Talk:Alma Redemptoris Mater (Josquin des Prez)

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The marking 'SATB' leads to the view (hope, even!) that this might be for Soprano Alto Tenor and Bass. However, upon opening the pdf, we find it is set out for Superius, Altus, Tenor and Bass - not the usual interpretation of 'SATB'!

Further, after translating from the C clefs for 'SAT' one finds that all four parts start with the same four notes at the same pitch. In my view there is no way this piece is for Soprano Alto etc. The highest note in the 'S' part seems to be the F above middle C. So, it could be for ATTB or for TTBB. Probably best to mark it as ATTB as it isn't traditional male voice choir repertoire ;)

Another point. How many singers these days can sing from C clefs? The contributor could've used his time (and ours!) more constructively, in my view, by inputting to modern clefs.

Just my 2p or 3c worth!

Alan Knight

Reply by: Chucktalk Giffen 03:12, 1 December 2008 (UTC)


The ambitus (range) of the Superius part is c3—g4; both the Altus and Tenor parts have the identical ambitus e3—f4; finally, the Bassus part has ambitus a2—c4. Thus the Altus and Tenor ranges fall inside the range of the Superius part. The probable interpretation of modern voices for these parts is therefore most likely Tenor for the Superius, Altus, and Tenor parts, and Baritone (or Bass) for the Bassus part – especially if the work is performed transposed up a whole step or a minor third (to reflect current interpretation of the relation between Renaissance written pitches and contemporary written pitches). The Superius label was not meant always to refer to a treble voice. Anyway, I recommend that the voicing be changed to TTTB, or possibly ATTB (with the Superius being a "T"!!).