Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 1

Ancient Songs, Ballads, & Dance Tunes, Sheet Music & Lyrics - online book

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Plate 1 (facing the title-page).—" SumeR is icUMEN in," from one of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Mnseum, No. 978. It is literally a " six men's song," such as is alluded to in the burlesque romance of The Tumament of Tottenham, and, being of the middle of the thirteenth century, is perhaps the greatest musical curiosity extant. The directions for singing it are in Latin : " Hanc rotam cantare possunt quituor socii. A paucioribus autem quam a tribus ant saltern duobus non debet dici, preter eos qui dicunt pedem. Canitur autem sic. Tacentibus ceteris, unus inchoat cum hiis qui tenent pedem. Et cum venerit ad primam notam post crucem, inchoat alius, et sic de ceteris. Singuli vero repausent ad pausaciones scriptas, et non alibi, spacio uuius longaj notse." [Four companions can sing this Round. It should not, however, be sung by less than three, or at least two, besides those who sing the burden. It is to be sung thus :—One begins with those who sing the burden, the others remaining silent; but when he arrives at the first note after the cross, another begins. The rest follow in the same order. Each singer must pause at the written pauses for the time of one long note, but not elsewhere.] The directions for singing the " Pes," or Burden, are, to the first voice, " Hoc repetit unus quociens opus est, faeiens pausacionem in fine" [One voice repeats this as often as necessary, pausing at the end] ; and, to the second, " Hoc dicit alius, pansans in medio, et non in fine, sed immediate repetens principium." [Another sings this, pausing in the middle, and not at the end, but immediately re-commencing.]
The melody of this Round is printed in modem notation at p. 24, and in the pages which precede it (21 to 24) the reader will find some account oflhe manuscript from which it is taken. It only remains to add that the composition is in what was called " perfect time," and therefore every long note must be treated as dotted, unless it is immediately followed by a short note (here of diamond shape) to fill the time of the dot. The music is on six lines, and if the lowest line were taken away, the remaining would be the five now employed in put-music where the 0 clef is used on the third line for a counter-tenor voice.
The composition will be seen in score in Hawkins's and Burney's Histories of Music. The Round has been recently sung in public, and gave so much satisfaction, even to modern hearers, that a repetition was demanded. It 13 published in a detached form for four voices.
Plate 2.—" An, the syghes that come fro' ay iieaut," from a manuscript of the time of Henry VIII., in the British Museum (MSS. Reg., Append., 5S). For the melody in modern notation, see p. 57.