Te Deum concert

Renaissance Partbooks Research Project

Achieving an Historically Informed Performance of Renaissance Polyphony: a Qualitative Study of the Use of Modernized Partbooks

A word of thanks to all participating conductors. This research project would not be possible without you – THANK YOU! Your participation will help answer the three important research questions listed at the bottom of this page. Throughout the process, do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns. matthew@te-deum.org; cell: 816-806-0338

Expectations for participation

Required Consent Form – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign IRB (institutional review board) requires this consent form. Please read, sign, and email it to matthew@te-deum.org before you begin the project.

Preliminary Questionnaire – This questionnaire should be filled out before your first rehearsal with partbooks. You may find some questions challenging to quantify, please answer as honestly as you can, neither diminishing nor inflating your experience. Know that your answers will not be seen by anyone else.

Post-Performance Questionnaire – This questionnaire should be filled out as soon as possible after your performance. Please submit by November 1.

 

 


SCORES


Byrd – Ave Verum Corpus (G aeolian)

 

Clemens non Papa – Ego Flos Campi (F Ionian)

 

Clemens non Papa – Ego Flos Campi (Ab Ionian)

 

Hassler – Cantate Domino – SATB (Bb Ionian)

 

Hassler – Cantate Domino – SATB (D Ionian)

*Soprano 1 part updated Aug. 29, 2023

 

Hassler – Cantate Domino – SSAA (F Ionian)

 

Hassler – Cantate Domino – TTBB (F Ionian)

 

Palestrina – Sanctus from Missa Ut Re Mi Fa So La (C Ionian)

 

 Tallis – If Ye Love Me (F Ionian)

 

Tallis – Lamentations of Jeremiah I (E phrygian)

***if you find an error in the score or parts that needs addressing, please reach out. I am more than happy to correct and send out a new parts.***

 


Editorial Decisions


The goal in these modernized editions is to retain what I consider the two key ingredients of Renaissance polyphony, while modernizing all other elements to make these editions as easy to use as possible, so they can be utilized by the widest population of choral singers. The two ingredients are 1.) the horizontality of line, which is supported by singing from a partbook, rather than a full score; and 2.) musical shaping based on shape and text stress, rather than metric stress, which is supported by the exclusion of barlines. Each score below includes a list of editorial decisions specific to that score. Below is a an overview of the decisions made for these modernized editions.

Bar Lines

Note Length

Slurs and Beams

Mensuration

Latin Text

Chromatic Notes

Rehearsal Letters

 


Research


Research Questions

Thesis Statement 

The compositional and theoretical processes of the Renaissance era differ greatly from those of later centuries. Consequently, modern editions translate the musical language of Renaissance polyphony into an anachronistic syntax, increasing the challenge of properly understanding and performing the compositions. This paper explores the value of using modernized partbooks with choral ensembles to teach the skills and understanding needed to execute the expressive musical qualities of sixteenth-century polyphony. Working with 60 choirs from across the US, I will evaluate the conductors’ experience of using modernized partbooks to teach Renaissance performance skills through a questionnaire prior to rehearsals and again following the performances. I will analyze the conductor feedback to determine the impact of partbook singing for educational purposes and performance; additionally, the questionnaire will yield valuable feedback on the partbooks themselves, informing my editorial choices for future editions.  In culmination, I will assemble the feedback that comments on suggested rehearsal techniques to produce a conductor’s guide on how to successfully incorporate partbook singing into ensembles.