Of Dyverse Mynstralsye  /  Paul Butler Consort

Medieval and Renaissance music for harp and various instruments

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Paul Butler / Whiteraven


1. Los Sept Goyts Estampie  [2:35]   LV  5
Composed by Al Cofrin based on the vocal piece Los Sept Goyts from the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, ca. 1300.
bray harp, treble vielle, vielle, soprano recorder, djembe, drum, tamborine

2. Dehors Lonc Pre  [3:06]
Anonymous 13th c. Trouvere piece.
folk harp, alto recorder

3. Amoroso  [2:38]
Anonymous 15th c. Italian.
bray harp

4. Ja nus hon pris / A l'entrant d'este  [5:04]
Richard Coeur de Lion / Blondel de Nesle, late 12th c.
Supposedly written by Richard I of England while he was in prison in Germany 1192-1194, decrying his sad state. Blondel is attributed legendarily with finding the imprisoned King and spreading the word of his state.
bray harp, vocals, tenor cornamuse

5. Cantiga 48: Tanto son da groriosa  [1:49]   CSM  48
Alfonso X (Spanish 13th c.).
One of the over 400 Cantigas de Santa Maria, a huge collection of songs, both secular and sacred, assembled by King Alfonso X in the mid 13th century.
bray harp

6. Dawn Song  [4:27]
Lyrics from Betran D'Alamanon or Gaucelm Faidit (13th c. French), music adapted from a 13th c. anonymous motet.
The original title is Us cavaliers si jazia. English translation based on Willard R. Trask from his text Medieval Lyrics of Europe.
folk harp, vocals, treble vielle

7. Sheebeg and Sheemore  [1:21]
Turlough O'Carolan, ca. 1692.
You can't have a harp album without the Irish master. Supposedly this was the first piece he composed after he had gone blind and was trying to become a bard.
folk harp

8. Douce Dame Jolie  [3:41]
Guillaume de Machaut (14th c. French).
An almost near eastern arrangement of this normally sedate and lovely piece. Machaut is perhaps the most famous of the 14th. Century composers.
bray harp, djembe, drum, tamborine, soprano, alto & tenor cornamuse

9. Three Northern Tunes  [4:11]
Schottis från Idre, Reinlander, Ti-ti-ty
Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish traditional.
Based on several tunes and their arrangments heard on Beth Kolle's harp album The Northern Folk Harp, which I highly recommend.
folk harp, treble vielle

10. Spagnoletta  [2:06]
Either Michael Praetorius (1612) or Pierre Francisque Caroubel (ca. 1600).
And I always thought this was a Spanish piece.
bray harp

11. Annachie Gordon  [7:58]
Traditional Scottish / Child Ballad #239.
Based on Loreena McKennitt's variant from her album Elemental.
Possibly the first full song I learned on harp.
folk harp, vocals

12. Rostiboli Gioioso  [4:21]
Guglielmo Ebreo (15th c. Italian).
This slightly odd version of the dance comes from a unique french manuscript that writes out the improvisations done above the tenor. The regular dance may be done to it.
treble vielle, folk harp, cornamuse

13. Harper's Air  [2:51]
Air to D'amberville
Paul Butler.
Written as a tribute to Donald Snow, else known as Gaston D'Amberville, after his passing. He had just taken up the harp beforehand.
folk harp, tenor recorder

14. Susato Trio  [3:38]
Ronde Mon Amy, Allemande, Ronde Warum
Tielman Susato (16th c. Flemish).
Based on pioneer early harpist Elena Polonska's grouping. Susato was one of the most prolific Renaissance publishers of part secular music.
folk harp, alto recorder

15. Jouyssance / Tourdion  [2:45]
Thoinot Arbeau (French 1589).
One of my general favorites, normally done more elaborately than this, but I wanted to try one solo on the tenor vielle.

16. Fortune My Foe  [2:19]
William Byrd (English 1539-1623).
William Byrd was Queen Elizabeth I's court composer. This was one of his most popular pieces.
bray harp, vocals, soprano, alto & tenor recorder

17. Agincourt Carol / La route au Beziers  [4:58]
Anonymous 15th c. English / French Traditional
Based on the variant performed by Maddy Prior and June Tabor. Celebrates the famous battle where Henry V of England routed the French army in 1415.
vielle, vocals, djembe, drum, zills, soprano & tenor cornamuse

Paul Butler

All instruments and vocals performed by Paul Butler.
All tracks recorded, mixed and mastered by Paul Butler
except Track 11, recorded, mixed and mastered by Alfred Goodrich at Silvertone Studios in Ardmore, PA.
Additional mastering done by Alfred Goodrich at Silvertone.
℗ 2004 Paul Butler All rights reserved.

Of Dyverse Mynstralsye is a collection of medieval, renaissance and early folk music featuring the harp, but including performances on vielle, recorder, percussion and voice. The title of the album comes from a quote from Sir Cleges (Middle English Lay) that I encountered when doing research on the citole:

"And as he walkyd uppe and done, sore sygheng, he herd a sowne
Of dyverse mynstralsye, of trumpers, pypers, and nakerners,
Of herpers notys and gytherners, of sytall and of sautrey.
Many carrals and grete dansyng in every syde herd he syng,
In every place, treuly."

Paul Butler

Instruments used in the Recording

22-string gothic bray harp
by George Stevens in ash wood.

Part of "buzzy" sound very popular in the medieval and renaissance period.
The strings are anchored by "L" shaped pins that brush them lightly, creating a buzzing drone beyond the note of the string.
The frame and soundbox are very small and narrow (compare to the folk harp below), so normally they aren't as loud as the modern harps.
But the buzz creates a louder, more piercing tone, so this little harp can actually be heard over the larger folk one.

Acquired from the Early Music Shop in England.

26-string folk harp
by Dusty Strings.

This one was made in 1991.
It has an unusually rich sound for a Dusty of its size, fuller than most of the FH26's I've tinkered with in the last couple of years. Could be a fluke (I'm known for finding the fluky good instument), could be that the laminates used now are not as clean as the ones used then, or that the slight design changes have made that much difference.
Whatever the case, this one shows no signs of aging (or soundboard warping), and I'm happy with it!

Discovered at the Bucks County Folk Music Store.

• Kobliczek Praetorius soprano recorder in maple (a late renaissance wide bore),
the little dark one in the center.

• Mollenhauer Kynsecker g-alto recorder in pear (a late renaissance wide bore),
the lighter colored one on the left.

• Koch neo-renaissance tenor recorder in rosewood (wide bore but with a modern profile),
the long dark one on the right.

The soprano and tenor were acquired as used instruments from the Early Music Shop in England.
The Koch is at least 40 years old, as he passed in the 1960's.
The Kobliczek is only a couple of years old. The Kynsecker I won on eBay, a useful source for finding early instruments if you know what you're looking for.

• RWC soprano cornamuse (kit-built)
(the cornamuse is a capped double-reed instrument, similar to a bagpipe chanter played without the bag. They are part of the popular medieval/renaissance "buzzy" sound.)
This is small dark one in the center.

• Korber alto cornamuse.
The medium toned one on the right.

• RWC tenor cornamuse (kit-built).
The light one on the left.

The soprano and tenor were acquired as kits from the Early Music Shop in England.
The alto was acquired used from EMS, and is also fairly old - I'd guess from the 1970's.
On the bottom of this picture is my soprano crumhorn, also a kit from EMS. It wasn't used for this recording, but is usually grouped with these instruments, so I stuck it in.

• 4-string treble vielle
by Marco Salerno, in style of 15th century.
Presently tuned more or less like a modern violin, and about as large, though not as loud. Acquired, like most of my instruments, from the Early Music Shop in England after playing every vielle they had in the shop, practically.

• 5-string Memling vielle by Bernard Ellis.
Ellis passed several years ago, and I had lamented not being able to acquire one of his fine instruments, when lo and behold, a used one came up in EMS! So I was able to acquire this older one (from the 1980's). This is modeled after the painting by Hans Memling of an Angel playing this vielle, from about 1450.

Vielles are one of the precursors to the modern violin. They have almost guitar-shaped deep bodies without soundposts, strung with natural gut (spun sheep's intestine - mmmm, tasty!) tuned in open chords, and are sometimes fretted. The Memling fiddle used here is fretted, the treble one is not. They are played at the shoulder, but with a shorter, arced bow that weighs functionally nothing and is strung with natural (black) horsehair.

djembe by Remo, blue thing on the right
• buffalo drum by Remo (affectionately known as the "boom drum" for its deep, really loud resonance despite its smaller size), the larger white round one in back
• renaissance side drum, the tan drum on left
tamborine pair - mostly the black EYE tamborine of unknown maker, or the smaller mid-east manufacture one with it.
zills - affectionately known as "the dingers" are the miniature cymbols front center.

These came from all over. The djembe and tamborine came from Sam Ash, the buffalo drum from the Maryland Renaissance Faire, and I think the zills came from a near Eastern shop in Collingswood, but I honestly don't remember. The side drum was, you guessed it, a kit from the Early Music Shop in England. No, I don't live anywhere near them. Thank god, otherwise I'd have no money left at all...

vocals by me!

This picture from the Maryland Renaissance Faire.

Paul Butler