Medieval/Renaissance Songs

Translations, sheet music, and performances

emily playing


 Troubadour  Songs

Be'm plai lo gais temps de pascor (Text/Translation; performance)

by Bertran de Born
Original Text, and translation by M. Amelie d'Anjou and M. Juliana Peri da Novellari

Bertran de Born's famous late 12th C. poem "I love the gay time of spring", celebrating warfare. Dante consigns Bertran to the 8th circle of his vision of hell; this poem, with it's glorification of the violence and mayhem of war, is a likely reason.


Ar em al freg temps vengut (sheet music; performance)

By Azalais de Porcairages
music by Amelie d'Anjou

This is the first trobaritz poem I wrote a melody for, after falling in love with the imagery of the 1st stanza in particular, with it's depiction of winter.


Estat ai en greu cossirier (sheet music; performance)

By Comtessa de Dia
music by Amelie d'Anjou, trans. by Leonard Cottrell

This is one of the Countess of Dia's 4 surviving poems. She is the only trobaritz with a surviving melody, the famous A chantar m'er.


Fortz chausa est (Text/Translation)

By Gaucelm Faidit
trans. by Owen Alun and Amelie d'Anjou

This is a lament on the death of Richard the Lionhearted.


Kalenda maya (Text/Translation; sheet music1, and 2)

By Raimbaut de Vaqueiras
trans. by Owen Alun and Amelie d'Anjou

This is one of the first songs I learned, but it's gone through some transitions. The format of this poem is so sophisticated that pinning down the rhythm is a challenge. Just to be different, I now perform it in 5. Version 1 is my literal transcription of the ms, while version 2 is how I perform it. 

I was going to write an essay about it, (someday I may still do that,) but then I found a good one already out there, which is essentially using logical argument to defend the default choice of most recorded versions, and can be accessed  here   or  here

Here's another essay on Kalenda maya, but also about why we really can't figure out what the original rhythm was, or recreate the estampie the song is based on.

For all the verses in Occitan and English:

The original is online also, known as ms R, or 22543:  for folio 62r.  click here.


Song of Nothing (sheet music)

by  Guilhem VII Count of Poitiers
Music by Amelie d'Anjou, Translation by various
William was Eleanor of Aquitaine's grandfather, and the 1st troubadour whose poems we have. Several of his poems are dirty; this one is a parody of a genre we don't have previous examples of. The best example of what he is parodying is probably Jaufre Rudel's Lanquan li jorn about his far-off love.


Estampies from 844, the Chansonnier du Roi

I took some classes on Franconian notation and these estampies in particular, and ended up transcribing all of them. Some of the rhythms are slightly different than other editions that you've seen. To learn more about what I did and why, read this.  Editing the Estampies

Also, la Prima Estampie is missing the 1st 2/3rds, so I reconstructed that (ie made it up). The teacher really really liked my version, so here it is.

I'm adding a well-written article about how to go about doing this by Ian Pittaway, which has his version at the end.

La Prima Estampie (reconstructed)

 La Seconde Estampie

  La Tierche Estampie

 La Quarte Estampie

  La Quinte Estampie


Trouvere Songs

Why Does My Husband Beat Me? (sheet music; performance)

music and rhyming translation by Amelie d'Anjou
Anonymous trouvere poem of the mal-maris (or bad husband) genre. This one is more fun than some other mal-maris.


L'on dit q'amors (translation, performance)

 rhyming translation by Amelie d'Anjou
Anonymous trouvere poem


Some Cantigas d'amigo, or Songs of a friend

There are about 500 extant poems in this 13c Galician-Portuguese genre. Only 6 of them have come down to us with music, all by one person, so I have been composing tunes for a few of the others. There's a lovely book of these poems translated to English by Barbara Fowler which I highly recommend.  Unless otherwise stated, I am using her translations.

Pilgrimage to Santiago (sheet music)

by  Airas Corpancho

Lovely Me (sheet music)

by  Joam Soarez Coehlo


should be 3 or 4 more cantigas d'amigo here

Cantigas de Santa Maria

This is a collection of some 400 songs in Galego-Portuges praising Mary, by Alfonso X of Castille. There are several manuscripts with the music, dating from around 1280AD.  While the notation looks like Franconian, it clearly does not always follow the same rules. Since we have no music treatises from Iberia, different rhythmic approaches are taken by various scholars.  These are my takes.

CSM Prologue - Por que trobar (sheet music)

CSM #10 Rosa das rosas (sheet music)

CSM #42 A Virgen mui groriosa (sheet music, English trans.)

CSM #56 Gran dereite' de seer (sheet music)

CSM #77 Da que Deus mamou (sheet music)

CSM #100 Santa Maria Strela do dia (sheet music, Eng trans.)

CSM #113 Por razon tenno d'obedecer (sheet music)

CSM #236 A Santa Madre da que le que (sheet music)

CSM #260 Rosa das rosas (sheet music, Eng trans.)

CSM #270 Todos con alegria (sheet music)

CSM #307 Toller pod' a Madre de Nostro Sennor (sheet music, Eng. trans.)

CSM #339 En quantas guisas (sheet music)

For more information on the Cantigas de Sta Maria, see my Cantigas bibliography.


A Muwashshah from al-Andalus

The Lute Trills


Transcriptions from Songs from British Sources 1150-1300 by Helen Deeming

This is a cool book from the Musica Britannica series, publ in 2013. Most all are presented without rhythm, so I am going through and editing my own versions. Over half the songs have not been published before!  I consulted the manuscripts when they are online.

Veri floris sub figura (sheet music)

anon 13c  2 part song in Latin, rhythm by Amelie


Scribere proposui: version 1, version 2 in 3/4

This one had issues - I think version 1 is what the ms says, but it's illogical. My rhythmic interpretations, of course.


Capud draconis ultimum (sheet music)

anon 13c song in Latin, rhythm by Amelie   This one because dragon!


O domina, dominatrix (sheet music) 

anon 13c song in Latin, rhythm by Amelie
It's about the BVM silly! Dedicated to Saraswati on her elevation.


El tens d'iver (sheet music) 

anon Anglo-Norman song c.1200, rhythm by Amelie
Dedicated to Andreas on his elevation.


more added as I transcribe them


13-15c music

Of oon that is so fair and bright (sheet music)

anon. Eng. poem from c.1250
Music by Amelie, partly based on Veni creator spiritus


Depositum creditum/Ad solitum vomitum/REGNAT (sheet music)

3 part motet from the Bamberg Codex Anonymous 13-14th C
Transcription by Amelie


Chansonnette/Par verite/etc. (sheet music)

3 part motet from the Montpelier Codex Anonymous 13-14th C
Transcription & English translation by Amelie


Post Partum Virgo/Ave Regina /Veritatem (sheet music)

3 part motet from the Montpelier Codex Anonymous 13-14th C
Transcription & English translation by Amelie


The Tongue is most Enemie to Mankind (sheet music; performance)

music by Amelie d'Anjou
Anonymous 15th C. Poem


Ave regina celorum (sheet music)

3 part chanson from the recently discovered 15th c. Leuven channsonier
Transcription by Amelie


D'un aultre amer (sheet music; performance)

3 part chanson from the recently discovered 15th c. Leuven channsonier
Transcription by Amelie


Aquitainian polyphony

 The earliest polyphonic music we have extant is from Aquitaine, written at the monastery of St. Martial. Very similar is some music at Santiago de Compostela. Most of it is 2 parts, although there are 3 part pieces, one from Compostela and the other in a related manuscript from England. If you've taken music history classes, they will talk about the Notre Dame school in Paris, but this music is about a generation earlier. The following pieces are ones that I have transcribed into modern rhythmic notation, based on the relationship between the parts, with an assumption of generally one beat per syllable assuming not too many notes/neumes, and that this is coming out of a tradition of improvisation. I consulted Theodore Karp's The Polyphony of Saint Martial and Santiago de Compostela, Hendrik van der Werf's The Oldest Extant Part Music And The Origin of Western Polyphony and the manuscripts themselves when they are online. See my links page for the manuscripts.


Dulci Dignum (sheet music; performance)

2 part 12th century Aquitainian

This one has been recorded by Sequentia also, which you can hear here:

Lux Refulget (sheet music)

2 part 12th century Aquitainian

 Here's a recording of Sequentia singing a version of this, perhaps a different ms, but very close.

Noster Cetus (sheet music)

2 part 12th century Aquitainian

Oi Dex (sheet music)

2 part 12th century Aquitainian

Verbum Patris (sheet music; performance)

2 part 12th century Aquitainian Christmas

3 part Verbum Patris

 from a ms in Cambridge, but the same tune

to add: Omnis Curet Homo (file too big)



Puer natus (sheet music)

A monophonic Christmas chant: I actually looked at about 6 different early manuscripts, several of which had no staff lines. The pitches come from later manuscripts and the Liber Usualis.
Transcriptions by Amelie

Beata gens (sheet music)

A gregorian chant as in St Gall 359, with added rhythm. Most (not all!) pitches from Liber Usualis.

Ave mater salvatoris (sheet music)

A  chant realized with 2 different rhythms - pick your favorite.