Three and Four-Part Women's Polyphony
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I'm in the market for some accessible women's Latin polyphony, SSA or SSAA, for a small group. We've used some of the material in the Pius X hymnal and other items that have turned up over the years, but I'm hunting for more. Additional suggestions of sources beyond CPDL are welcome. I'm also happy to look at new works by (gasp!) living composers.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    I found this old collection in my books

    The Green Hill
    Three Part sacred Music for women's voices
    copiled by Katherine K. Davis
    Schirmer, 1940 (but renewed (curses) in 1968)
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,755

    any particular text? ordinary? a particular verse? etc.
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    I have used those tiny books, (I believe the CMAA has one on their website,) edited by Ravanello, transposed up an octave.
    And J Fischer had 3 or 4 collections called "Vade Mecum," also for male voices, and at least one of them is copyright '23,

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Many thanks. And of course, I've already downloaded the Ravanello.
  • richardUKrichardUK
    Posts: 75
    "Duo Seraphim" is an absolute gem by Victoria, suitable for Trinity Sunday. SSAA. Heard it sung recently by the Montserrat boys choir from Barcelona, and it was glorious. The words "sanctus, sanctus, sanctus" keep re-appearing to the same notes and sort of bind the piece together.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Thanks, Richard. It looks beautiful - and with very workable range both at the top and bottom. (One of the problems with many women's vocal arrangements is reliance on having a super-low alto. Often when one of these does turn up, she's a "boomer" who can't blend to save her life, which is immediately at risk because she will incite the other altos to thoughts of homicide.)
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    Mary Jane, move to an area that is heavily Slavic, you'll have female first tenors galore! (Not to mention terrific golubki and halushki at potlucks...)

    Save the Liturgy, Save the World!
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Ah, the legendary Eastern European alto! We had one at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral where I sang years ago. She was amazing. Her nickname was Moosa - and she looked the part. However, when she sang her annual solo on "God is with us" (name in Slavonic now forgotten), there wasn't a dry eye in the house. She also wept copiously while singing it.

    And you're right - the food was fantastic. After I became a Catholic, potlucks declined into store-bought stuff and occasional chicken.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,755
    Hi mj:

    I dug out one of the few SSA works I composed back in 1980 and am putting it out on the board for you. It's called Festive Alleluia. Can be performed a cappella or with any consort of instruments, or organ.
  • Stella611
    Posts: 108
    Mary Jane,
    Guerrero has a couple nice pieces that are SSSA, I did one for my senior recital last month called "Sancta et Immaculata". the third soprano part could easily be done by an alto/mezzo (I sang it), and the bottom part only goes to a low G, which should be fine for any alto. It's a beautiful piece about the Blessed Mother, You can find it through cpdl.
  • OlbashOlbash
    Posts: 310

    Have you ever looked through the "High Praises" books from Oxford University Press? There's some great stuff in there from many different genres for treble choirs. Also there are some great things by Treble Clef Press ( You'll have to dig for Latin polyphony, but you can find a few items, and you might find some other things along the way that interest you.
    Thanked by 1Mark Husey
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    Francis - right now, your Alleluia is happily looping on my computer. And when I have another 1st soprano with the right voice, we'll definitely bring it on board. Or I could replace that part with a recorder. It's really quite lovely as an electronic instrumental.

    Kimberly and Michael - I shall pursue your suggestions as well. What a blessing the Internet can be!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,755

    "I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!" [Jesus Christ]

    (my funny little commentary on silicon based units (computers) that sing His praise since the sacropop fanatics do not.)

    (Hint: that piece is composed in such a way that any voice can be sung in any octave. also my computer will instantly crank out any key, so it's very flexible)
  • Darcy
    Posts: 73
    I'm looking for accessible women's polyphony music too. It was helpful to find this thread, but just wondered if anyone has any more suggestions? Any more online gems, cpdl or other sources? That always helps, having no budget. :-) Thank you!
  • Darcy
    Posts: 73
    Beautiful. Is there permission to photocopy from the Moteca Trium Vocum? Can it be purchased as a pdf download?
  • The Summit Choirbook - if you do not already have it! A must have for any women's group.
    Thanked by 1Darcy
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,354
    CPDL - Sacred Motets in Latin

    Adoramus te (Oreste Ravanello)
    Adoramus te, Christe a 3 (Orlando di Lasso)
    Alle psallite cum luya (Anonymous)
    Angelus ad pastores ait (Claudio Monteverdi)
    Angelus ad pastores ait (Juan Blas de Castro)
    Assumpta est Maria (Gregor Aichinger)
    Ave maris stella (Edvard Grieg)
    Ave Regina coelorum (Sigismund Ritter von Neukomm)
    Benedictus (Jacob Handl)
    Benedictus sit Deus (Oreste Ravanello)
    Cantate Domino (Daniel Friderici)
    Confitemini Domino (Alessandro Costantini)
    Cor meum (Orlando di Lasso)
    Da pacem (Charles Gounod)
    Domine Jesu Christe (Melchor Robledo)
    Ego flos campi a 3 (Jacobus Clemens non Papa)
    Haec dies (Simone Stella)
    Hodie apparuit in Israel (Orlando di Lasso)
    Hodie Christus natus est (Claudio Monteverdi)
    Hodie nobis de coelo pax vera descendit (Alessandro Grandi)
    Improperium (Oreste Ravanello)
    In monte Oliveti (Anonymous)
    In quacumque die (Orlando di Lasso)
    Jesu Rex admirabilis (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina)
    Laudate pueri (Felix Mendelssohn)
    Laudate, pueri (Felix Mendelssohn)
    Lux aeterna (Amy Dunker)
    Magnificat (Marcos Castán)
    Monstra te esse Matrem (Tomás Luis de Victoria)
    O beatum virum (Giacomo Carissimi)
    O esca viatorum (Anonymous)
    O magnum mysterium (John J. Brackenborough)
    O salutaris hostia (Giovanni Battista Martini)
    O salutaris hostia (Pasquale Pisari)
    O Virgo splendens (Anonymous)
    O vos omnes (Giovanni Matteo Asola)
    Panis angelicus (Giuseppe Baini)
    Psallite Domino (Charles H. Giffen)
    Recordare Domine (Elzear Genet)
    Regina caeli (Anonymous)
    Salve Regina (Sigismund Ritter von Neukomm)
    Stabat Mater (Giuseppe Tartini)
    Sub tuum praesidium (Marc-Antoine Charpentier)
    Surgens Jesu (Claudio Monteverdi)
    Surrexit Pastor bonus (Pietro Vinci)
    Tanquam agnus (Tomás Luis de Victoria)
    Tantum ergo (Giuseppe Tartini)
    Tantum ergo, Op. 65, No. 2 (Gabriel Fauré)
    Te Deum laudamus (Antonio Sacchini)
    Tota pulchra (Angelina Figus)
    Ubi duo (Claudio Monteverdi)
    Veni Creator Spiritus (Juan Montes)
    Veni Domine, Op. 39, No. 1 (Felix Mendelssohn)
    Vere languores (Antonio Lotti)
    Veritas mea (Oreste Ravanello)
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,354
    CPDL - Sacred Motets in Latin

    Adoramus te, Christe (Paolo Agostini)
    Adoramus te, Christe, p.v. (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina)
    Adoramus te, Op. 37, No. 2 (Johannes Brahms)
    Alleluia (Fabio Fresi)
    Alleluia (Marcos Castán)
    Audivi: Media nocte (John Taverner)
    Ave Maria (Abel Di Marco)
    Ave Maria (Arie Fokkens)
    Ave Maria (Fabio Fresi)
    Ave Maria (Ramiro Real)
    Ave Maria (Tim Blickhan)
    Ave Maria, Op. 12 (Johannes Brahms)
    Ave verum corpus, KV 618 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
    Ave verum in D major (Camille Saint-Saëns)
    Benedicam Dominum (Giovanni Croce)
    Canticorum jubilo (George Frideric Handel)
    Christus factus est (Jacob Handl)
    Dicunt infantes (Jacob Handl)
    Domine, exaudi orationem meam (Antonio Cebrián)
    Drei geistliche Chöre, Op. 37 (Johannes Brahms)
    Duo Seraphim (Tomás Luis de Victoria)
    Exultate justi (Herman Hollander)
    Fortis cum quevis (Johannes Brassart)
    Gloria in excelsis Deo (John Sheppard)
    Laudamus te, O Christe (Johann Abraham Peter Schulz)
    O bone Jesu, Op. 37, No. 1 (Johannes Brahms)
    O Jesu mi dulcissime (Adam Krieger)
    O magnum mysterium (Cristóbal de Morales)
    O Regem caeli - Natus est nobis (Tomás Luis de Victoria)
    O Virtus Sapientiae (Hildegard von Bingen)
    Panis angelicus (Adrian Cuello)
    Panis angelicus (César Franck)
    Parce mihi, Domine (Cristóbal de Morales)
    Pater Noster (Franz Liszt)
    Pueri concinite (Jacob Handl)
    Pueri Hebraeorum (Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina)
    Regina Caeli (Ramiro Real)
    Regina coeli, Op. 37, No. 3 (Johannes Brahms)
    Salve Regina für SSAA (Johann Kaspar Aiblinger)
    Tantum ergo (Franz Liszt)
    Tota pulchra es (Ramiro Real)
    Virgo virginum praeclara (Fabio Fresi)
  • mahrt
    Posts: 510
    Several High Renaissance composers have pieces for equal voices, Victoria, Morales, Guerrero, Palestrina. As you suggest, the alto voice is quite low for women's voices, this is not true of all of these pieces. I have used several of these from the collected works of these composers.

    Conductus compositions from the thirteenth century are most often for three-part equal voices. Gordon Anderson's edition of Notre-Dame conductus has some wonderful pieces. If you would like me to send you photocopies of some of these, I can happily do it. Send me a note:
    Thanked by 2Darcy tomboysuze
  • Here is my website - sacred music for women's voices - has several pieces of polyphony, with links to the scores, and links to youtube recordings. : )
    Thanked by 2Darcy tomboysuze
  • TCJ
    Posts: 694
    It's funny how things work sometimes. Awhile ago, someone asked me to find some all-women polyphony, but I hadn't gotten around to it. Since I need to find some by mid-June, I decided the other day that I'd better start searching. What topic should jump to the top but this one on the same day I was thinking about it!

    Many thanks to CHGiffen for that long list for me to work my way through.
  • Darcy
    Posts: 73
    I greatly appreciate all the suggestions! This should keep me busy for a bit.
  • Loving this thread! Thanks MJ, and all!
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,621
    Laudate pueri:
    sacred music of the XVIth century for high voices ; being the first of the Northlands singing book, ed. Donald F. Tovey. London: Augener, 1910
    Oddly, there's no Google ebook, nor IMSLP, perhaps because there's a 1995 reprint. Latin polyphony 2-5 pts (mostly 3-4) for women.
    Thanked by 2Darcy tomboysuze