The Lost Voices Project

Companion resource to Les livres de Chansons Nouvelles de Nicolas Du Chemin (1549–1568), hosted by the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours, France

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Focusing on a neglected but important repertory of polyphonic songs from mid-sixteenth-century France, this unique project puts old books before a diverse audience of modern scholars and musicians in ways that will prompt renewed understanding of these cultural artifacts and their meanings. It is dedicated to sixteen sets of books expertly crafted by the Parisian printer Nicolas Du Chemin between 1549 and 1568. In them, we can trace changing literary tastes, musical fashions, and above all the impact of the relatively new medium of printing on musical culture of the day.

Here readers will find facsimiles of all sixteen sets of books, plus modern transcriptions, scholarly commentaries, and tools for research. There are also links to related projects sponsored by the CESR, including a broader database of the sixteenth-century chanson repertory, a project devoted to the reconstruction of pieces with missing voice parts, and another devoted to the study and editing of the literary texts of the chansons themselves. All of this has been assembled under a number of headings designed to encourage researchers, students, and performers to explore the rich world of the chanson at mid century. We invite readers to make productive use of these resources, and to tell us about what you have learned from them.

Learn more about the Lost Voices Project in our Editor's Forum, where you can view and download our 150-page Thesaurus of contrapuntal devices and Dossier that explains our methods for style analysis and reconstruction. Here you can also find reports on various workshops we've held in Haverford and Tours, along with instructions on how to run your own classroom or workshop sessions using our materials.

These are open-source projects. They make use of a number of digital technologies, for the coordination of various materials, including Django (digital framework), Solr indexing system, Music Encoding Initiative standards (for the encoding of musical notation), and VexFlow (for the representation of musical notation in html5). We are especially grateful to Richard Lewis at Goldsmith's College, University of London for the initial development of this resource.

Code Repositories can be found via our Editor's Forum, including

We will be happy to provide advice on our methods and tools. All materials produced by the project team are available according to the terms of the Creative Commons license Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivative Works 3.0 Unported.