minstrel: OMOT: Some polyphony questions

Greg Lindahl lindahl at pbm.com
Tue Jun 6 10:41:37 PDT 2000

> For lack of a better place to ask, I would trouble this list with some
> questions pertaining to period polyphony.  If this is too off-topic,
> let me know, and we can take it private.

Polyphony is certainly on topic, so ask away...

> Does anyone know of any examples of arrangements of popular monophonic
> tunes in the late 16th century where that tune is put in the bass
> (that is, the lowest part, not necessarily for male voices)?  Ideally
> in (I'm sorry, I really am) Scandinavia?  Or really, anywhere in
> western Europe would be fine.  Target date is 1598.

In some of the gamba pieces I've played with the tune moving among
parts, it occasionally sits in the bass. In one, it sits entirely in
the bass, but I'd have to dig through my concert notes to find it. Mid
17th century, though, if I recall correctly. It was a few years ago.

> Does anyone know of any actual evidence that *secular* Medieval music
> was ever acutally sung in organum?

No. For quite a bit of it we know it wasn't.

> Does anyone know of any evidence
> for the practice of accompaning a secular song with a second voice
> singing the same words and rhythms on a drone note (as opposed to a
> constant drone)?


-- gb

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