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Solage: S’aincy estoit
This is the third of the Solage ballades, and the tricks of notation get worse and worse. We have one voice in a different metre than the other two (6/8 vs. 9/8, 3/4 vs. 2/2)—and not with the same measure length either; so the bars in the three voices coincide only every three or four bars. Of the two voices that do coincide, one is written twice as fast as the other (6/8 vs. 6/4). We have routine interruptions of bars by other bars, some interruptions running for a dozen bars. We have several runs of 2:3 duplets.
We have interruption a 3/2 bar interrupted by a 6/4 bar, and the next 6/4 bar interrupted by the completion of the first 3/2 bar:
We have a 6/8 bar interrupted halfway by 11 bars of 6/8; its completion is another half bar of 6/8, which is itself interrupted by a new bar, one eighth note in:
And Solage saves the best till last: the 9/4 cantus runs into… this:
Which is… well, I’m not sure what it is.
And what does it sound like? Brassy and fanfaring—as befits its subject matter. (Yolanda Plumley has written on the politics of the song, extolling the Duke of Berry, including echos in its lyrics from other songs in his honour.) Each of the three metre changes sounds like a new landscape opening up before you. The bar interruptions are mostly mid-bar, and don’t sound particularly untethered like Corps feminin’s—at least until that passage I’ve tabulated above, which sounds stumbling, because of the alternation of eighth, dotted eighth, and quarter notes. As for the mismatch of metres, the music is slow-moving enough that that passes unnoticed—one of the particularities of Ars Subtilior that’s more Gedanken than real.
Here it is; downloads as in the previous posts.
The couple of performances I've heard have c# in the Cantus, in bar 9, and f# in the Countertenor. I have c and f in what I've put up. Christina's source transcription I'm consulting has a smudge in front of the f, that may be a sharp. If it is, the c would be sharpened as well by musica ficta; but her transcription hasn't put a sharp on top of the c to confirm it.
As a purely subjective matter, and without knowing anything about mediaeval music—I prefer the naturals to the sharps here…