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Cantus Firmus

Cantus Firmus is a publisher of scientific issues of Dutch music from the renaissance (c1420-1650).

At this moment it contents the works of Joannes Tollius, Petit Jan de Latre en Cornelis Padbrué.

Since the 1st of April 2017 you can order this music of Cantus Firmus via the webshop of the Royal Society for Music History of The Netherlands (KVNM).


The scientific quality is rooted in the preface and the verifiability of the transcriptions. The preface comes about on basis of scientific research and refers to relevant scientific literature; the transcriptions are shaped in such a way that specialized users are able to reconstruct the original notation easily, so that the choices of the editor do not necessarily lead to one and the same interpretation of the source. At the same time, the choices of the editor give sufficient grip to the interested laymen to come to a good and historically accurate performance.


- The full text is placed integral above the relevant part.

- In the transcription, the text is placed under the notes as accurately as possible, on the basis of the source. Where an indication for text repetition is used in the source, the result in the transcription is in italics. Editorial additions are placed between brackets. In some instances, next to the text underlayment that corresponds to the source, an alternative is given on the second line between brackets.

- When in the source the line is cut off, a vertical dash is placed in the transcription on the top line of the staff. When the new line is placed on the next page, a double dash is used.

- An asterix in the musical notation or in the text refers to the critical commentary.

- Accidentals that occur in the source are placed before the corresponding note in the transcription; accidentals that are absent in the source, but should be added according to the practice of those days are placed above the corresponding note; accidentals, absent in the source, of which it remains uncertain whether or not they should be sung, are placed above the notes between parentheses.

- Ligatures (combinations of two or more tones in one symbol) are indicated in the transcription by a square bracket (gesloten haak) above the notes concerned.

- Passages in ‘black notation’ (by which notes lose one third of their value) become a tuplet bracket (open haak) above the passage concerned.

- In the source no bar lines are used; in the transcription bar lines are added after every two semibreves. These bar lines do not cross the staff and notes that continue after the bar line are not split up into their respective parts, not even when the music continues on a new line. In some instances the bar line is not placed after two, but after three semibreves, to have the final cadence at a bar line. There is no musical value of such an action and the change of metre is therefore not indicated in the transcription.

- In this sort of transcription, the accidentals are used as in the contemporaneous musical notation: an accidental is only valid for the note before which it is placed and direct repetitions of it. Another note, a rest or sometimes even a comma in the text is enough to abolish the value of the accidental.