In the course of performing Renaissance polyphony, we have come to realise that singing bar-free versions liberates the rhythms within and between the parts. It is easy for any choir to sing these pieces despite the lack of barlines, and once the choir is accustomed to it, its members find it frustrating to be given scores with barlines which are basically arbitrarily imposed on the polyphony and imply a rigidity of rhythm which is foreign to the idiom.
The pieces of music on this page can be downloaded and used by anyone. The selection here is determined by what the Embassy Singers have sung since we started singing bar-free polyphony in 2003.
Andrew Sims, the director, has written an article, 'Liberating Tudor music' explaining more about the background to these scores.
Please feel free to download and try out the following pieces with your choir:
|Batten||O sing joyfully|
|Byrd||Mass for Four Voices
Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus, Agnus Dei
|Byrd||Mass for Five Voices|
Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei
|Byrd||Alleluia! Cognoverunt discipuli|
|Byrd||Ego sum panis vivus (D major)|
|Byrd||Ecce quam bonum|
|Gibbons||Almighty and everlasting God|
|Gibbons||Magnificat (Short Service)|
|Gibbons||Nunc dimittis (Short Service)|
|Gibbons||O clap your hands|
|Gibbons||The Silver Swan|
|Mundy||My prime of youth|
|Tallis||O ye tender babes|
You are welcome to try out any or all of these. If you do, Andrew Sims, the director of the Embassy Singers, would be most interested to hear how you get on!