Original Fernie editions


The page contains the extensive volume of Maxwell’s original transcripts, as a single, digital collection (with thanks to John Foden). These are free for download and use, with attribution to maxwellfernie.com.

Realising that the modern printed versions of 16th Century polyphony did not aid authentic and fitting performance, maxwell rewrote them in a unique style of page layout for polyphony that was able to produce a result much closer to that originally intended.

As an example, modern layout included bar-lines that would “falsify the accentuation of the music, which was much freer in rhythm than music later became”, so Maxwell began to write the music without bar-lines, using the minim as the basis for notation (to encourage the singers to “think lengthwise”)  but allowing rests to remain (Palestrina did not use a symbol to indicate a rest). Max found that this helped attain a flexible, fluid style, and spent countless hours over many years editing and transcribing by hand all the music sung by his choirs.

Users can share, copy and distribute these transcriptions for personal use, with attribution to Maxwell Fernie including an acknowledgement to maxwellfernie.com (but not in a way that suggests we endorse you or your use of the work unless by prior agreement).