Talk:This is the record of John (Orlando Gibbons)

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III.84.2 Last three notes of this phrase should be a fifth lower (A flat - G - F) ColinD 00:20, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

That's the Alto 2's "...of the Lord," in measure 84 of the regularly barred CPDL #00147. Error message says "a few"; are there more? Richard Mix 20:04, 18 February 2011 (CST)
also II.29.1 first note of "asked" should be Eb rather than F, and II.69.2 should be E natural, even if it's just ficta Zenbobby (talk) 05:18, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

Original pitch

CPDL #22158 This is stated to be 'at original pitch' (it's in F) and the information has been amended to specify a tenor soloist for this 'original pitch'. However, all the performances I have heard (except one) and all the performances I have taken part in use a counter-tenor soloist and SAATB choir, singing in A flat.

What is the contributor's reference for the assertion that F was the original pitch?

OK, counter-tenors capable of singing the solo are few these days and an F edition is perhaps more practical, and indeed welcome if it allows more performances of this wonderful piece, but 'at original pitch' ???

I think the information cover page should be at least neutral on what the original pitch was.

Marghek 11:54, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Reply by: Chucktalk Giffen 14:49, 22 August 2010 (UTC)


I'm pretty sure that F is the original key. See, for example, this page at The Sacred Music Collection website. Morevoer, if I recall correctly, OUP publishes an edition in F (available from Sheetmusicplus).

By the way, the original accompaniment was a consort of viols, which explains the accompaniment being spread over 5 staves in some editions.

Reply by: Vaarky 16:30, 22 August 2010 (UTC)


To add to what Chuck wrote, indications that a manuscript reflects original pitch usually mean that it's in the same key as the surviving original manuscript. However, there is research that people's body sizes were quite different in the Renaissance (nutrition especially having been so different), and theories hold that Renaissance A would have been different from our A440. User:Edward Tambling has pointers on his page to some proponents regarding this aspect if you want to read more about it.

Since even if we sing it in the original key we're probably not singing it at original pitch, and our physiology is different (certainly bigger bodies, probably lower voices), I think you should freely transpose to a key that suits your ensemble.