin out again. This confraternity song is fun to sing, surely a local product, and it may have been constructed by Caulaincourt himself or by one of the singers of its polyphonic repertory.

Something similar can be found on f. 45v, where Caulaincourt has entered the short invocation of the three archangels, »Micael, Gabriel, Raphael«, consisting of three times three notes, which can be sung as a three-part canon. Below it another hand has added a similar disjunct tune in three segments of five notes singing »Kirieleyson«. This one cannot be performed as a canon, but it is rather a harmonization of the simple Kyrie-intonation. These snippets of polyphony may have been used as part of litanies.

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1) Also posterity regarded this section of the MS as a special collection. John Mason Neale (1811-1866), author of the well-known hymn “O come, O come, Emmanuel”, visited Amiens in May 1859 (cf. Letters of John Mason Neale D.D. Selected and Edited by His Daughter. London 1910, pp. 303-304). Here he studied the manuscript and published a selection of poems – as one single hymn – in his series ‘Sequentiæ ineditæ’ (part XXI) in The Ecclesiologist, Vol. XXI February 1860, pp. 14-15. He introduced it in this way “It is, from the intercalated stanza as well as from the character of the writing, Italian; and is headed Officium proprium Sanctæ Barbaræ. It appears to have belonged to a guild under the invocation of this saint, and to have been used at the funeral of its members. I must not forget to mention that the music is in four parts.” Then follow the texts of “Le grant pena” (f. 1), “Bone Jesu, dulcis cunctis” (ff. 2v-10), “Lugentibus in purgatorio” (ff. 10v-13), “Quando Deus” (ff. 13v-16), “Creator omnium, Rex Deus” (ff. 16v-17v) and stanzas 2-3 of “Juxta corpus spiritus stetit” (ff. 19v-21); the last one surely shortened by the editor of the journal.

2) The two parts in nearly the same ranges could appropriately be designated “Cantus” and “Duplum” in order to underscore the music’s roots in very old traditions. In the following and in the editions I have chosen to follow the practise of Hand A in the first section of the manuscript, which designates the part carrying the tune or the lowest voice “Tenor” and a counter voice in the same or slightly higher range as “Contra”.

3) Helma Hofmann-Brandt found the tune in the Parisian gradual of the late 13th century, Bari, Archivio di Stato, Fondo S. Nicola 85 (cf. Hofmann-Brandt 1967, p. 114). The tune in Amiens 162 is identical – except for a few details – with a late version, which was published by Gastoué after a 16th century French MS, Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, Ms. 448 (Gastoué 1908).

4) The tenor carries the traditional tune (cf. Hiley 1993, p. 192 or Pothier 1903, pp. 83-84) in a compressed form, but still recognizable.

5) For a description of another type of re-interpretation of such motets, see Marie Louise Göllner-Martinez, ‘The transmission of French motets in German and Italian manuscripts of the 14th century’ in Corsi & Petrobelli 1989, pp. 163-180.