≡ Menu

Renaissance ABC’s

Facsimile of Christes Cross melody.

Facsimile of Christes Cross melody.


At St. Cecilia this year, my friend, Master Christian, gave me some sheet music he believed I’d be interested in. It was a three part piece by Thomas Morley, from his book, A Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical Music. Basically, Morley used the ABC song of the time to demonstrate counterpoint. The top-line contains the melody; the bottom two lines are the counterpoint that Morley composed.

Of course, I’ve been singing the Christes Crosse to Martin ever since. 😛 I will win the Internet when he can sing it.

Fun fact: it doesn’t have the letters J or U since I and J were and interchangeable as were U and V.

Also interesting, it has a range of an Octave and a fourth, which is pretty wide. Today’s ABC song (Twinkle Twinkle) has a range of a sixth.

A couple of notes about the video:

  • I know it should be “when you have done” not “when you are done”.  I realized my mistake way too far in the process, and would have had to redo everything to fix it. So… no.
  • Attributing the piece to Morley is a bit like attributing “Twinkle Twinkle” (or Ah vous dirai-je, Maman) to Mozart. Morley presumable didn’t write the tune for Christes Crosse…

If there’s interest, I could be convinced to record Morley’s first variation.


Comments on this entry are closed.