The considerations of pitch, key, and transposition outlined in the preceding pages have opened up new possibilities for the reconstruction of the instrumental parts included in my edition, enabling the fragmentary source materials to be adapted for instrumental use with minimum editorial intervention. This is in contrast to the solution offered by Ian Payne, where considerable changes and additions to the parts, plus the re-designation of the top voice as the cornett line were implemented in order to render instrumental lines that functioned within the un-transposed score.1 Instead, at least in Loosemore’s Verse, a relatively straightforward process of assigning individual lines of the organ part to each instrument, when working with a transposed score, brings satisfactory musical results. The sackbut takes the bass line, the cornett the alto voice, and the violin the top voice, reflecting the order in which Loosemore lists the instruments in the title of his piece, and the order in which we might expect to find these instruments in continental repertoire.2 Figure 4 shows how this applies to the opening of Loosemore’s Verse, with coloured highlights showing the parts I have assigned to each instrument.


Once I had established the parameters of this approach in Loosemore’s piece, I turned to the Coprario Verse, an altogether more challenging prospect musically, given the static harmonies, long phrases, and bold use of dissonance that characterise Coprario’s writing in this instance. The instrumentation as listed in the title suggests that the cornett might take the top line of the organ part and the sackbut the bottom, but with an upwards transposition of a fourth, this would make an anachronistically high part for the cornett (whilst still neatly fitting the range of the St Teilo organ, as orange highlights in Figure 5 show).


An alternative solution is therefore required. Examination of Coprario’s writing for strings in a similar idiom to his Verse shows that the melody instrument part is often an amalgam of all three top voices in a predominantly four-voice texture, with material being taken mainly from the middle two voices, either at pitch or in octaves, to render the instrumental part (see Figure 6. Orange highlights show where the melody instrument part appears in the top voice of the organ, and green highlights show where the melody instrument part appears in the inner voices).


This approach is corroborated by the cornett writing in Hingeston’s Fantasia: for one Cornet, Sagbott and organ, in which the organ and upper instrumental parts cross frequently (see Figure 7, where the melody instrument part is marked as above), and in which organ counter-melody is a clear feature of writing for this ensemble (see purple highlights in Figure 7).3 The bass instrument lines in the fantasia-suites of both Coprario and Hingeston are almost exact transcriptions of the organ bass line, with the addition of occasional rests and rhythmic alteration to maintain a point of imitation, and this is the approach adopted here (see blue highlights in Figure 8).


I therefore reconstructed the cornett part for Coprario’s Verse from material found in all three upper organ lines, taking care to maintain a sense of duo writing with the bass part to create a line that makes pragmatic musical sense. I offer this part here as a suggested interpretation of these highly fragmentary materials, but invite the performer to refer to the organ score and come to their own conclusions should they wish.


In direct response to the findings of practice-led research, my published edition is designed to reflect the historical performance context in which Loosemore and Coprario’s verses may be situated, and to be useful in a wide variety of modern performance scenarios. Materials are therefore provided in the following key and pitch combinations:



  • A fifth higher than written pitch. For use with non-transposing organs where the instruments and organ are at the same pitch. In a performance at a'=440 this would approximate the original sounding pitch, based on current understanding.
  • A fourth higher than written pitch. For use with non-transposing organs where the instruments and the organ are one tone apart, for example with an organ at a'=490 and instruments at a'=440, or an organ at a'=466 and instruments at a'=415.
  • At written pitch. For use with English transposing organs, including digital reconstructions, with solo instruments whose absolute pitch is one tone below the organ, for example, an organ in F at a'=490 and instruments at a'=440 (the ‘Christ Church scenario’).



  • A fifth higher than notated in the organ part, for use with instruments at the same pitch as the organ. Alternatively, these parts can be used with an organ one tone higher and played as written to achieve the tone-up transposition required.
  • A fourth higher than notated in the organ part, for use with solo instruments pitched one tone lower than the organ and transposing up at sight.

Figure 8: John Coprario, Fantasia for Violin, Bass Viol and Organ (MB46, 98a), bb. 20–27.

6. Editorial representation of research

Figure 4: Henry Loosemore, A Verse for ye Organ, a Sagbot, Cornute & Violin, bb. 1–3, MS Drexel 5469, p. 202.

Figure 5: John Coprario, A Verse for the Organ, a Sagbot & Cornute, bb. 16–19 and bb. 36–37, MS Drexel 5469, p. 200–1. Highest and lowest passages for organ highlighted in orange.

Figure 6: John Coprario, Fantasia for Violin, Bass Viol and Organ (MB46, 98a), bb. 12–19. 

Figure 7: John Hingeston, Fantasia: for one Cornet, Sagbott and OrganGB-Ob MSS Mus Sch E.382, pp.152–153 (Organ); GB-Ob MSS Mus Sch D. 205, pp. 48–49 (Cornett); GB-Ob MSS Mus Sch D. 211, pp. 25–26 (Sackbut).