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Andrew Kirkman

The melisma on the final word, ‘caput’, of the antiphon Venit ad Petrum (ex.1), found in the Maundy Thursday ritual of the Washing of the Feet (the mandatum ceremony) in the English Use of Salisbury and other liturgical uses (Bukofzer, 1950) and used as a cantus firmus in three surviving masses and a Marian motet. The earliest work based on the melisma, a four-voice mass ascribed in the Trent codices to Du Fay, has been shown to be a misattributed work by an anonymous English composer. This mass was clearly one of the most revered compositions of the 15th century. It has survived in no fewer than seven manuscripts, more sources than any other mass cycle written before the 1480s. It may also have been the most influential English mass from a time when insular cycles were providing a model for cyclic mass composition across Europe. Its four-voice texture, using a low contratenor and long-note tenor cantus firmus, with the structural melody stated twice in each movement in so-called double-cursus format, is found also in a large number of similarly constructed masses composed on the Continent beginning in the late 1440s (Wegman, ...



John Stevens and Dennis Libby

During the Middle Ages, an English or Latin song of uniform stanzas beginning with a refrain called a ‘burden’ that is repeated after each stanza. Medieval carols could be on any subject, but were mostly about the Virgin or the Saints of Christmas. In recent centuries the word has usually referred to strophic songs (some with refrains) associated with Christmas, many of them with texts derived from medieval English carols.

The form of the medieval carol is related to continental refrain forms such as the rondeau, virelai and ballade, to the Italian lauda spirituale and to the processional hymn. The surviving music falls into several categories: (i) fragments of apparently popular carols, mostly monophonic; (ii) 15th-century polyphonic carols, represented by nearly 120 compositions; (iii) early Tudor carols by Fayrfax, Browne, Cornysh etc; (iv) courtly-popular carols by Henry VIII and his contemporaries.

The strictly formal definition of the carol needs supplementing, partly because a definition by musico-poetical form inadequately describes a social phenomenon such as the medieval carol. From a social point of view there are at least four major types of carol to be considered: (...


Nicholas Temperley

(b Gloucester, Dec 13, 1770; d Holmer, nr Hereford, Feb 22, 1836). English organist and composer. He was the son of John Clarke of Malmesbury, Wiltshire (d. 1802) and Amphillis Whitfeld (d. 1813). He studied music at Oxford (against his family's wishes) under Philip Hayes. He was organist at Ludlow parish church, 1789, then at Armagh Cathedral, 1794, where his ‘irresponsibility and extravagance’ got him into bad odour with the authorities. Next he was Master of the Choristers at St Patrick's and Christ Church cathedrals, Dublin, 1798; organist of Trinity and St John's colleges, Cambridge, 1799; and organist of Hereford Cathedral, 1820. He was pensioned off by the Hereford chapter in 1833, having become incapacitated by paralysis. He took the BMus degree at Oxford (1793), honorary MusD at Dublin (1795) and MusD at Cambridge (1799, incorporated at Oxford, 1810). In ...


David Fuller

revised by Robert Gallagher


The newly composed chant of the 17th to 19th centuries in France, similar to the Italian canto fratto. The decisive impetus came in the early 1630s from the Oratorians of the rue St Honoré, whose church was designated the royal chapel of the Louvre by Louis XIII, and whose superior conceived the idea of attracting the courtiers by introducing a new kind of chant combining features of the ecclesiastical and modern styles. This initiative resulted in the first collection of such chants – the Brevis psalmodiae ratio (Paris, 1634) by François Bourgoing, a member of the Oratory congregation. It was published with an approbation by Mersenne and contains new chants and simplified versions of known melodies; with rare exceptions, all the chants are syllabic. Resembling this work in its simplicity is Nivers’ Graduale romanum juxta missale, the most extensive collection of plain-chant musical, published by Ballard in 1658. Originally intended for use by Benedictine nuns, it was subsequently reprinted several times for Benedictine and Augustinian nuns. Both the gradual and the alleluia for any given liturgical day are composed in the same mode, probably to ease the transition between these two consecutive chants and to impose a general sense of modal and tonal order on the Mass Propers. In ...