18 New Translations

As I mentioned earlier, I have been asked to create singable translations for all the pieces at St. Cecilia Press, and I am happy to be able to say that I have finished! (Or, at least, I’m caught up until Monique adds more pieces.)

My recent translations include 16 pieces to accompany Monique’s editions, plus two I’ve done just on my own initiative. 🙂 They are as follows: Continue reading

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Winter Holiday Songs

The reason I’ve been silent for the last month or so is that I’ve been finishing this:

A Collection of Winter Holiday Songs for Medieval & Renaissance Enthusiasts

It’s a big songbook of SCA-Period Christmas carols (and songs for other winter holidays). I’ve been working on it for 2-3 years, and I’m excited to have finally finished it.

The joy of singing holiday songs often comes from revisiting favorites, indulging in memories and joining in the ritual of singing familiar songs with others. I think that’s why many people don’t want to sing SCA-period carols: They want to sing their favorites, and they believe that none of their favorites are old enough to “count”. I hope this songbook will help show that there are plenty of pre-1600 holiday songs that are still popular today.

For example, did you know that the following songs are wholly or partially SCA-period?

  • O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  • O Tannenbaum
  • What Child Is This?
  • The First Nowell
  • Ding Dong Merrily on High
  • God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
  • Good Christian Men, Rejoice
  • Christ Was Born on Christmas Day
  • The Boar’s Head in Hand Bear I
  • Good King Wenceslas
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas

I’ve tried to include as many modern favorites as possible, but there are also lots of new songs, too! For more details about how I decided what to include, please read the Forward.

I hope people will find this helpful. As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me.

Here’s the link one more time.


A few things that I’ll fix the next time I update the pdf:

  • p. 28: A 2-voice version of “Veni, Veni Emanuel” was discovered by Mary Berry in the 1960s. I’ll include it in the next update. (Also, the second word in verse 2 shouldn’t be capitalized. Whoops!)
  • p. 37, 224, & 247: “Sloan” should be spelled “Sloane”.
  • p. 37: The missing sign for the D. S. al Fine belongs at measure 1, just after the pickup.
  • p. 97: Stella ducte lumine means “drawn by the star’s light”.
  • p. 103: I intended to capitalize the song’s title as “Dieux Soit en Cheste Maison”.
  • p. 197: “Sellenger’s Round” is found in My Ladye Nevells Booke of Virginal Music (1591) by William Byrd (c. 1540 – 1623).
  • p. 230: “Sellenger’s Round” appears in the 1687 edition of The English Dancing Master, not the 1651 edition. Also, the tune appears solidly within SCA Period in My Ladye Nevells Booke of Virginal Music (1591) by William Byrd (c. 1540 – 1623).

Note: For several songs, the popular form of the melody (which I have included) is somewhat modified from the original melody as published in period. One good example is page 120, where the modification and its source are noted in the Index but not in the main body of the book.

To add in the next edition: “Dives and Lazarus”

Miracles and the Cantigas de Santa Maria

I was recently made thoughtful by a video I watched about non-complementary behavior. Complementarity is a term used in social psychology to describe personal interactions. In essence, social psychologists have found that behavior tends to invite certain responses in others: Dominant behavior from one person leads to a submissive response from that person’s conversational partner; hostility prompts hostility; friendliness invites friendliness; etc. When people fail to respond in the expected way, they are behaving in a non-complementary fashion. The video I watched is about how responding to hostility with friendliness (not the expected reaction) can lead to positive results.

What struck me most about the video is that, when one of the people interviewed described the way his situation changed as “a miracle”, the narrator questioned his assessment. After explaining the idea of non-complementarity, she concluded, “The March in Selma? Nonviolence in India? Offering a man with a gun at your head a glass of French wine? Those aren’t miracles. They’re examples of non-complementary behavior.”

I was confused, indignant, and intrigued – because all of those things seem like miracles to me. Why would the narrator say that something can’t be a miracle if it also happens to be an example of non-complementary behavior?

The problem seems to be one of definitions: What counts as a miracle? Well, a miracle is something that exists or happens because of a supernatural power. But the narrator of the video seems to believe that a miracle must be something that surpasses normal human ability or defies the laws of physics. This is certainly a well-accepted understanding of the miraculous. Many people would not say that, for example, water boiling on the stove is a miracle – even if it did happen to be caused or inspired by a god or other supernatural entity – because it is normal and, we assume, would have happened even without divine intervention.

How different, I thought, from the view of miracles in the Cantigas de Santa Maria!

Continue reading