Musicus Online Museum
This sequence is preserved in a single thirteenth-century manuscript from the cathedral in Reims (northeast of Paris). The music is not specified for a particular day; rather, it could have served various occasions, including events outside the liturgy proper. Its notation is highly unusual: the scribe copied the full texted sequence, followed by a repetition of the entire sequence melody without text. It is more common to see such “neumatized” repetitions interleaved in short melodic segments between the sequence verses.
The performance here follows the unique layout of this source and features female voices.The melody takes an unexpected turn in its closing; it ends in a different ‘home key’ than it started. This musical detour actually softens the transition into the untexted repeat of the melody, which begins with the same “unexpected” pitch. In fact, the written-out repetition highlights the similarity that exists between the last phrase of the melody, and its first (now heard without text). The scribe’s unusual decision to repeat the melody in its entirety, rather than line-by-line, may have been influenced by these connections.
[OR (last sentence)
Women’s voices were not allowed to be heard alongside men’s voices in medieval church services; however, nuns could have sung these chants in their convents.]
[New ending, following on from your suggestion that I should add something about the melodic shape, ending on a different ‘home key’ than it started.]