Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/604

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592

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��out to the detriment of the words, but closely follows the quick succession of syllables without visible effort. These old melodies often have the Iambic rhythm ; for instance

��ADAM DE LA HALE.*

��?

��II n'est si - bon - ne vi - an - de que ma - tons.

which in modern times has ceded place to the

Trochaic; as

Words: 'Les grandes Veritds.'* Air: 'La fanfare de S. Cloud.'

��Oh, le bon sie-cle mes fre-res, Que lestecleoti nous vivons.

Contemporary with Machaud, or a little his junior, was Jehannot Lescurel, who wrote romances still extant in MS., one of which has been trans- lated into modern notation by M. Fetis. This romance ' A vous douce ddbonnaire ' exhibits a rather more developed melody and a more modern tendency than other productions of the same date. 3

Even if it be true, as some assert, that during the I4th and 15th centuries the Church exer- cised an exclusive dominion over music, she was, nevertheless, a friend to secular music. By taking popular tunes for the themes of their masses and motets such as 'L'Ornme arme,' ' Tant je me deduis,' * Se la face ay pale,' used byDufay; or 'Baisez-moi' by Eoselli; 'Malheur me bat ' by Josquin de Pres, etc,* the musicians of the Church preserved many a tune which would otherwise have perished. For want of such adop- tion by the Church we have lost the airs to which the curious Noels, printed in black letter at the end of the I5th century, were sung. The names of the airs (' Faulce trahison,' etc.) remain as superscriptions to the text, but every trace of the airs themselves has vanished. In that great age of serious polyphonic music a high place was held by the French school, or, to speak more correctly, the Gallo-Belgian school, for during the I4th and I5th centuries no distinction, as regards music, can be drawn between Northern France and Belgium. The frontier between the two countries was an often-shifted line; in re- spect of race and religion they had much in common ; and many a composer of Belgian birth doubtless had his musical education in France. By the Italians the French and Belgian composers were indiscriminately called G-alli ; and indeed no attempt has ever been made to distinguish a Belgian from a French school of music anterior to the end of the i6th century.

The direct use made of secular music for ecclesiastical purposes is remarkably illustrated by the works of Clement Marot. He was a translator of a portion of the Psalms ; and the first thirty of them, which he dedicated to his king, Frangois I, were set or 'parodied' to the

J See Ambros, Geschichte der Muslk, vol. II. p. 295.

2 See Du Mersan, ' Chants et Chansons populaires.'

This song is to be found in the ' Revue Musicale,' vol. xil. no. 34.

< See Ambros, ' Gesch. d. Musik,' vol. iii. pp. 15, 16, etc.

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favourite dance airs of the Court. 5 Popularity was thus at once secured for the Psalms which members of the Court could sing to their favourite courantes, sarabandes, and bourrtes. After Ma- rot's death Beza continued his work, at Calvin's instance. Much doubt long existed as to whom belonged the honour of having set the Psalms to music. Some ascribed it wholly to Marot, others to Goudimel : but M. Douen has now made it clear that these men, together with Jambe de Fer, Franc, Claudin, and perhaps others, adapted the Psalms to existing profane songs. 6 In the ' Psautier Flamand Primitif ' ( 1 540) all the Psalms are for one voice, and, with only two exceptions, they can all be traced back to their sources in popular French and Flemish songs. For cantiques, moreover, as well as masses, secular airs have been openly utilised by composers of the Roman Catholic Church. 7

While secular music was thus made to minister to the Church, it had a separate, though less con- spicuous, sphere of its own. This is attested by the vaux-de-vire, voix-de-ville (better known by their modern name of vaudevilles 8 '), and airs-de- cour, collected and published in the i6th century, but evidently belonging to the preceding century. Much grace, indeed, and gaiety were evinced in the French songs and romances of this period, and it would be wrong to disparage such com- posers asNoe Feignient, Guillaume le Heurteur, Pierre Vermont, 9 and Franois I., whose song ' O triste d^partir' is full of feeling. More important work, undoubtedly, was however being done by their polyphonic contemporaries. A celebrated collection, with a dedication to Charles IX. by Ronsard, was published in 1572, under the title of * Meslanges de Chansons,' containing songs for 4, 6, and sometimes 8 voices, by all the best-known Gallo-Belgian masters, such as Jos- quin, Mouton, Claudin, etc. These songs, like others of the same date, are full of canonic de- vices. Cl&nent Jannequin, Crespel, and Ra'if wrote many songs in four or more parts. Pierre Ronsard' s sonnets were set to music by Philippe de Monte in 5, 6, and 7 parts ; and his songs in 4 parts by Bertrand and Reynard. Mention

5 'Wekerlin says, In his 'Echos du Temps passe.' vol.111, p. 136, that when any dance air became popular, rhymers Immediately parodied ' it ; I.e. put words to it, so that it could be sung. The term parody ' thus used had no sense of burlesque, but simply meant adaptation. The celebrated publishers and editors, 'La famille Ballard/ issued a quantity of these songs : ' L'Abeille,' a well-known example, is really a minuet.

6 See Douen, ' Clement Marot et le Psautier Hugenot,' vol. I. p. 606.

7 According to Douen (vol. i. pp. 688 and 703) the Roman Catholics have never ceased to adapt secular airs to ecclesiastical uses from the 16th century down to the present time ; and he supports the state- ment by reference to ' La pleuse Alouette avec son tire-lire : Chansons Spirituelles, le plupart sur les air mondains, par. Ant. de la Cauchie. 1619' ; 'Imitation de Jcsus-Christ en Cantiques sur des airs d'0pt!ras et de Vaudevilles, par Abb<5 Pelegrin, 1727 (Paris)'; and 'Concerts Spirituelles,' a collection published at Avignon in J835, of masses, requiems, hymns, prayers, proses, etc., on operatic melodies by Gluck, Piccinni, Mozart, Cimarosa, Eossini, Mehul, and others.

8 In attributing the invention of the vaudeville to Basselin, a musician of the second half of the 15th century, Rousseau and others have confused it with the vaux-de-vire. Basselin and Jean le Houx who lived in the little valley (vaux) around Vire, in Normandy, wrote many favourite drinking-songs, and hence drinking-songs came to be called vaux-de-vire. But vaudeville is a corruption of voix-de-ville, an old term originally applied to chansons sung in the streets, and afterwards extended to all songs with gay airs and light words.

Pierre Vermont is mentioned by Rabelais in the prologue to tbt second book of ' Pantagruel.'

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