Composer: Orlande de Lassus (1532?-1594)

Piece: Bon jour mon coer

Date: 1564

Form: Chanson

Setting: Four voice (SATB)

Texture: Predominantly homophonic with some polyphony near the end

The chanson Bon jour mon coer, on a poem by Ronsard, has the singer greeting his beloved with a series of endearments. The use of four voices, soprano, alto, tenor, bass, was becoming standard practice for vocal compositions of this time. The piece opens in a chordal, homophonic style that seems simple
but is marked by many subtleties in the treatment of the text.

First, the opening lines alternate between phrases of two and three measures, with the chords on the first phrase giving way to a more contrapuntal style on the one that follows; such as “ma douce vie” (my sweet life) and “ma chere amie” (my dear friend). In addition, the chordal setting of one note to a syllable is stretched out with short melismas on key words such as “vie” and “amie”. Lassus makes the text clear by having all the voices sing the same syllable at the same time. Finally, the declamatory style of the second section adds a further contrast as does the purely polyphonic sections toward the end.