En el Vocabulario espanol-latino (1495?) (11) comienza por figura de tragos (figura); figura en gyiego (schema); figura de tres angulos (trygon); figurada cosa asi (trygonus, trygonalis); enumera las figuras hasta de diez angulos con sus nombres en latin; figura sin angulos o redonda (agonus); figura ahusada (pyramis); figurar (figuro, configuro); figurada cosa (figuratus
, typicus); figuradamente (figurate, typice).
Summorum autorum circinis, lineis, coloribus, & penicillis figuratus
. Londini, [ex officina]: Richardi Hearn, 43.
As Cerambyx figuratus
[Type locality "Carniola" (Slovenia)]
Other types envisaged are a ductus subtilis, when the orator insinuates something quite other than he is ostensibly arguing for, and a ductus figuratus or oblicus, when considerations of shame or fear hold him back from openly arguing his case.
Besides the four types of ductus mentioned in the text here (simplex, subtilis, figuratus, oblicus), both authors also mention a fifth, ductus mixtus, designating instances where the ductus of a speech does not remain constant throughout.
The official version of the Constitutions of the College of Singers was promulgated in 1545 and remained in force at least through the 18th century, but two partial and complementary versions from earlier in the 16th century survive, and I believe there is likely to have been little change in them since the mid-15th century if not earlier -- except in amounts of money, for the principal concerns of the Constitutions are fines on the one hand and bonuses on the other.(9) Out of some 60 chapters in the 1545 version, just three refer to musical items, and only one to composed polyphony, cantus figuratus
. This is the chapter on the death of a singer, where the responsory Libera me is to be sung at the grave side in cantu figurato.
His Mass O vos omnes, based on a motet by Compere, is the centrepiece of this recording--and a fine work it is, even though this performance by the soloists of Cantus Figuratus
does not quite do justice to its variety.