Barless scores

In the course of performing Renaissance polyphony, the choir has come to realise that singing bar-free versions liberates the rhythms within and between the parts. It is easy for any choir to sing these pieces despite the lack of barlines, and once the choir is accustomed to it, its members find it frustrating to be given scores with barlines which are basically arbitrarily imposed on the polyphony and imply a rigidity of rhythm which is foreign to the idiom.

The pieces of music on this page can be downloaded and used by anyone. The selection here is determined by what the Embassy Singers have sung since we started singing bar-free polyphony in 2003.

Andrew Sims, the director, has written an article, 'Liberating Tudor music' explaining more about the background to these scores.

Please feel free to download and try out the following pieces with your choir:

Composer Title
Batten O sing joyfully
Bennet All creatures now
Byrd Mass for Four Voices Complete mass
Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Benedictus, Agnus Dei
Byrd Mass for Five Voices Complete mass
Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei
Byrd Alleluia! Cognoverunt discipuli
Byrd Ave verum corpus
Byrd Beati mundo corde
Byrd Ego sum panis vivus (D major)
Byrd Ego sum panis vivus (E flat major)
Byrd Ecce quam bonum
Byrd O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth
Farmer Take time
Gesualdo Dolcissima mia vita
Gesualdo Gelo ha Madonna il seno
Gesualdo Luci serene e chiare
Gesualdo Non mi toglia il ben mio
Gibbons Almighty and everlasting God
Gibbons Magnificat (Short Service)
Gibbons Nunc dimittis (Short Service)
Gibbons O clap your hands
Gibbons The Silver Swan
Lassus Deus qui bonum vinum
Morley In ev'ry place
Mundy My prime of youth
Mundy O Lord, the maker of all thing
Okeover Grant, we beseech thee
Philips Surgens Jesus
Tallis O ye tender babes
Tallis Salvator mundi
Tomkins When David heard
Victoria Missa O quam gloriosum
Victoria O quam gloriosum
Weelkes Hosanna to the Son of David

You are welcome to try out any or all of these. If you do, Andrew Sims, the director of the Embassy Singers, would be most interested to hear how you get on!