Mystery mediaeval music

Quiz of the Season. 

Thank you ladies and girls for the rendition of the Magnificat today. So, over half-way through Advent and just when you thought it was safe to open the mail, here’s a twister.

What is this early chant all about?

(I won’t ask if you can sing it)

Reno erat Rudolpho

Of course, after our Lenten chants you are all expert at reading neumes and square notation on this mediaeval four-line staff.

But just in case you do not sing this little number in the shower, and being a very helpful fellow, I now provide a series of (admittedly fairly useless) hints:

First, here’s the full text in case you can’t read it:

Reno erat Rudolphus / Nasum rubrum habebat;
Si quando hunc videbas, Hunc candere tu dicas.

Omnes tarandri alii / Semper hunc deridebant;
Cum misero Rudolpho / In ludis non ludebant.

V. Sanctus Nicholas dixit / Nocte nebulae,
“Rudolphe, naso claro / Nonne carum tu duces?”

Tum renores clamabant, / “Rudolphe, delectus es?
Cum naso rubro claro / Historia descendes!”

Reno illuminatedNext, you can listen to the music here>.  As experienced chanters by now, you will also be able to tell me what style of music this is.

Finally, it’s about a traditional Christmas theme, if you hadn’t guessed.

Enter your answer here, and say what style of music (or make a comment):

Hurry, only one more singing Sunday before Christmas.  Send in your answer quickly.

AFTER you have submitted your answer … OK or if you have already asked a teenager and you really give up (spoiler alert) read on …

The biggest hint of all.

This is what my Google Translate thinks it says:

Reno was Rudolph / Red Nose had;
Whenever he saw crow you say this.

All of the other reindeer / always laughed at him;
When I shall send Rudolph / In games do not played.

V. St. Nicholas said / night, clouds,
“Rudolph, nose and bright / Do not you dear leaders?”

The renores cried, / “Rudolph, you were chosen?
With bright red nose / story down! “


Thanks to Eric Witacre for sharing.

PS: there’s another music teaser on the Library page. Click here> and scroll right down 🙂

3 thoughts on “Mystery mediaeval music

  1. Surely it’s Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer?

    Rev Rachel Kronberger

    South Woden Uniting Church

  2. Got the bit about Rudolph but didn’t expect it had medieval roots so thought it was a trick and there were more biblical connections.

  3. Dal, you are closer than you think. It cannot be truly mediaeval since the tune, written in 1939, is woven through the chant.

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