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Enhancing the Ave Maria in the Ars Antiqua



The Ave Maria remains the most widely repeated prayer in Christian devotional life, and music has played a critical role in its formation and propagation. This article reviews the essential contribution of music in the dissemination of texts based on the original verses from the gospel of Luke, with new evidence concerning the tradition of affixing a petition to the core devotion. While the Ave Maria remained unfixed in form and function until the sixteenth century, this article presents three significant examples from the corpus of Ars Antiqua polyphony in which versions of the text that include both the biblical verses and a supplicatory conclusion are not only used, but are also emphasised through polyphonic techniques.



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1 The literature on the Virgin Mary is obviously enormous, but the scholarship containing more than a cursory view of the history and development of the Ave Maria is considerably smaller in scope. The most important contributions have been made by Herbert Thurston, Familiar Prayers: Their Origin and History (Westminster, MD, 1953), 90–114 and idem, ‘The Origins of the Hail Mary’, The Month, 121 (1913), 162–76. Other useful summaries include John Hennig, ‘Ave Maria’, in Dictionary of the Middle Ages, 13 vols., ed. J.R. Strayer (New York, 1982–89), 2:13; ‘Marie (Je vous salue)’, in Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et la liturgie, 15 vols., ed. Fernand Cabrol and Henri Leclerq (Paris, 1907), 102:cols. 2043–62; John D. Miller, Beads and Prayers: The Rosary in History and Devotion (London, 2002), 33–53; Ruth Steiner, ‘Ave Maria (antiphon)’, in NCE, 1:929–30; J.A. Jungmann, ‘Ave Maria’, in Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche, 11 vols., ed. Josef Höfer und Karl Rahner (Freiburg, 1957–67), 1:col. 1141; Hilda Graef, Mary: A History of Doctrine and Devotion, 2 vols. (London, 1963), 230–1, 308; and Stephan Beissel, Geschichte der Verehrung Marias in Deutschland während des Mittelalters (Freiburg, 1909), 228–50.

2 This ritual is described in Reinhard Strohm, Music in Medieval Bruges, rev. edn (Oxford, 1990), 3.

3 Bonaventure believed this Franciscan practice to be descended from St Francis himself. See H. Schaurle, ‘Angelus Domini’, in Lexicon der Marienkunde, ed. Algermissen, Böer, et al. (Regensburg, 1967), 220. The practice of saying the first part of the Hail Mary at morning, noon and night arose from the tradition of ringing bells at those times during the day in many cities. On this custom, see Pierre Jounel, ‘The Veneration of Mary’, in The Liturgy and Time, trans. Matthew J. O'Connell, vol. 4 of The Church at Prayer: An Introduction to the Liturgy, 4 vols. in 1, ed. A.G. Martimort (Collegeville, MN, 1992), 4:143; Graef, Mary: A History of Doctrine, 1:308; and Jaroslav Pelikan, Mary through the Centuries: Her Place in the History of Culture (New Haven, 1996), 99.

4 The literature on the history of the rosary is extensive. See, for example, Anne Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose: The Making of the Rosary in the Middle Ages (University Park, 1997); Rainer Schersel, Der Rosenkranz: Das Jesusgebet des Westens, Freiburg Theological Studies 116 (Freiburg, 1979); Gislind Ritz, Der Rosenkranz (Munich, 1962); James G. Shaw, The Story of the Rosary (Milwaukee, WI, 1954); Franz M. Willam, Die Geschichte und Gebetsschule des Rosenkranzes (Vienna, 1948); and Wilhelm Schmitz, Das Rosenkranzgebet im 15. und im Anfange des 16. Jahrhunderts (Freiburg, 1903).

5 There are, of course, several ‘Vulgate’ editions and translations. The Vulgate texts presented here are taken from Biblia Sacra: Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem, 2 vols., 3rd edn (Stuttgart, 1983) and the Douay-Rheims passages can be found in The Holy Bible, The Catholic Bible, Douay-Rheims Version (New York, 1941).

6 Apocryphal sources such as the Protoevangelium of James (second century) through the hagiographic literature of the mid-thirteenth-century Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine supplied details of Mary's life not contained in Scripture. These ‘histories’ of Mary included great elaborations on her childhood, in particular. For an edition of the Protoevangelium of James, see Wilhelm Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha, rev. edn, trans. R. McL. Wilson (Cambridge, 1991). For Voragine's Golden Legend, see The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints, 2 vols., trans. William Granger Ryan (Princeton, 1993). For depictions of the Annunciation in medieval art, see Julia Hasting et al., Annunication (London, 2004); William M. Fackovec, The Annunciation in Art from 800 to 1525 A.D.: An Exhibition at the Marian Library (Dayton, 1970); Gertrud Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art, 2 vols., trans. Janet Seligman (Greenwich, CN, 1971), 33–52; and Louis Réau, Iconographie de l'art chrétien, 2 vols. (Paris, 1957), 2:174–94. For medieval dramas on the Annunciation theme, see Karl Young, The Drama of the Medieval Church, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1933), 2:245–50. For the Annunciation in medieval polyphonic music, see Anne Walters Robertson, ‘Remembering the Annunciation in Medieval Polyphony’, Speculum, 70 (1995), 275–304.

7 Thurston, ‘The Origins of the Hail Mary’, 169. This formulation was later found in an Egyptian ostracon from the turn of the seventh century. The full Greek inscription of this Coptic vessel translates as, ‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, because you conceived Christ, the Son of God, redeemer of our souls.’ See W.E. Crum and F.E. Brightman, Coptic Ostraca: From the Collections of the Egypt Exploration Fund, the Cairo Museum and Others (London, 1902), 3.

8 See René-Jean Hesbert, Antiphonale Missarum Sextuplex (Brussels, 1935), 3, 8–11, 44–45; and James McKinnon, The Advent Project (Berkeley, 2000), 184, fn. 24.

9 Although I am briefly concentrating on Office settings of this text and related texts, further music from the Mass with the title Ave Maria can also be found in an offertory, tract, and alleluia, all proper to the feast of the Annunciation. See Robertson, ‘Remembering the Annuniciation’, 282–3. For variant texts and modes for the offertory Ave Maria, see R. Todd Ridder, ‘Musical and Theological Patterns Involved in the Transmission of Mass Chants for the Five Oldest Marian Feasts: An Examination of Proper Chants and Tropes in a Select Group of Medieval Manuscripts’, Ph.D. diss., The Catholic University of America (1993), 249–50.

10 The eleven office items with both salutations are CAO 3340, 6156, 2916, 6155(a), 7971, 6244, 6963(a), 6243(a), 7569(a), 1709 and 6725(z). The letter suffix denotes the text of a responsory verse associated with the responsory of that number, as described in the notes on the CANTUS database ( Not all of these chants with the joint salutations are necessarily linked with the text ‘Ave [Maria] … Dominus tecum’.

11 The full text of CAO 6156 is ‘Ave Maria gratia plena dominus tecum benedicta in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui’. Notice the omission of the pronoun ‘tu’ in this formulation. This item is found in only two of the sources catalogued by Hesbert: Monza, Basilica di S. Giovanni Battista – Biblioteca Capitolare e Tesoro, C. 12/75 and Verona, Biblioteca/Capitolare, XCVIII.

12 The Little Office was an extension of the Divine Office, disseminated among the monastic orders in the eleventh century in the advent of the First Crusade. Its use on Saturdays was ordered by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont (1095) for both regular and secular clergy. For a short history of this Marian institution, see ‘Little Office’, in A Catholic Dictionary Containing Some Account of the Doctrine, Discipline, Rites, Ceremonies, Councils and Religious Orders of the Catholic Church, 2nd edn, ed. William E. Addis, Thomas Arnold, et al. (London, 1884), 520.

13 For an excellent overview of the structure of the Hours of the Virgin in Books of Hours, see Roger Wieck, Time Sanctified: The Book of Hours in Medieval Art and Life (New York, 1988), 60–88, 159–161.

14 Ibid., 61 and 188. An exception is the Book of Hours found in Walters Art Gallery W. 267 (‘Buves Hours’), where the Ave Maria is provided on the folio facing the opening of Matins.

15 Psalms are given using Hebrew numeration.

16 This formulation occurs in the case of CAO 1042: ‘Ave Maria gratia plena dominus tecum benedicta tu in mulieribus’. This invitatory, however, does not appear nearly as often in liturgical books as CAO 1041, which contains only the text, ‘Ave Maria gratia plena dominus tecum’.

17 Given the various forms of scribal abbreviation in the Hours of the Virgin, it is not always possible to tell exactly what is being said in a given liturgical item. Wieck (Time Sanctified, 159–61) identified six different positions in the Little Office that are known to feature an antiphon or versicle with the title Benedicta (tu): the first and second antiphons of Matins (in the nocturn for Sunday, Monday, and Thursday); the versicle following the responsory Sancta et immaculata (during the lessons of the nocturn for Wednesday or Saturday); the seventh antiphon of Lauds following the antiphon In odorem unguentorum; the versicle following the Lauds hymn O gloriosa domina; and the versicle following the lesson (Eccles. 24:16) in the Office of Sext.

18 For a more thorough discussion of these variants, see Cabrol and Leclerq, eds., ‘Marie (Je vous salue)’, in Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne, 102:cols. 2057–8.

19 Richard Pfaff (New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England (Oxford, 1970), 62–83) has shown that English devotion to the Holy Name, in particular, is traceable to the fourteenth century in a few extant votive contexts. Even by the late fifteenth century, a Mass for the Holy Name was far from a regular feature of liturgical books. For the commemoration of the Holy Name in music, see David Mateer and Elizabeth New, ‘“In Nomine Jesu”: Robert Fayrfax and the Guild of the Holy Name in St. Paul's Cathedral’, Music and Letters, 81 (2000), 507–519.

20 The attribution of the second part of the Ave to Pope Urban IV was perpetuated by Thurston (Familiar Prayers, 113). On the veracity of this claim, see A.A. De Marco, ‘Hail Mary’, in NCE, 6:616–17.

21 Frederick Holweck, ‘Holy Name of Jesus’, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, 17 vols., ed. Charles G. Herbermann et al. (New York, 1913–22), 7:421. On the lack of sufficient evidence to substantiate this custom, see Miller, Beads and Prayers, 50.

22 The full texts of these poems may be found in AH 32:39–43.

23 See, for example, the writings of English reformer and bishop of Worcester, Hugh Latimer, The Works of Hugh Latimer, 2 vols., ed. George Elwes Corrie (Cambridge, 1844), 2:229–30.

24 Thurston, ‘Hail Mary’, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, 7:112.

25 The title Theotokos was reaffirmed at the Council of Chalcedon (451). For a time, the Latin was rendered as ‘Deipara’, only later as ‘Mater Dei’. On the tradition of the title ‘Theotokos’, see Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World, ed. G.W. Bowersock, Peter Brown, Oleg Grabar (Cambridge, MA, 1999), 723–4; Averil Cameron, ‘The Theotokos in Sixth-Century Constantinople’, Journal of Theological Studies, 29 (1978), 79–108; and G. Giamberardini, ‘Il ‘Sub tuum praesidium’ e il titolo ‘Theotokos’ nella tradizione egiziana’, Marianum, 31 (1969), 324–62.

26 On the Litany of the Saints, see Peter Jeffery, ‘Litany’, in Dictionary of the Middle Ages, 7:588–94.

27 Pelikan, Mary through the Centuries, 14.

28 See, for example, Thurston, ‘Hail Mary’, 7:112; Hennig, ‘Ave Maria’, 2:13; and Miller, Beads and Prayers, 53.

29 At the incensing before the gospel, the two salutations to Mary are said, and then the priest declares, “Pray and intercede for us with thy blessed Son.” The people respond, “That He may forgive our sins.” See Mildred Anna Rosalie Tuker and Hope Malleson, Handbook to Christian and Ecclesiastical Rome, 3 vols. (London, 1897–1900), 2:160–1. Unfortunately, no source is provided for this Abyssinian tradition, despite the specificity of the ritual. These same authors have also posited an even stronger connection to the petition of the Ave Maria at the fifth-century Council of Ephesus, whereas most will only acknowledge the title Theotokos as the result of this synod.

30 See, for example, Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose, 2; Steiner, ‘Ave Maria’, 1:929; André Lagarde, The Latin Church in the Middle Ages, trans. Archibald Alexander (New York, 1915), 81; and Jakob Hubert Schütz, ed., Die Geschichte des Rosenkranzes: Unter Berücksichtigung der Rosenkranz-Geheimnisse und der Marien Litanien (Paderborn, 1909), ix–xviii.

31 Others have cited the supplicatory ending in liturgical books from slightly earlier monastic sources such as those of the Camaldolese (Venice, 1514) and the Mercedarians (Paris, 1514). See Hennig, ‘Ave Maria’, 2:13.

32 For an edition, see Aelfwine's Prayerbook: London, British Library, Cotton Titus D. XXVI & XXVII, ed. Beate Günzel, Henry Bradshaw Society 108 (Rochester, NY, 1993), 58, 178.

33 For instance, a mid-to-late thirteenth-century wooden sculpture from the south of France (Berlin, Staatliche Museen, I. 3023) reveals the formulation ‘O Virgo Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis’ as the inscription on a footstool, upon which the feet of Mary rest. For a brief description of this statue, see Die Bildwerke des deutschen Museums, ed. Theodor Demmler, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, 4 vols. (Berlin, 1923–30), 3:19. About a century later (c.1375/85), the Florentine illuminator Silvestro dei Gherarducci produced a painting of the Virgin and child flanked by John the Baptist and John the Evanglist (Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, Angels, and a Donor, c.1375/85, tempera on panel. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation [M.39.1]). Similarly at the base of the throne, the words ‘S. Maria mater dei ora pro nobis’ appear. On the history of this painting, see M. Levi d'Ancona, ‘“Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci” e il “Maestro delle Canzoni”’, Rivista d'arte, 32 (1957), 3–38, esp. 21–22 and F.R. Shapley, Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, 3 vols. (London, 1966), 1:38 and fig. 88, though the inscription is barely legible.

34 On the questionable attribution to Dante, see Schaff, Dante and the Divina Commedia (New York, 1890), 324. For a rhymed English translation, see The Commedia and Canzoniere of Dante Alighieri, 2 vols., ed. E.H. Plumptre (London, 1886–87), 2:325.

35 As fundamental devotional statements of the Latin West, the Ave Maria, Paternoster and Credo became part of basic pedagogical practice in the late Middle Ages, with children encountering these particular texts to achieve literacy (first by letter, then syllable). See, for example, Robert Black, Humanism and Education in Medieval and Renaissance Italy: Tradition and Innovation in Latin Schools from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth Century (Cambridge and New York, 2001), 42–43.

36 Thurston, Familiar Prayers, 112.

37 Many thanks to Lucia Marchi for her assistance with this translation.

38 William Dugdale, Monasticon Anglicanum: A History of the Abbies and Other Monasteries, Hospitals, Frieries, and Cathedral and Collegiate Churches, with Their Dependencies, in England and Wales, 6 vols., ed. John Caley, Henry Ellis, and Bulkeley Bandinel (London, 1817–30), 6:525.

39 John Harper, The Forms and Orders of Western Liturgy from the Tenth to the Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 1991), 84.

40 On the tradition of pairing the two devotions in polyhony, see Daniel Freeman, ‘On the Origins of the Paternoster-Ave Maria of Josquin des Prez’, Musica Disciplina, 45 (1991), 169–219 and David J. Rothenberg, ‘Marian Feasts, Seasons, and Songs in Medieval Polyphony: Studies in Musical Symbolism’, Ph.D. diss., Yale University (2004), 148–74. A catalogue of these settings can be found in Freeman, ‘On the Origins’, 199–205.

41 This addendum was later used by the Carthusian order. See Miller, Beads and Prayers, 52.

42 First published in Paris by Guy Marchant, this almanac provides instruction on many different aspects of late medieval culture including in agriculture, medicine, astrology and religious devotion. For a facsimile edition with commentary and an extensive source history, see The Kalender of Shepherdes: The Edition of Paris 1503 in Photographic Facsimile, 3 vols., ed. H. Oskar Sommer (London, 1892). In Pynson's 1506 calendar, this final petition to Mary received special attention, as it was further included in an illustration featuring the pope and his Church kneeling before Mary and uttering this prayer.

43 Savonarola, ‘Esposizione sopra l'orazione della vergine’, in Operette spirituali, 2 vols., ed. Mario Ferrara, Edizione Nationale delle opere di Girolamo Savonarola (Rome, 1976), 2:125–47 at 129. Savonarola's exposition involves commentary on the prayer dissected into words or phrases. On the connection between Savonarola and musical culture, see Patrick Macey, Bonfire Songs: Savonarola's Musical Legacy (Oxford, 1998).

44 There are ten known laude settings of the Ave Maria known from the turn of the sixteenth century, as identified by Knud Jeppesen, ed. Die mehrstimmige italienische Laude um 1500 (Leipzig, 1935). Surprisingly, seven of these ten contain the canonical ending with ‘mortis nostrae’ (nos. 40, 41, 42 [Cara], 46, 47 [Tromboncino], 48 [Cara or Tromboncino] and 67 [Innocentius Dammonis]). Petrucci's Motetti B print has three settings of the Ave Maria text. Two of these motets (Regis' 3vv. Ave Maria [fols. 59v–60] and Crispinus' 4vv. Ave Maria [fols. 64v–65] are set only the first part of the text, but the third occurs within a larger composite setting of an anonymous 4vv. Gaude virgo mater christi [fols. 65v–67]. On Petrucci's Motetti B, see Warren Drake, ed., Ottaviano Petrucci, Motetti de Passione, de Cruce, de Sacramento, de Beata Virgine et huiusmodi B: Venice, 1503 (Chicago, 2002).

45 My search includes liturgical items that may have the ‘Sancta Maria’ or another relevant part of the second half in the interior of the text, in addition to the incipit.

46 The full text of this antiphon, used in different positions chiefly within the octave of the Assumption feast, reads: ‘Sancta Maria succurre miseris juva pusillanimes refove flebiles ora pro populo interveni pro clero intercede pro devoto femineo sexu’. It is present in eight of the twelve sources representing the Hesbert's earliest layer of Office manuscripts and numerous later sources.

47 Besides its survival in the late twelfth-century monastic source, Benevento, Biblioteca Capitolare, V 21, I am aware of only four sources for the invitatory Sancta Maria dei genetrix: Chicago, Newberry Library 24 (fol. 218v); Zutphen, Stadsarchief en Stedelijke Bibliotheek (Municipal Archives) 6 (fol. 210v); Benevento, Archivio Capitolare 20 (fol. 258v); and Budapest, Egyetemi Könyvtár (University Library), lat. 122 (fol. 136r). A slightly longer version occurs as an antiphon (CAO 4699), found in five of the twelve earliest sources: ‘Sancta dei genetrix virgo semper Maria intercede pro nobis ad dominum Jesum Christum’.

48 Of Hesbert's twelve sources, this antiphon can only be found in Verona, Biblioteca Capitolare, XCVIII.

49 On the early Notkerian sequence, see Richard L. Crocker, The Early Medieval Sequence (Berkeley, 1977). For the relationship between the Alleluia and sequence, see Calvin M. Bower, ‘From Alleluia to Sequence: Some Definitions of Relations’, in Western Plainchant in the First Millennium, ed. Sean Gallagher et al. (Aldershot, 2003), 351–98.

50 A secular parallel may be seen in troubadour and trouvère repertory, in which the poet sometimes addresses his audience (the lady) directly in the final half stanza.

51 Thurston, ‘The Second Part of the Hail Mary’, The Month, 121 (1913), 379–88 at 379.

52 On the chronology and geography of these manuscript sources, mainly from modern-day Austria (less so in the Low Countries and Germany), see AH 40:115. On the life of Gottschalk of Aachen (also known as Gottschalk of Limburg), see Lawrence Gushee and Michael McGrade, ‘Gottschalk’, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music, 10:205–6. On the political nature of Gottschalk's sequences see McGrade, ‘Gottschalk of Aachen, the Investiture Controversy, and Music for the Feast of the “Divisio apostolorum”’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 49 (1996), 351–408.

53 Ridder (Musical and Theological Patterns, 244–49) has noted two sequences from the Mass for the Annunciation feast, for instance, that conclude with a supplicatory petition (Salve porta perpetuae [AH 7:108 and AH 53:108] and Ave Maria gratia plena [AH 54:216]). Neither closely resembles the final plea known from the later prayer, despite the proximity to Gabriel's announcement and the propriety of the feast.

54 The melody evidently emanates from the Diocese of Salzburg, but sources of this sequence as early as the thirteenth century also survive in northern Europe. See AH 54:355–6; Franz Josef Mone, Hymni Latini medii aevi, 3 vols. (Freiburg, 1855), 2:314; and Joseph Kehrein, Lateinische Sequenzen des Mittelalters (Mainz: F. Kupferberg, 1873), 202–3. My thanks to Calvin M. Bower for bringing this particular version of Ave plena gratiae to my attention in 2005.

55 For the relevant table of polyphonic settings for the Annunciation, see Robertson, ‘Remembering the Annuniciation’, 288–9. My own search for these texts in music was naturally inexhaustive. A majority of these Ave settings can be found in an alphabetic index of motet texts compiled in Hendrik van der Werf, Integrated Directory of Organa, Clausulae and Motets of the Thirteenth Century (Rochester, 1989), 179. In the twenty-four volumes of the series Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century (ed. Leo Schrade, Frank Ll. Harrison and Kurt von Fischer [Paris and Monaco, 1956]), it comes with some surprise that the closest Ave casting is in Marchettus of Padua's Ave Regina/Mater Innocencie/ITE MISSA EST (PMFC 12:129–132), in which the triplum merely bears an acrostic of the first half of the prayer (with no name of Jesus appended). This is the principal object of investigation in Robertson's study.

56 For the most recent study on the date and provenance of the manuscript, see Nicolas Bell, The Las Huelgas Music Codex: A Companion Study to the Facsimile (Madrid, 2003), 36–39. This volume accompanies idem, ed. Códice de canto polifonico (Madrid, 1997–2003). For an earlier study of the manuscript and its context, see Higini Anglès, El còdex musical de Las Huelgas, 3 vols. (Barcelona, 1931), 1:vii–x. Several works in the manuscript are attributed to Johannes Roderici, whose names appears in the boxed inscription at the bottom of Figure 1: ‘Johan[n]es Roderici me fecit’. This signature, however, appears to apply strictly to the unrelated tenor located at the bottom of fol. 152v. This tenor forms the underpinning for a conductus-motet (Mellis stilla, maris stella/[DOMINO]) found later in the manuscript (fol. 166). On the question of Roderici's assumed contributions to Las Huelgas, see Michael O'Connor, ‘Johannes Roderici: Identifying the Musician of Las Huelgas’, Medieval Perspectives, 10 (1995), 169–77.

57 Even when setting traditional liturgical texts with known chant melodies, composers typically took the text and developed a more rhythmically flexible melody compared to the traditional setting. See Janet Knapp, ‘Conductus’, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music, 6:278-9. For Franco of Cologne's dictum to first compose “as beautiful a melody as one can” (“primum cantum invenire debet pulcriorem quam potest”) for the tenor when creating a conductus, see Franco, Ars cantus mensurabilis, ed. Gilbert Reaney and André Gilles, Corpus Scriptorum de Musica 18 (American Institute of Musicology, 1974), 74. For a rereading of Franco and Grocheio on the nature of the tenor in the conductus repertory, see Bryan Gillingham, ‘A New Etiology and Etymology for the Conductus’, The Musical Quarterly, 75 (1991), 59-73, esp. 62.

58 Freeman, ‘On the Origins’, 187.

59 See, for example, the version in Gordon A. Anderson, ed., Notre-Dame and Related Conductus, 11 vols. (Henryville, PA, 1979), 10:53–54.

60 Concluding caudae routinely occur throughout the conductus repertory, and rapid stepwise melodic descents through the octave (especially from the octave above the final to the note located one step above the final) almost invariably transpire above held notes at the ends of these pieces and major sections therein. However, of the hundreds of conductus that have survived, I have located only two comparable examples that feature a lengthy patterned descent in the duplum over the steady tenor note. See Haec in die Gedeonis (ibid., 3:162–65) and Adiuva nos Deus (ibid., 5:5–7), although the latter represents motion towards an internal cadence.

61 The two-part Benedicamus Domino is on f.24v and has been edited in Gordon Athol Anderson, ed., The Las Huelgas Manuscript, 2 vols. (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1982), 1:62–3.

62 On the heritage of the medieval motet, problems surrounding its development and the relationship to assumed parent clausulae, see Mark Everist, French Motets in the Thirteenth Century: Music, Poetry, and Genre (Cambridge and New York, 1994), 1–5.

63 Montpellier, Bibliothèque Inter-Universitaire, Section Médecine, H196 (fols. 323r–324r). The triplum Ave virgo virginum has been catalogued by Friedrich Ludwig (Repertorium Organorum Recentioris et Motetorum Vetustissimi Stili, 2 vols., rev. Friedrich Gennrich [Langen bei Frankfurt: 1961–62]) as no. 772 and the motetus Christe tibi conqueror as no. 773. On the Marian antiphon Alma redemptoris mater, see Steiner, ‘Alma redemptoris mater’, in NCE, 1:297–8.

64 On acrostics in Ars Antiqua polyphony, see, for example, the motet Ave regina celorum/Mater innocencie/[Ite missa est] which reveals not only an acrostic of the Ave Maria in the triplum, but also the acrostic MARCUM PADVANVM, the signature of the composer Marchettus of Padua. For a discussion of the tenor melody of this motet (‘Joseph’) and the connection of this work to the Scrovegni Chapel, see Robertson, ‘Remembering the Annunciation’, 297–304. In epitaphs, the name of the deceased is sometimes presented by way of an acrostic and, in liturgical poetry, the name of the saint whose feast was celebrated may also be revealed in this way. Blume has described some of the more important acrostics in the rhymed liturgical Offices, hymns and sequences in his preface to AH 29: 5–15.

65 Were it not for these two skipped lines, one might argue that the acrostic was an aid to memory for the performance of the motet, since the regular musical phrasing coincides exactly with the progression of the acrostic.

66 On the language of intimacy in the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Books of Hours, see Eamon Duffy, Marking the Hours: English People and Their Prayers 1240–1570 (New Haven and London, 2006), 63–4.

67 The Salve Regina was traditionally sung from Trinity Sunday through the end of the liturgical year. On the general history of this prayer, see Thurston, Familiar Prayers, 115–145. In the thirteenth century, the Salve was increasingly sung after the Office of Compline. Within two centuries, the antiphon became supplemented with additional chants for the Virgin Mary. In particularly well-endowed secular churches, an entire (‘Salve’) service developed where polyphony was sung. On the Salve service (lof), see Haggh, ‘Music, Liturgy, and Ceremony in Brussels 1350–1500’, 2 vols., Ph.D. diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1988), 1:397–417; Rob C. Wegman, Born for the Muses: The Life and Masses of Jacob Obrecht (Oxford, 1994), 204; and Strohm, Music in Medieval Bruges, 145.

68 On motets in performance and the interpretative problems arising from their polytextuality, see Suzannah Clark, ‘“S'en dirai chançonete”: hearing text and music in a medieval motet’, Plainsong & Medieval Music, 16 (2007), 31–59; and Christopher Page, ‘Around the Performance of a 13th-Century Motet’, Early Music, 28 (2000), 343–57.

69 On the principle of divisio in motets not only to structure them but also to aid in performance and create predictable patterns (especially in the isorhythmic motet), see Anna Maria Busse Berger, Medieval Music and the Art of Memory (Berkeley, 2005), 220–5.

70 The motet is found in two sources: the Montpellier Codex (fols. 93r–94v); Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, nouv. acq. fr.13521, ‘La Clayette’ (fol. 384r); and additionally referred to in the list of (lost) polyphonic compositions in London, British Library, Harley 978 (fol. 161). The motet texts Ave beatissima civitas and Ave Maria gratia plena are catalogued by Ludwig (Repertorium Organorum) as nos. 394 and 395, respectively. The triplum text Ave beatissima civitas had a musical afterlife of its own, as it was set to new, independent melodies in the fourteenth century (Admont 638 [fol. 88, staffless neumes]; Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek 615 [fols. 64r–v]; Lübeck, Stadtbibliothek 16 [fols. 38v–39]; and Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, lat. 5539 [fols. 61v–62v]).

71 This suggestion was made by Gordon A. Anderson, ‘Notre Dame Latin Double Motets ca. 1215-1250’, Musica Disciplina, 25 (1971), 35–92, esp. 54–55. The placement of this motet in the manuscript ‘La Clayette’, in fact, occurs in a section of the manuscript with a considerable number of French double motets.

72 An early medieval example of abecedarian technique can be found in the hymn A solis ortus cardine by the fifth-century poet Sedulius. In this case, each hymn strophe begins with a different letter of the alphabet, spanning A to Z. For a discussion of this alphabetic hymn, see Samuel Willoughby Duffield, The Latin Hymn-Writers and Their Hymns, ed. R.E. Thompson (New York, 1889), 83–7. Surviving in more than a dozen manuscripts, Chaucer's La prière de Nostre Dame (or ‘ABC poem’) is a more well-known and contemporaneous example of the abecedarian technique. In this poem, each stanza begins with a successive letter of the Latin alphabet. The poem, thought to be performed in song, begins, ‘Incipit carmen secundum ordinem litterarum alphabeti’ (‘The song begins according to the succession of the letters of the alphabet’). For an edition of Chaucer's ‘ABC’, see Larry D. Benson, ed., The Riverside Chaucer, Third edition (Boston, 1987), 637–40. For a description of a range of acrostic techniques in Latin, see Dag Norberg, An Introduction to the Study of Medieval Latin Versification, trans. Grant C. Roti (Washington, DC, 2004), 48–9.

73 The manuscript Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, nouv. acq. fr.13521 (‘La Clayette’) contains the word ‘Karissimum’ (dearest) in place of ‘Kastitatis’ found in the Montpellier Codex.

74 See Mone, Hymni Latini Medii Aevi, 2:439.

75 For a study of how these prayers were used as children's literacy ‘primers’ in sixteenth-century France, see F. Furet and J. Ozouf, Reading and Writing: Literacy in France from Calvin to Jules Ferry (Cambridge, 1982), 74–8. For this phenomenon in print culture and its relationship to music, see Kate van Orden, ‘Children's Voices: Singing and Literacy in Sixteenth-Century France’, Early Music History, 25 (2006), 209–56.

76 The misidentification of the tenor filtered into some scholarship on the manuscript. See, for instance, the tenor IOHANNE identified without comment in Ernst Apfel, Anlage und Struktur der Motetten im Codex Montpellier (Heidelberg, 1970), 73.

77 Formal repetition of a tenor's pitches (colour) and rhythms (talea) – ‘isorhythm’ in modern terms – was in an early stage of development at the end of the thirteenth century, and this motet must be included along with the other motets of this period as some of the early examples with tenor restatements. See Denis Harbinson, ‘Isorhythmic Technique in the Early Motet’, Music & Letters, 47 (1966), 100–9, esp. 103. The author presents evidence from the Montpellier manuscript in particular to help dismiss the assertion that tenor repetition developed in connection with the later period known as the ars nova. Truncation of tenor statements remained rare: of the fifty-five motets in the manuscript ‘La Clayette’, for instance, there are only two motets in addition to the present motet that truncate the reiteration of the tenor statement by rereading the original melody with shorter note values in some places. Both motets occur with the tenor IN SECULUM, though they are not identical in their rhythmic profile (Chascuns dist/Se j'ai amé/IN SECULUM [no. 37, fol. 384r] and En doit fine amour/La beauté madame/IN SECULUM [no. 46, fol. 387v]). In both IN SECULUM motets, the melodic material is restated in full, making the abridgment strictly a rhythmic phenomenon. This differs from Ave beatissima/Ave Maria/AVE MARIS STELLA, where part of the tenor melody is outright excised.

78 For recent attention to the questions of structural correspondence between the tenor and upper voices in the case of a single vernacular motet, see Clark, ‘‘S'en dirai chançonete’, 50.

79 Susan Kidwell, ‘The Selection of Clausula Sources for Thirteenth-Century Motets: Some Practical Considerations and Aesthetic Implications’, Current Musicology, 64 (2001), 73–103, esp. 78; Dolores Pesce, ‘The Significance of Text in Thirteenth-Century Latin Motets’, Acta Musicologica, 58 (1986), 91–117; and Everist, French Motets in the Thirteenth Century, 24, 177.

80 The idea of first choosing a tenor that concords (musically and textually) with the upper voices was suggested by the mid-fourteenth-century music theorist Egidius de Murino in his treatise De motettis componendis. The relevant passage of this treatise is given in Alice V. Clark, ‘Concordare cum materia: The Tenor in the Fourteenth-Century Motet’, Ph.D. diss., Princeton University (1996), 3–6.

81 Rokseth ed., Polyphonies du XIIIe siècle: Le manuscript H 196 de la Faculté de medicine de Montpellier, 4 vols. (Paris, 1935–39), 4:261: ‘courte invocation, qui remplace la deuxième partie, non encore fixée au XIIIe siècle, de la prière moderne Ave Maria’.

82 Ludwig, Repertorium Organorum, 1:393–4.

83 I have located at least a handful of occurrences of the formulation dulcissimum filium. Closest to the period in question is the twelfth-century English Cistercian abbot Aelred of Rievaulx, who used this phrase three different times in association with Mary and Christ across his works (though not expounding the Ave in particular). See Aelredus Rievallensi, De Jesu puero duodenni, PL 184:851; ibid., PL 184:854; and idem, Sermones de tempore, PL 195:310. The inversion of this phrase (filium dulcissimum) occurs in one of the rhythmical prayers (Reimgebete) from a Franciscan manuscript for the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin: ‘Mater pudicissima / Cum iam perdidisti / Filium dulcissimum / Et hinc doluisti / Ipsumque post triduum / In templo vidisti / Dolorose quereris: / Quare sic fecisti?’ See AH 31: 173. The more general plea ‘natum tuum ora’ occurs near the end of the thirteenth-century Annunciation sequence Ave Maria gratia plena (AH 54: 216). Ridder (Musical and Theological Patterns, 246–48) hypothesised that this conclusion may represent the origin of the second-half supplication of the Ave Maria.

84 On this Marian antiphon, see John Caldwell, ‘Ave regina caelorum’, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music, 2:249.

85 On the association between the five phrases of the Ave, the five letters of the word MARIA, and the floral imagery of the early rosary, as described in the treatise Our Lady Mary's Rose Garden (c. 1430), see Winston-Allen, Stories of the Rose, 100.



AH Analecta hymnica medii aevi, 55 vols., ed. Guido Maria Dreves et al. (Leipzig, 1886–1922)

CAO René-Jean Hesbert, Corpus antiphonalium officii, 6 vols. (Rome, 1963–79)

NCE New Catholic Encyclopedia, 15 vols., 2nd edn, (Detroit, 2003)

PL Patrologiae cursus completus: series latina, 221 vols., ed. J.P. Migne (Paris, 1844–79)

This article expands on material from Michael Alan Anderson, ‘Symbols of Saints: Theology, Ritual, and Kinship in Music for John the Baptist and St. Anne (1175–1563)’, 3 vols., Ph.D. diss., University of Chicago (2008), 1:138–46. I am indebted to the initial readers of this work, including Robert Kendrick and Rachel Fulton from the University of Chicago. Valuable suggestions were provided in the later stages by Ruth Steiner and Patrick Macey. I also owe gratitude to Catherine Saucier, Erika Honisch, Katarzyna Grochowska, Andrew Westerhaus and Patricia Firca for encouragement to pursue this project. Most importantly, I wish to acknowledge Anne Walters Robertson for her unfailing support of this and other work over the past several years.

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Plainsong & Medieval Music
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