TEXTS ON MUSIC IN ENGLISH
School of Music
University of Nebraska--Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0100
(phone:  472-2507; Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Data entry: Jonathan Haupt
Checked by: Peter Slemon
Approved by: Peter M. Lefferts
Fn and Ft: HEREFOL4_TEXT
Title: A little treatise on discant
Source: Thrasybulos Georgiades, Englische Diskanttraktate aus der ersten Hälfte des 15. Jahrhunderts: Untersuchungen zur Entwicklung der Mehrstimmigkeit im Mittelalter, Schriftenreihe des Musikwissenschaftlichen Seminars der Universität München, Band 3 (Selbstverlag und Auslieferung: Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar der Universität München, 1937), 23-27.
Graphics: HEREFOL4 01GF
[-23-] Here folwith a litil tretise acording to the ferst tretise of the sight of descant and also for the sight of counter and for the syght of the countir-tenor and of faburdon. Ferst for the sithgt of descaunt: it is to wete, as it is aforseide, that ther be 9 acordis of descant, sc. a vnisoun, a 3de, a 5te, a 6te, a 8te, a 10e, a 12e, a 13e, a 15e. Of the whech 9 acordis ther be 5 perfite and 4 inperfite. The 5 perfite be these: the vnisoun, the 5, the 8, the 12 and the 15. Of these 5 perfite ther be 3 ful perfite and 2o les perfite. The [-24-] 3 ful perfite be the vnisoun, the 8 and the 15. The 2o lasse perfite be the 5te and the 12e. The 4 inperfite be these: the 3de, the 6, the 10 and the 13; and with these acordis of descaunt euery descanter may ryse in voyse and falle with the plainsong, excepte out of one perfite into another, bothe of one kynde, as it is afor rehersid. Also it is to wete that ther be 3 degreis of descaunt, sc. the quatreble sight and the treble sight and the mene sight. The mene beginnyth in a 5te aboue the plainsong in vois and with the plainsong in sighte. The trebil begynnyth in a 8te aboue in voise and with the plainsong in sight. The quatreble begynnyth in a 12e aboue in voise and with the plainsong in sight. To the mene longithe properli 5 acordis, sc vnisoun, 3de, 5te, 6te and 8te. To the treble longith properli 5 acordis, sc. 5te, 6te, 8te, 10e and 12e. To the quatreble longith properli 5 acordis, sc. 8te, 10e, 12e, 13e and 15e. Ferthermore it is to wete that of al the cordis of descaunt summe be aboue the plainsong and summe benethe and summe with the plainsong. And so the descaunter of the mene shal begynne his descaunt with the plainsong in sight and a 5te aboue in voise and so he shal ende it in a 5 hauyng next afor a 3de yf the plainsong descende and ende dounward as Fa Mi, Mi Re, Re Ut. The 2de aboue in sight is a 6te aboue in voise; the 3de benethe in sighte is a 3de aboue in voise; the 4e aboue in sight is a 8te aboue in voise; the 6te aboue in sight is a 10e aboue in voise, the wheche 10 the descanter of the mene may sing yf the plainsong go low. Netherles ther long no mo acordis to the mene but 5 as it is aforsaide.
[Georgiades, Diskanttraktate, 24,1; text: Dum medium silenci(um)] [HEREFOL4 01GF]
The treble descanter shal begynne his descant with the plainsong in sighte and a 8te aboue in voise and so he shal ende it in a 8te hauyng next afore a 6te, the plainsong descende and ende downward as I haue aforsaide. The 3de benethe the plainsong in sight is a 6te aboue in vois; the 4e benethe in sight is a 5te aboue in vois; the 6te benethe in sight is a 3de aboue in voise; the 8te benethe in sight is a vnisoun in voise; the 3de aboue the plainsong in sight is a 10e aboue in voise; the 5te aboue in sight is a 12e aboue in voise; the 6te aboue in sight is a 13e aboue in voise; the 8te aboue in sight is a 15e aboue in voise. And in this degre of descant he that hathe a voise able therto, may sing al thes acordis of descant.
[Georgiades, Diskanttraktate, 24,2; text: 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15] [HEREFOL4 01GF]
[-25-] The quatreble descanter shal begynne his descante with the plainsong in sight and a 12 aboue in voice and so he shal ende it in a 12e hauyng nexte afore a 10e yf the plainsong descende and ende dounward as aforsaide. The 3de benethe the plainsong in sight is a 10e aboue in voice; the 5te benethe in sight is a 8te aboue in voice; the 2de aboue the plainsong in sight is the 13 in voice; the 4 aboue in sight is a 15 aboue in voice. This degre of descant longith to a childe to syng, for the sight of the mene and of the qvatreble be the bothe one sight in degre. Therfor the mene must be sunge of a mann and the qvatreble of a childe. Also yt is to knowe whan thou settist a perfite note ayenst a Fa thou must make that perfite note a Fa; as Mi Fa Sol La. Also it is fayre and meri singing many inperfite cordis togeder as for to sing 3e or 4or or 5e 3dis togeder, a 5te or a vnisoun nexte aftir; also as many 6tis nexte aftir a 8te; also as many 10is nexte aftir a 12e; also as many 13is nexte aftir a 15e. This maner of singyng is mery to the synger and to the herer.
Her folwit a exsaunple of the qvatreble sight:
[Georgiades, Diskanttraktate, 25,1; text: Cum angelis et pueris] [HEREFOL4 01GF]
The sight of the countertenor of descant and his acordis. Thus sufficienth sped of the sightis of al the degreis of descant, it is conuenient to declare the 9 acordis of the countertenor sight longyng to descant. Of the whech countertenor thes be the 4 syghtis benethe plainsong: a 8te, a 6te, a 5te, a 3de and vnisoun euyn with the plainson; and aboue the plainsong othir 4: a 3, a 5te, a 6te, a 8te. Thes acordes be as wel in syght as in voice; for a 8te benethe in sight is a 8te benethe in voyce and so forthe bothe aboue and benethe of al the other syghtis longyng to the countertenor. Also a man that hathe a low voyce may syng a countertenor instede of a mene. For whan the tenor is hye, the countertenor may be low and whan the tenor is low than the countertenor may be the mene. And alwey sette thi voice in the same note and in the same twne that the plainsong is in; and alwey begynne and ende thi countertenor in a 5te and the countergemel begynne and ende in vnisoun.
[Georgiades, Diskanttraktate, 25,2] [HEREFOL4 01GF]
The sight of countir with his acordis.
[-26-] Al thes processis fortunatli passid nou, attentli is for to procede ferther to the sightis and the acordis of counter, the whech sight was contriuid out of the syght of the mene degre of descant and turnyd upsodoun; and as ther longith properli to the mene sight but 5 acordis, so ther longith no mo but 5 acordis properli to the sight of counter, the whech be these: vnisoun, 3de, 5te, 6te and 8te. Now thou shalt dispose thes acordis: Thou must conceyue yf the plainsong begynne hye; than thou shalt begynne thi counter in a 8te, the wheche is in sight a 4e benethe the plainsong. And yf the plainsong begynne low, than thou shalt begynne thi counter in a vnisoun with the plainsong, the whech is a 5te aboue the plainsong in sight. The 3de aboue the plainsong in sight is a 3de benethe in voice and the plainsong himselfe euer a 5te benethe in voice; the 2de nexte benethe the plainsong in sight is a 6te benethe in voice; the 4e benethe the plainsong in sight is a 8te benethe in voice. Also yf ye haue a low voice, whan the plainsong gothe hye, than ye may haue 4 acordis mo, the whech be these: a 10e, a 12e, a 13e and a 15e. Of the wheche 4 acordis the 10 and 12 be in vse be sight natural, for euery 6te in sight benethe the plainsong is a 10e benethe in voice and euery 8te in sight benethe the plainsong is a 12e benethe in voice. But as for 13e and 15e ther is no sight benethe the plainsong within 4 rwlis and 4 spacis that wil serue it, but yf ye chonge your sight. And as for the chonge of your sight ys this whan the plainsong risce hye into C sol fa ut than is your 12e benethe in voice in C fa ut; than the same low not that ye haue in C fa ut holde it and chong your syght into C sol fa ut and not your voice; and than ymagyn C sol fa ut your 12e, the 2e benethe in sight your 13e, the 4e benethe your 15e. Nou is this sight alterid; for whereas ferst euyn with the plainsong whas your 5te in voise, nou is your 12e and whereas was the 2e benethe the plainsong in voice your 6te, nou is your 13e and whereas was the 4e benethe the plainsong your 8te, nou is your 15e. This same rwle may ye kepe betwene D sol re and D la sol re and al other base keyys, whan the counter sight goth low. Now it is conuenient to knou hou that the counter shal be shape to serue the plainsong bothe ascending and descendyng: Ye shal, as it is aforsaid, yf the plainsong begynne hye, begynne your counter in a 8te and yf the plainsong beginne resonable low, begynne in a vnisoun with the plainsong and as ye beginne in a 8te or in a vnisoun so ende your counter in a 8te or a vnisoun. Also whan the plainsong ascendit, the counter may shape his sight aboue the plainsong to descende dounward to close with the plainsong in a 8te with a 6te nexte afor or a 5te and if the plainsong descende, it is conuenient the counter to ascende and to close with the plainsong in a vnisoun with a 3de next afore. Also the counterer may bothe ascende and descende with one or 2e or 3e imperfite acordis befor a perfite corde, as wel as the [-27-] descaunter. Also the counterer may close dounward in a 12e with a 10e befor him and also in a 15e with a 13e nexte befor him be chongyng of his syght atte the 12e; and this chongyng of sight in counter is the quatreble sight in descaunt.
Nou here folwithe 2o exsamplis of the counter sight, ferst of the plain wey of countir and then the 2de of chongyng of sight.
The sight of faburdon with his acordis.
For the leeste processe of sigtis, natural and most in vse, is expedient to declare the sight of faburdun, the wheche hathe but 2o sightis: a 3de aboue the plainsong in sight, the whech is a 6 fro the treble in voice, and a euyn with the plainsong in sight, the wheche is a 8te fro the treble in voise. These 2o acordis the faburdener must rwle be the mene of the plainsong, for whan he shal begynne his faburdun, he must attende to the plainsong and sette his sight euyn with the plainsong and his voice in a 5te benethe the plainsong and aftir that whether the plainsong ascende or descende, to sette his sihght alwey bothe in rwle and space aboue the plainsong in a 3de and aftir that the plainsong hauntith his course eyther in acutis fro G sol re ut aboue to G sol re ut benethe, to close dunward in sight euyn vpon the plainsong, vpon one of these keyes: D la sol re, C sol fa ut, A la mi re, or G sol re ut benethe. And yf the plainsong haunt his course fro G sol re ut benethe doun toward A re, conuenientli than to se before where he may close with 2o or 3e or 4e 3dis before, eyther in F fa ut benethe, or D sol re, or C fa ut, or A re. And al these closis gladli to be sunge and closid at the laste ende of a word. And as ofte as he wil to touche the plainsong and voide ther fro excepte twies togedir; for that may not be, inasmoche as the plainsong sight is a 8te to the treble and a 5te to the mene and so to euery degre he is a perfite corde and 2o perfite acordis of one nature may not be sung togeder in no degre of descant.