Part 9: How to play “divers ways upon the Plainsong Miserere”

This is the ninth of a multi-part post. (Please see previous posts below for earlier installments.)

Example 10, Redford’s Salvum fac is from the same Te Deum as Ex. 9, and, like all of its versets is also ‘on the faburden’. Here the faburden melody is in the middle part, but as it is doubled in parallel 6ths above, the plainsong itself sounds in the top part. The faburden melody is extended towards the end of the verset: instead of ending with the repeated note g (corresponding with the repeated e” of the plainsong notes sounding above) the notes c’-b’-a’ are inserted between them, to help make the cadence or ‘close’ (the term used by Tudor musicians). Such extensions of the close are typical of Tudor organ versets: the last note, the penultimate note, or the antipenultimate note is often lengthened and/or decorated melodically or rhythmically.

In Salvum fac the descant in the lowest part begins on its own with ‘fore-imitation’ (E-F-G-a) of the first three semibreves of the faburden (e-f-a’). For plainsong notes 1-17 the lowest part has a descant that is mostly 4:1 before the proportion changes to 3:1 against the faburden/plainsong. In the manuscript the change of proportion is indicated by the figures 3:2 and the use of coloration: three black minims take the place of two white minims. At the end of the verset, the proportion is changed to 2:1, and a fourth note is added to each of the last two sonorities, making a fuller texture.

Example 10 Redford’s Salvum fac (Te Deum, 30513, fol. 63r):

Example 10

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