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  • Writer's pictureTim Braithwaite

Summary of the Rules of Singing on the Book: Those of “strict counterpoint” in two voices

The summary below is from Jean-Paul Montagnier, “Le Chant Sur Le Livre Au XVIIIe Siècle: Les Traités de Louis-Joseph Marchand et Henry Madin,” Revue de Musicologie 81, no. 1 (1995): 37-63 [LINK] and has been translated by Tim Braithwaite (March 2021)

The rules are drawn primarily from the contents of two treatises: Louis-Joseph Marchand, Traité du contrepoint simple ou Chant sur le Livre (Bar-le-Duc : Richard Briflot, 1739) [LINK] and Henry Madin, Traité Du Contrepoint Simple, ou du Chant sur le Livre (Paris : Boivin, Le Clerc, 1742) [LINK].

My comments appear in square brackets, whereas Montagnier’s original additions appear in round brackets.

Below is an extract from Marchand’s Traité du contrepoint simple ou Chant sur le Livre which demonstrates how a single voice might sing above the plainchant introit ‘Gaudeamus Omnes in Domino.’


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