Ave Regina caelorum (Walter Frye)

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  • (Posted 2020-07-30)  CPDL #59923:     
Editor: Simon MacHale (submitted 2020-07-30).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 49 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Original pitch and note values retained. Musica ficta suggested. Tenor texted editorially. Contratenor left untexted.
  • (Posted 2016-02-14)  CPDL #38569:     
Editor: Simon Biazeck (submitted 2016-02-14).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 101 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Edition without editorial music ficta.
  • (Posted 2016-02-13)  CPDL #38564:       
Editor: Simon Biazeck (submitted 2016-02-13).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 104 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: This edition has been transcribed from the Trent codex. Original pitch has been retained and note values have been quartered. Cue-sized and cautionary accidentals are editorial. The original prolation sign, tempus perfectum, suggests a moderate (not slow!) three in a bar. The editorial treatment of partial key signatures (the Tenor alone has one flat), the approach to harmonic and melodic tritones, leading notes, false relations and the question of identical solmization seeks to address some aural prejudices we may have about this music, and indeed much music of the Renaissance. No attempt has been made to correct ‘forbidden’ intervals. In the often-misinterpreted discussion on the sixth tone in his treatise on mode, Johannes Tinctoris states that false concords should be avoided even if it necessitates the use of a linear tritone. However, I do not believe he is not talking about performers’ accidentals. Rather, he is referring to the rules of composition, and we should feel reasonably sure that fifteenth (and sixteenth) century composers knew exactly what they were doing, and were no more concerned with the so-called “rules” of counterpoint than composers or singers of any other age. Therefore, perhaps idiosyncratically, the linear integrity of each voice has been preserved. Only the Discantus has the text and we may well assume that the Tenor and Contratenor should be sung wordless on a uniform vowel, or perhaps even played by instruments. To date, the strongest evidence for purely vocal performance of these voices comes from Guillaume de Machaut’s nephew, Eustache Deschamps who claimed that the ideal ensemble for a polyphonic chanson was a ‘triplicité des voix’ (‘threefold voice’). However, this statement is not without its ambiguities, and we simply do not know for certain what the practice was. The presence of many more ligatures in the Contratenor complicates matters for effective pointing and quite possibly proves that the wordless voice option is best, but for purely practical reasons an attempt has been made to provide the text.

General Information

Title: Ave Regina caelorum
Composer: Walter Frye
Lyricist: Traditional

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: ATBar.
Genre: SacredMotetVotive antiphon

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

First published: mid 15c Trent codex 90, f. 298v. - 299
    Manuscript c.1500 in Codex Speciálník, no. 110
Description: Frye's motet was widely disseminated; the tenor is used in Agricola's Salve Regina II as well as Jacob Obrecht’s Ave regina caelorum and Missa Ave regina caelorum.

External websites:

Original text and translations

A somewhat similar text and translations can be found at Ave Regina caelorum.

Latin.png Latin text

Ave regina caelorum,
Mater regis angelorum
O Maria, flos virginum,

Velut rosa velut lilium.
Funde preces ad Filium
Pro salute fidelium,

O Maria, flos virginum,
Velut rosa velut lilium.

English.png English translation

Hail, queen of heaven,
mother of the king of the angels,
Mary, flower of virgins,

like as the rose and the lily.
Pour forth prayers to your Son
for the salvation of the faithful,

Mary, flower of virgins,
like as the rose and the lily.