Musicus Online Museum
Neumatized sequence: Iubilans concrepa
This sequence was sung at Rouen Cathedral on the Saturday after Easter, and the Sunday after the feast of the Ascension commemorating Jesus’ rise to heaven following his resurrection. The melody is relatively simple, but the text is full of elaborate musical wordplay. The singer is exhorted to “make a jubilant noise,” singing “lofty repeated melodies” so they might “echo on that day when the life of the world rises.” These references to “repeated melodies” and “echoes” aptly reflect the melodic and textual organization of most sequences (in repeating line pairs). The practice of neumatizing this chant (adding the textless “echoes” after each line of text sung) – prescribed in several contemporary sources – would surely have enhanced this image of “echoing” heavenly music. Medieval commentators refer to the power of untexted vocalizing to transport the listener closer to the divine, comparing this wordless praise to angelic song.
The recorded performance adds an extra dimension to these repetitions, inspired by the sequence text itself. The text speaks of joining melodies together, adorning the “lofty repeated melodies” with ever-abundant harmony. Here, the singers add a voice part above the chant melody, following rules of musical counterpoint of the period.