A USER’s Guide

The database is organized according to the individual melodies, which are fully transcribed in modern notation in their original note values.

Title. Search criteria ignore accents and capitals and all searched word(s) are given, irrespective of their position within the title. The orthography has not been modernized, except for accents and standardizations of occasional i/y in favour of j at the beginning of words like je, joly, jeu(l)x, etc. and u in favour of v in words such as vous, voulez, etc. In order to facilitate the identification of related melodies, the title is followed in round brackets by the RISM siglum of the relevant source for manuscripts or by a self-explanatory short title for prints.

Main Source. Sources are designated by RISM sigla. Where particular sources are commonly known under a familiar name (for instance F‑Pn, f. fr. 1597, ‘Lorraine Chansonnier’), this is also given, as well as a self-explanatory short title for prints (see above).

By clicking on the Main Source link, the user obtains the full source information for the item in question, including: library name in full with shelfmark (where relevant) or edition; pagination or consecutive numbering for part-books; number of voices of polyphonic composition. Voice names are given as in source, when present, and they are abbreviated as: S for superius/cantus, T for tenor, Ct for contratenor, A for altus, Q for quintus, B for bassus, whereas the symbols ‘i’, ‘t’, ‘pt’ and ‘‑’ indicate whether the relevant voice has only a text incipit, is completely texted, is texted partially (for instance, just the first couple of lines) or has no text at all.

There follows a modal ascription, which is given and searchable according to: the position of the species in relation to the final, predominant sonority/final and Byzantine-derived names (e.g. Authentic G‑protus). A composer ascription for the polyphonic composition comes next, but only where such is provided by the source in question. Last follows a link to DIAMM (http://www.diamm.ac.uk), where relevant. Orthography and search criteria are as for titles and texts.

Text. The database provides the most complete text available in the relevant source, including the presence of additional lines and/or stanzas not underlaid to the music, with strophes separated by a forward slash (/). For orthography and search criteria, see under title.

Remarks. These concern melody and/or text, especially in relation to other items in the database itself. Unless otherwise stated, melodies are assumed to stem from the tenor of the host composition.

Melodic incipit. This is in Guidonian letter notation and rhythm neutral, and generally refers to the first musical phrase. To avoid font incompatibility, b rotundum and b quadratum are differentiated according to the German letter notation (b and h respectively). This also applies for the list of variants within the concordances (see below).

Melody. This is transcribed in modern notation with the note values as given in the source. Text underlay reflects the source from which the tune is taken, except when melodic repetition in a largely syllabic word-setting calls for a corresponding textual repetition; in this case the relevant words have been provided in italics. Possible additional stanzas are given in the Text field. The main window does not display the whole melody, which can however be viewed by clicking on it. In the case of mass ordinary cycles we have chosen to provide the movement, which presents the melody in its most complete form.

Concordances. Here are listed secondary sources containing the same melody with or without variants (for resolution of library abbreviations, see under Main Source). In most cases concordances for each melody are also concordances for the whole composition from which the relevant melody is extracted. However, this is not always so, since different compositions may employ the same melody (possibly with minor variants) as a kind of cantus firmus. Variants within the concordances are abbreviated according to the following criteria: the first Arabic figure(s) indicate(s) the bar numbering of the facing transcription; the Roman numerals refer to the symbols (including rests and tied notes) within the bar(s). After a colon the divergent values are indicated with the following abbreviations: b (brevis), sb (semibrevis), m (minima), sm (seminimima), f (fusa), d (augmentation dot). Deviating notes are given as upper-case letters and irrespective of pitch level. So, for instance, the abbreviation ‘61 IV‑62 I: mdC smD’ means that from the fourth symbol of bar 61 to the first symbol of bar 62 in the main source, the concordance in question has the divergent reading: dotted minima C and semiminima D.1

Related items. These are basically alternative settings of the relevant melody or, albeit less frequently, of alternative and musically unrelated settings of the same or of a related text. The degree of musical variation extends from differing note values through rhythmic rearrangements to substitute texts, where such alterations alter the general contour of the phrase to such an extent as to require an additional melodic entry in the database. In accordance with the relational structure of the database, all related items are connected with each other, their degree of relationship being commented upon in the ‘Remarks’, wherever applicable. The user accesses the related item simply by clicking on the relevant title.

Though an essential bibliography is provided, bibliographical references for each item are still in construction.

Melodies - Sources - Libraries - Bibliography  

1  This abbreviation system is a slight simplification (also due to the fact that we are here dealing with single melodic lines) of the one adopted by Fallows 1995, 13.