Despite its later use by Richafort, Josquin’s Faulte d’argent
is far less musically lugubrious than Nymphes, nappés
, underlining its parodic tone. The opening intertwines the contratenor and bassus voices in a closely imitative duet, while the discantus and tenor follow after four-and-a-half breves. Although their melodic material is the same in essence as the two preceding voices, the second duet imitates much more loosely, at a distance of three semibreves rather than a single minim. The tenor is in canon with an unnotated quinta pars (the singer would simply use the tenor’s music, applying a lower clef and beginning when the tenor arrives at a marked point), which follows three breves later at the lower fifth, so that the full five-voice texture is not heard until the tenth breve of the chanson (which lasts only 72 breves in total). This canonic structure determines the later interaction of the voices, providing a form of call-and-response texture as upper voices accompany the tenor, and lower ones the quinta pars. The final line (‘Femme qui dort …’) reprises the music of the opening.
from notes by Stephen Rice © 2012