Editor's Forum


Du Chemin Chansons Nouvelles and The Lost Voices Project

About the Project

The Lost Voices Project explores a repertory of almost 400 four-voice chanson published in Paris by Nicolas Du Chemin during the middle years of the sixteenth century. Du Chemin’s anthologies contain music by composers like Clément Janequin, Claude Goudimel, Etienne Du Tertre, and about two dozen lesser known contemporaries. As is sometimes the case with printed partbooks nearly five hundred years old, not all of the volumes of the sets have survived: in this instance books containing the contratenor and bassus voices for volumes 12–16 (about 80 compositions in all) are lost.

The Lost Voices Project addresses the problems presented by these missing voices through the stylistic profile of the extant complete pieces. In the course of our work, a team of over a dozen scholars and students collaboratively developed a thesaurus of musical types (encompassing a searchable database of over 11,000 individual analytic observations) encompassing the various contrapuntal patterns found in the corpus as a whole. The thesaurus was in turn used to inform a series of attempts to reconstruct the lost voices, and to compare and debate the alternative solutions proposed.

About the Editor's Forum

These pages assemble various practical, editorial, and technical materials for two related projects concerning French music of the sixteenth century:

  • The Chansons nouvelles de Nicolas Du Chemin (an archive of facsimiles and editions of sixteen books of polyphonic chansons issues in Paris around 1550)
  • The Lost Voices Project (a digital resource for the analysis of musical style and structure in the Chansons nouvelles, along with dynamic critical editions and reconstructions of the missing voice parts of some 100 pieces).

Follow the links above to learn about our methods and results.

Contact rfreedma at haverford dot edu to learn more about the project, how to participate, or how to use these concepts in your teaching, research and performance.