Sing and Glorify

Thomas Tallis

edited:Alistair Dixon

  Cat. 0028    
  Genre: Motet  
  Liturgical Use: Coronation  
  Vocal Disposition: SATBarB

  Price: £14.00 (score)
£14.00 (set of part books) (set of four part books)
(10 sets of four-part-books required for 40 singers)

Sing and Glorify is a contrafactum of Thomas Tallis' masterpiece Spem in Alium. At the time of its composition, Spem in Alium was without doubt the greatest musical achievement of its time and it is not surprising that it was decided to use the work, with new English words, for the corination of Prince Henry ("Harry") as prince of Wales in 1610. Following Harry's death (only two years later) the piece was again used at the Coronation of Prince Charles in 1616.

The earliest surviving manuscript of this great work, the Egerton manuscript, is laid out with the English words. In the manuscript Harry’s name is clearly written in each part – then crossed out and Charles’ name substituted. The English words are a new poem written as a syllable-for-syllable replacement fpr the original Latin. Evidently the authorities decided that musically Spem in Alium was fitting for such an impressive occasion as a coronation, but that the Latin words were too sombre.

The singers are grouped into eight choirs of five voices (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass) and were probably intended to stand in a horse-shoe shape. The piece begins with a single voice from the first choir and gradually the voices enter in imitation and the sound moves around the line from choir one to choir eight. During the fortieth breve, all forty voices enter simultaneously for a few bars, and then the process happens in reverse with the sound moving back from choir eight to choir one.

After another brief full section the choirs sing in pairs alternately throwing the sound across the space between them until finally all voices join for a full culmination to the work.


BL Edgerton 3512


Sing and glorify heaven’s high majesty,
Author of this blessed harmony;
Sound divine praises
with melodius graces;
This is the day, holy day, happy day,
For ever give it greeting, love and joy,
heart and voice meeting:
Live Henry princely and mighty,
Harry live in thy creation happy.

NB In the 1616 version Henry is substitutes with Charles and Harry live is substituted with Charles live long

Editorial Procedures and Conventions

Clefs and signatures: The original clefs and signatures are indicated in the prefatory staves.
Note values and barring:
Note values have been halved.
Transposition: Two versions are available. In the high pitch version for SSAATB the pitch has been raised by a tone. In the low pitch version for AATTBarB the pitch has been lowered by three semitones.
Voice designations and ranges:
The editorís voice designations are given after the prefatory staves. The ranges of each part are indicated at the pitch of the modern edition.
Accidentals given in the source are shown within the stave.
Accidentals which are implied by the rules of musica ficta are provided editorially above the notes.
Text and Underlay: Text underlay given explicitly in the source is shown in a normal typeface. Editorial interpolations are shown in an italic font. Latin spelling and punctuation have been standardised.
Variants: A list of variants between the seven sources is provided in the edition.

Click here to see low resolution versions of the first page:

Low pitch

High pitch

Click here to hear a midi file of the opening of the SSAATB version