O Esca Viatorum (1549)

  Genevan Psalm CX (1551)

  Bourgeois (1551)


BOURGEOIS Loys (1510/15-1560/61)

French composer. One of the first composers to set psalm translations by the poet Marot, he assisted Calvin by publishing in 1547 a volume of simple psalm settings for congregational use. He established the final forms of a number of tunes and introduced the idea of displaying the numbers of the psalms to be sung on a board in the church. He also published more elaborate and chanson-like psalm-settings suitable for private devotions.

Bourgeois, as a singer at the churches of St Pierre and St Gervais in Geneva, taught the choristers to lead congregational singing according to the monophonic Calvinistic Psalter. His book of psalm tunes (1551) proved highly unpopular with the Geneva council, who claimed that the new melodies confused congregations. Bourgeois was imprisoned, but was released the next day on the intercession of Calvin. In August 1552 he took leave to visit Lyons and did not return. By 1560 he had moved to Paris. Bourgeois is chiefly known for his Calvinistic psalm settings, in which he adapted popular chansons and Latin hymns as well as composing new melodies for translations by Marot and Beza. He also wrote Le droict chemin de musique (1550), the first didactic manual in French dealing with singing and sight reading. In this he introduced the concept of solfège and advocated a simplified system of music theory and practice.

( - (