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O, all ye people, clap your hands, Z. My heart is inditing, Z. O Lord, rebuke me not, Z. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me Z. Te Deum laudamus and Jubilate Deo Z. Blow up the trumpet in Sion Z. The Lord is king, be the people never so impatient Z. Begin the song and strike the living lyre Z. Hear my prayer, O Lord Z. Lord, I can suffer thy rebukes Z. O Lord our governor Z. Remember not, O Lord, our offences Z. Hosanna to the highest Z. O God thou hast cast us out Z. O God, thou hast cast us out Z. The word is a lantern unto my feet Z.
My Beloved Spake Z. My song Shall Be Alway Z. Pastora's beauties when unblown; 2. A thousand sev'ral ways I tried; 3. Urge me no more; 4. Farewell, all joys; 5. If music be the food of love; 6. Amidst the shades and cool refreshing streams. Draw near, you lovers; 2. While Thiorsis, wrapp'd in downy sleep; 3. Love, thou can'st hear, tho' thou art blind; 4. I lov'd fair Celia; 5. What hope for us remains now he is gone? Suite from the play Bonducca Z. Chacony in G minor Z.
Suite from the play The Virtuous Wife Z. Paul McCreesh. David Munrow. Come all ye songsters; 2. May ye god of wit; 3. Heark how all things; 4. Ground in G Z. Thrice happy lovers; 6. I look'd and saw; 7. Now the night is chac'd away; 8. Hark th' echoing air. Christophe Coin. William Christie. Martin Gester. Mike Fentross.
La Visionnaire; 2. La Montflambert ; 4. La Muse victorieuse; 5. La Convalescente; 7. Gavotte; 8. La Sophie; 9. L'Epineuse; La Pantomime. Le Point du jour; 3. L'Anguille; 4. Le Croc-en-jambe; 5. L'Audacieuse; 8. Les Tricoteuses; 9. L'Arlequine; Les Vieux Seigneurs; Les Jeunes Seigneurs; Les Dars homicides; Les Guirlandes; Les Brinborions; La Divine Babiche ou les amours badins; La Belle Javotte; L'Exquise; Les Pavots; Les Chinois; La Princesse Marie; 3.
La Boufonne; 4. La Fine Madelon; 7. La Douce Jeanneton; 8. Les Tambourins.
L'Artiste; 2. Even his Messe pour les paroisses, which is based upon the chant Cunctipotens Genitor Deus does not fully observe the requirements of the Caeremoniale. The sixth organ response or couplet of the Gloria, for example, corresponds to the words Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram — one of the occasions when the plainsong phrase at these words was required to be sounded, yet this movement is freelycomposed, with only the merest hint of the plainsong through the drooping phrase which steals throughout the movement.
For most modern listeners their experience of both works is more likely to be from a concert performance, or a recorded one — this at least having the likelihood of being played on an appropriate instrument. Both masses are as much concerned with matching the colourful ceremony enacted below the organ-loft as with evoking a devotional atmosphere. Harmonies such as at Examples 4. Thus, cheek-by-jowl with movements like that of Example 4. It unfolds in an almost improvisatory way. Example 4. Given the right artist and instrument, this passage comes into its own, radiating an atmosphere of solemn devotion and quietude.
See Chapter 1 for a description of the liturgical function of these two types. Unrecognised until the s, however, were twelve more in an immensely large and precious manuscript collection at the College of St. After his death in it was auctioned in Paris, much of it purchased by William Hope, a banker of English origin who had been granted French nationality by Louis-Philippe. These came into the Tenbury collection some sixty years later when another sixty volumes, which had been purchased by another buyer at the original auction, turned up in Paris.
Edmund Fellowes acquired them in on behalf of the College at Tenbury where he was curating the music library. Appointed as organist at Versailles in it may well have been composed and performed there any time from then onwards. On the other hand, his three Versets were composed expressly at the command of the king and performed before him at Versailles in , and The remaining motets are from undated manuscripts.
Attempts to date these on stylistic grounds such as French versus Italian styles are invariably thwarted because Couperin separated or brought the two styles together with varying emphases throughout his life as the occasion demanded. A characteristic French touch is the continuo line lifted high into the treble register and played by violin and continuo see Example 4. The result is a delicate sonority frequently found in secular French cantata scores and in some operas. The French provenance of a number of motets is in no doubt.
Except for one of the movements in the Versets of where he requires all the tenors and basses of the Royal Chapel to participate — each part singing in unison — or in another where tutti sopranos alternated with soprano soloists, the Versets were sung by the performers listed above in solos, duos and trios. Only occasionally are choral forces required as in some movements of Motet de Ste Suzanne , but these are not in more than three parts.
For example, in the Sept Versets of , for the setting of the words from Psalm 84 Salutare tuum da nobis — a movement composed for the haute-contre Du Four — Couperin conceived a passage of harmony remarkable for its piquant false-relations. Some indulge in delightful word-painting, such as at the end of Aspiratio mentis ad Deum where aeternum is held on a high G for six bars. From the same motet come passages that could easily have slipped from Italian works in their motivic construction, their melodic and harmonic patterning including sequences of sevenths giving a typical baroque thrust to the tonality Example 4.
They are indeed a fruitful meeting-ground of French and Italian traditions. See Chapter 1 for a description of transposition through clef substitution. When the poems were translated into Latin this scheme disappeared, but it became Sacred Music 65 traditional to precede each Latin verse with the original Hebrew letter. Although meaningless in their new context, these vestigial traces of the original poetic form were incorporated into the Gregorian setting of the text, a practice also followed by many composers from early times to the present day. In practice, during the time of Louis XIV, Tenebrae actually began in the afternoon of Wednesday, perhaps, as James Anthony suggests, to encourage attendance at the services.
Facta est quasi vidua, Domina gentium: princeps provinciarum facta est sub tributo.
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How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people? She that was great among the nations, and princess amongst the provinces, how is she become a tributary! Beth Plorans ploravit in nocte, et lachrymae ejus in maxillis ejus: non est qui consoletur eam ex omnibus charis ejus. Omnes amici ejus spreverunt eam, et facti sunt ei inimici. She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.
Fortunately, few musical restrictions were placed upon services for Tenebrae, thus permitting polyphonic settings and, with the appearance of monody at the end of the sixteenth century, settings for solo voice and continuo or ensemble. In seventeenth-century France both kinds were composed, but that for solo voice and continuo was taken up with such enthusiasm from the middle of the century that French composers seem to have adopted the form as their own.
Amongst the leading composers of the time who contributed settings were Michel Lambert, Marc-Antoine Charpentier who, in typical fashion composed six different settings of the nine lessons to suit every occasion — some with continuo, some with orchestra or ensemble , Lalande and Bernier. Couperin was, thus, only one in a long line of French composers who wrote music for this service.
There can be little doubt that these works, with their highly emotional texts inspiring some of the most eloquent music from their composers, were high points in the musical celebration of Holy Week, attracting immense congregations to some of the most fashionable churches. Lyon, ms Lambert seemed to revel in writing extended melismas, some of which, as the work progresses, move further away from the chant and take up an entire line of music. These may be interpreted in a variety of ways according to the taste and skill of the singer.
As will be seen from Example 4. It is true that there are a few sequential passages as in Example 4. The melody of Quomodo sedet sola civitas begins very simply and gently — with a total span of forty bars there is no need for impatience! It is a superbly shaped musical line. The music of Quomodo certainly displays few tragic overtones, but we must see it in its context, for it is only the beginning — almost like a narration that surveys the scene before entering it.
The next movement, Plorans ploravit, plunges into an expression of deep anguish as can be seen in the opening of this remarkable movement Example 4. For this Couperin chose the form of the ground bass. Six cycles of the bass propel the movement, its cadence points overlapping rather than coinciding with those of the melody, so avoiding a sectionalised form. Je - ru? For a more detailed description of the Toulouse-Philidor collection see Kenneth Gilbert et al. V See also E. This we learn from his account of the genesis of Les Nations, a collection of four extended trio sonatas published in I, but composed some thirty or more years earlier.
He explains: It is a few years now since one part of these trios was composed; a few manuscripts of them were distributed about, but I have little faith in them because of the negligence of the copyists. It has quite a singular story. Charmed by the sonatas of Signor Corelli and by the French works of M. I pretended that a relative of mine that I actually do have [his cousin Marc Roger Norman] and who is attached to the court of the King of Sardinia, had sent me a sonata by a new Italian composer.
I arranged the letters of my name so as to form an Italian name which I gave instead. The sonata was received with much acclaim and I will say nothing further in its defence. I wrote others and my Italianised name brought me, wearing this mask, great applause.
Both words failed to enter the popular lexicon. In the entire French cantata repertoire, for example, there is only one instance of the terminology cantade by the obscure composer Brunet de Molan. French regard for viols — especially the basse de viole — remained high throughout the whole century, virtuosi like Sainte-Colombe and Marin Marais helping to maintain the status of the instruments in France long after they had surrendered to the violin and cello elsewhere.
In the working out of the material Corelli the violinist lets his string technique take over much of the thematic development, expanding the phrases to a degree not followed by Couperin. Even in simple scale passages Corelli covers a wider span than does Couperin. Such points of difference are small — as indeed we would expect when one composer sought to emulate the other. The ornamentation seems to have been kept to a minimum in the original version. In general terms, however, while there are similarities of style, the overall impression of distinctive musical personalities remains.
If Couperin avoids the dance forms in his opening sonatas, nevertheless the spirit of the dance is never far away, especially in the slow movements. No such volume appeared, but amongst those which he may have had in mind to incorporate in the second collection could have been La Superbe and La Steinkerke, two trio sonatas left unpublished at his death. Like Les Nations, they were published some years after their composition, the king having died in , after which Couperin was no longer working at Versailles.
The aged monarch had enjoyed them so much that he had commanded Couperin and his fellow musicians to play from the collection nearly every Sunday during the years I7I4 and It is not hard to see why they gave such pleasure to Louis XIV, for the works largely sprang from the courtly tradition of French dance forms following a Prelude with which commenced each of the fourteen suites or ordres — terms, however, not used on the scores. Irrespective of which collection they come from, because they comprise a single genre, the fourteen sets will be referred to here simply as Concerts, each given their number in order of appearance.
More usually the upper stave contains only one line of melody, but it may also contain two. Nevertheless, on occasion — sometimes for single movements, sometimes for complete works — Couperin does indicate some preference in instrumentation, the viols being favourites. The Concerts are thus remarkable for the freedom of choice in the way of instrumentation, and on this score alone should be better known than they are to performers of baroque ensemble music.
While only one movement makes overt reference to Italy Courante italienne in the fourth Concert many of the characteristics of Italian music are woven into the overall style of the works; these Concerts remain, however, unquestionably the product of a French musical mind. As the expressive and rich ornamentation tends to hide these seminal sources, the three shapes marked a, b, c are set out separately from the melody in the next example. All that is missing is a text in which the repetition of complete verbal phrases is mirrored by melodic ones varied in rhythm and pitch.
It is a perfect example of the vocally-inspired French lyrical style translated into instrumental terms. Not every Concert commences with an air of such nobility, some opening movements Concerts Nos 2, 5, 9, 13 striking a far lighter note. But in all cases, the Preludes afforded Couperin the opportunity to draw out his lyrical gifts in forms far freer than those of the dance movements with their sectional structures and stylised rhythms. Moreover, to add to the confusion, it would seem that the allemande as ballroom dance and the allemande as instrumental piece parted company some time during the seventeenth century.
What characteristics the instrumental form may have acquired in France at this time very often disappeared entirely when transplanted to suites composed elsewhere, as in the trio sonatas of Corelli where one allemande is marked to be played grave and the next presto. One is forced to the conclusion that in such cases the composer merely applied the term to a movement in duple or quadruple time and which appeared fairly early in the order of dances in a suite or sonata.
In his Concerts, however, only one No. But what is even more striking in comparison with his keyboard movements is that more than half the allemandes in the Concerts take up a truly Corellian stance and, commencing with fugal entries, are far more like sonata than dance movements. The Italian corranto, originating in the sixteenth century, was a lively dance in triple metre commencing with an up-beat.
Couperin provides us with a classic example, its Italianism strengthened through the imitative entries at the beginning of each section Example 5. It is often quite ambiguous. This rhythmic ambiguity provides much of the fascination of the French version of the courante, as will be seen in the analysis of the rhythmic structures of the Courante from Concert No. Most of its movements with titles in French!
The sarabandes in Nos 3, 9 and 12 are very powerful works, while the forlane in No. With its bass drone sounding throughout, the latter is typical of the so-called musette in which a certain rustic simplicity is achieved through imitation of the little bagpipe of the same name. This gift for translating the picturesque into music is encountered time and time again, as, for example, in the Plainte from the tenth Concert. Plainte, Concert No. Its seven movements are entitled: Corelli at the foot of Parnassus asks the Muses to receive him. Charmed by the good reception given him at Parnassus, Corelli expresses his joy.
He continues his journey with those who are accompanying him. His companions continue on. After his exhilaration Corelli sleeps. The Muses awaken Corelli and place him next to Apollo. Thanksgiving from Corelli. Seemingly the very embodiment of Italian and French music of the time, the two composers were, however, not exact contemporaries, Lully belonging to a slightly earlier generation, Corelli outliving him by nearly thirty years.
Air for the same performers. The Descent of Apollo who comes to offer his violin to Lully and a place on Parnassus. The raising of Lully to Parnassus. Welcome — half friendly, half hostile — given to Lully by Corelli and the Italian Muses. Apollo persuades Lully and Corelli that the bringing together of French and Italian styles must create musical perfection.
Second Air Corelli playing the melody, Lully accompanying him. And yet, through its delicate scoring and exquisite ornamentation, the Lament that follows that movement conveys, in characteristically French fashion, so much through so seemingly little Example 5. The French Overture, invented by Lully and widely adopted by composers inside and outside France, traditionally commences in a majestic style proclaimed by strong, dotted rhythms, this giving way to a faster section which in the hands of Italian and German composers became the vehicle for vigorous fugal writing and instrumental display.
J J 8 Example 5. After this it is time not merely to juxtapose the two styles but to unite them, and the two airs which follow the overture accomplish this in a delightfully witty way. The music is a duet without continuo between Lully and Corelli. The Frenchman leads off with a terse fugue-like subject and, as though bowing in response to this most tactful opening gambit, Corelli replies with the same.
Example 5. The roles of melodist and accompanist are then reversed in the second air, and the key now being minor, Corelli can exploit something of the famous Italian pathos, this reaching its peak four bars from the end in a poignant chromatic chord — the so-called Neapolitan sixth see Example 5. This has not been reproduced in the examples. The answer is an emphatic no. It would seem that Lully was not drawn to the rich style of embellishment much in vogue in the Vingt-quatre violons du Roi at the time of his arrival from Florence, and when given his own orchestra the Petits violons he trained it to play in a clean and incisive way that became famous throughout Europe.
The style of ornamentation which we most usually associate with the French school sprang from the more intimate music of the salon — in lute airs and harpsichord suites. Couperin was the chamber musician par excellence, and his works inevitably exploited the subtle art of ornamentation, even in those pages of the present work where he invoked the grand presence of Lully. It is thus not a work in imitation, but a work in homage. Of the eleven copies that he possessed at his death only one has survived. That the composer decided not to have his full name displayed on the title-page, but only the letters F.
We have seen how in later life Couperin suffered from increasing ill-health and, if the works were written near the time of publication, he may have believed that this was to be his last work. In the event, it was not to be, for he published his fourth book of harpsichord pieces in They were composed for solo instrument accompanied by continuo harpsichord together with another bass viol and in a tradition inherited from his predecessors and developed by some of his contemporaries. That he felt that this tradition was essentially French is suggested by the fact that the two works are described as suites rather than sonades, and perhaps, most of all, because with the exception of two pieces in the second collection, they are dance movements rather than character pieces.
Its last great surge came towards the middle of the eighteenth century in the music of Jean-Baptiste Forqueray who composed some works of such technical complexity heavily weighted with Italianate harmony as to remove them from the hands of all but virtuosi. The great Marin Marais who had studied the instrument with Sainte-Colombe and composition with Lully was indeed as much a composer as a performer. As far as his works for bass viol are concerned they contain some of the masterpieces of French chamber music, such as the Tombeau de M.
The instrument that Couperin and his contemporaries wrote for comprised seven strings with a three-and-a half octave range from A below the bass clef sometimes tuned down to low G to e in the top space of the treble clef. As a solo instrument its wide range opened up eloquent expressive resources, as did its subtle bowing techniques. And, as with lute music, that for the bass viol was mainly composed by expert performers.
Dreyfus concludes: It is ironic that Couperin copied his harpsichord articulation into his viol pieces since all Baroque articulation originally stems — it can be argued — from the binary logic of bowing on stringed instruments, which can empirically distinguish weak bows from strong bows. Couperin is not thinking of this issue most of the time which is why he obtains such interesting musical results. What was common to them all, however, was their musical simplicity. Le som - re. Finally there are four trios, one of which Saisons du temps was published in as a vaudeville, a term which meant at that time a song in popular style.
It has all the heartiness of a drinking song without its characteristic text. The other three were unpublished until in the complete works. The opening of this piece up to the entry of the third voice is given below. R Mo -ment fa - tal! Quel mal - heur! Tout est perdu! They also suggest Titon du Tillet may have confused what he called a Concert de violes with the sonade La Sultanne sic which features two bass viol parts in addition to the continuo bass. Chapter 6 Works for Harpsichord To claim that Couperin is best known as a harpsichord composer is not at all to say that — beyond a handful of pieces — his music for the instrument is widely known.
In any case, it is highly doubtful whether, had this happened, it would have served the composer well, even though — as has been noted in an earlier chapter — Couperin himself was happy with his music being performed on a variety of instruments. The piano, however, does not readily lend itself to his harpsichord music. In any case, Couperin does not make it easy for the performer. The technical demands posed by the ornamentation alone are daunting, to say the least.
Exactly the same could, of course, be said about performing the music of the French harpsichord school as a whole. They did this, of course; but while the younger man was to make the art of harpsichord composition peculiarly his own, there are many individual works by the composers mentioned above which are in no way inferior to those of the more famous Couperin.
The difference between the two styles — measured and free — he declares, is like that between poetry and prose.
The family had acquired semi-noble status and enjoyed a manor home not far from the Couperins in Brie. The three appear to have later studied with him. According to Titon du Tillet, Louis Couperin was offered his position which, out of loyalty to the man to whom he owed so much, he refused to take.
This he passed on to his daughter Marguerite-Antoinette as he, too, became too ill to carry on his duties towards the end of his life. The company of the most illustrious French harpsichordists was, indeed, a small and enclosed world. They are also works for contemplation rather than dancing.
A number of them are provided with ornamental versions doubles and they established the distinctive character of the French harpsichord school. That this was based on the dance forms hardly needs emphasising. Above all, there is a sweet and intimate lyricism, gently ornamented, that catches something of that suppleness of rhythm that we have seen in the air de cour. An extract from a work by Louis Couperin is provided in Chapter 2 at Example 2.
One further illustration of his style at its most impressive is reproduced below. Example 6. Its wonderfully rhetorical expression is heightened by ornamentation of such sophistication and variety that with the publication a table of twenty-nine symbols was issued with instructions for how to interpret them. Before coming to his works themselves a few comments on the kind of instrument that they were written for may be helpful. The former denoted the harpsichord, the latter the keyboard section or manual of that instrument. Even with its possibilities for tonal nuances, unlike in Germany the clavichord was not popular with musicians in France.
They preferred the brilliance and richness of quillplucked strings to the gentle and intimate murmurs of an instrument whose tone was produced by the key-lever itself pressing on the string, offering the performer direct control over the tone. Most works for keyboard by Couperin can be played on it.
It differed from the harpsichord only by virtue of its shape, its strings running parallel to the keyboard instead of meeting it. Its restrictions were precisely those of a one-manual harpsichord, and therefore only those pieces which require two manuals and these are very few cannot be played on it. Thus, although Couperin refers almost always to harpsichord, most of what he says is applicable also to spinet.
This process of reconstruction, known in France as ravalement, so occupied the energies of the foremost French makers at the turn of the century — such as the Blanchet family — that this has been advanced as the main reason why so few actual Blanchet harpsichords have been located. Those that have are largely modelled on the Ruckers type with its sensitive action and brilliant, yet rich tone.
The two manuals could be coupled together by pulling the lower one out towards the player, thus engaging the mechanism. There are some pieces by Couperin where the player is instructed on the score to do the opposite i. The compass of the French instrument at this time was nearly four and a half octaves from G one and a half octaves below middle C to three octaves above middle C. During the eighteenth century ravalement was concerned very largely with reconstructing the keyboard to provide a full chromatic scale and to widen the range still further at either end. As far as tone and action were concerned the best earlier instruments were regarded as already having reached a state of perfection.
Having made tentative appearances in the third book C and D become quite common in the last It was within these boundaries that Couperin moved with apparent freedom, his works for the instrument exploiting almost every technical possibility afforded by the harpsichord. The French term suite, meaning a group or pairing of dances in the same key, has been traced back to the mid-sixteenth century and was gradually adopted in other countries. The two remaining books came out in Ordres 13—19 and Ordres 20— They thus cover a span of seventeen years, the last of the collections appearing two years before his death in It is an unpardonable negligence, especially since it is not at the discretion of the players to place such ornaments where they want them.
I declare, therefore, that my pieces must be played according to how I have marked them, and that they will never make a true impression on people of real taste unless played exactly as I have marked them, neither more nor less. His explanations were necessary, not because his ornaments were very different from those in use, but because there was no universal agreement about how they should be notated.
On the other hand, Couperin introduces what he describes as a suspension — delaying the sound of a note by imagining a rest at its beginning. Gaultier the Elder, for example, liberally sprinkled his lute dances with titles such as Courante des anges, La Superbe, La Pleureuse and so on, apparently also establishing the tradition of giving a feminine form to the descriptive word. More than anyone, Jane Clark has penetrated many of the mysteries surrounding the titles and in so doing has linked them very closely to the society in which Couperin moved see Chapter 1.
Much lies beneath the surface. Thus the seemingly innocent Soeur Monique 18th Ordre is a portrait of a woman of ill-repute. Yet, as Derek Connon has said: the communicative power of the music is undoubtedly increased by an understanding of the titles, particularly when so many turn out to indicate an ironic stance or hidden meaning, for, as well as adding an extra musical dimension, they may also clarify the implications of certain aspects of the music.
Yet whether truly programmatic or not, the very act of naming the pieces in the way he did betrays Couperin the Frenchman, the fanciful element in music traditionally having a strong appeal for the gallic mind. If the warbling of birds is sounded just once in the 1st Ordre Le Gazouillement it reappears in the 14th Ordre Le Rossignol en amour and Les Fauvettes plaintives.
The picturesque title alludes to the costumes dominos worn by guests at a masked ball. His appeals to Parliament succeeded on both occasions and he immortalised his victory in this satirical masterpiece. Those who belong to the ancient guild are parodied mercilessly in the next three acts: hurdy-gurdy players, jugglers, tumblers and acrobats in the company of bears and rnonkeys.
This two-part structure dominates all but two of the named dance movements: allemande, courante, sarabande, gavotte, gigue, menuet, canaries, passepied, rigaudon, sicilienne see Appendix F. Nevertheless, there are also many movements which owe little to dance tradition. The two dance movements not in the sectionalised A B form are the chaconne and passacaille passacaglia. No amount of analytical ingenuity can unravel the difference between them. A distinction was once made by Sebastien de Brossard suggesting that the passacaille was slower than the chaconne, its melody more tender, its expression more heightened and therefore almost always in the minor key.
Guide Harpsichord Pieces, Book 4, Suite 21, No La petetie Pince-sans-rire
As far as French music is concerned the terms must be regarded as interchangeable. What binds the chaconne and passacaille together is the invariable presence of a recurring set of harmonies in cycles of four or eight measures upon which variations both melodic and harmonic are based. In practice, there are very few chaconnes or passacailles in French music which employ a strict ground bass. In chaconnes and passacailles composed for dancing it was most unusual for the music of previous cycles to be recalled.
Its opening cycles are reproduced in the next example. Thus the majority of harpsichord pieces called chaconne or passacaille feature a refrain rondeau with intervening episodes couplets , retaining at the same time those other features noted above. However, as in La Favorite, Couperin changes its metre from triple to quadruple and employs the rondeau form. The great majority of pieces are in two-part A B form and the sectional rondeau of which there are some forty examples. Couperin turned to the rondeau particularly for more extended music, although there are also a number of very short rondeaux, including some with only one couplet.