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Verbum caro factum est

14th C ?

A very pretty, very simple, medieval devotional song. There are several settings of these words: I think this one is from 14th-century Spain.

It works well with both men and women singing each line, women singing an octave higher than men. We often have only two people (one voice per line) sing each verse, and everyone sing the chorus.

We often pause briefly between verse and chorus.


The midi files above are in C (i.e. they start on the F below middle C for the "lower octave", or the F above middle C for the "upper octave").

Each one plays chorus-verse-chorus.

Sheet Music: 
  • Sheet music - C (pdf),(lilypond), (old pdf - smaller font) at orginal (?) pitch. Starts on F, written for tenor and bass. Women can sing an octave higher. This is the pitch we now sing at.
  • Sheet music - F (pdf),  a 4th higher than above - the pitch we used to sing at (women and men singing in same octave).

We experimented with having men and women sing it at the same pitch: starting on the B-flat immediately below middle C, the top line is low-but-comfortable for an alto (or stretchily high for a tenor) and the bottom line comfortable for a tenor, or a bit high for a bass (or stretchily low for an alto). This worked reasonably well for some voices, but not so well for others.

Note: we usually pause (for about a dotted minim - one beat / half a bar) at the end of the verse and the chorus, but not at the end of lines within the verse. See sound files below.

For now, we've moved the start-note back to F, to have men and women sing an octave apart, but with both men and women on each line.

any 2

Music Categories:


Upper part: an octave, D to D

Lower part: almost-an-octave, B-flat to A