EADERS WILL RECALL that I usually introduce polyphony with multiple sections in a “piecemeal” manner. Several examples can be found at this link—but most people find it more convenient to explore LALEMANT POLYPHONIC. There’s no real “mystery” to piecemeal polyphony; it just means introducing a piece slowly, rather than attempting to teach your choir a 3-section KYRIE ELEYSON or a 3-section AGNUS DEI all at once. Today, I introduce part 2 (“Christe”) of a composition by Verdelot. As time goes on, I will add the other sections.
Going Way Back: This music is from a much earlier period (stile antico) than compositions we usually sing. You can really tell it’s different, too! The long vocal lines are different. The musica ficta is different. The harmonic rhythm and tonality are different. The lengths of the notes are different (especially the “unequal” ending notes). And the text underlay! To be honest, I massively modified the text underlay; it was just too different from what my choirs are used to. I wasn’t brave enough to leave it alone! The further you go back in music history, the more difficult the tessitura—but that is not a problem in this particular example. We usually sing Guerrero, Victoria, Palestrina, and other High Renaissance composers. We usually do not sing composers such as Costanzo Festa, Adrian Willaert, Nicolas Gombert, Josquin des Prez, Johannes Ockeghem, and Pierre de la Rue.
Jeff’s Squeaky Soprano: To save rehearsal time, I created practice videos for my choir members who struggle with reading music. I’m a baritone, so you’ll have to pardon my squeaky Soprano voice:
REHEARSAL VIDEOS for each individual voice and the (free) PDF score await you at #54702.
Most readers won’t click on the individual voice parts, and that makes me sad. When we post a “scandalous” liturgical video, we get 40,000 views. I wish we could get as many views for the rehearsal videos—we must revive authentic sacred music!