Ave Maris Stella

For Vespers on May 19, we'll be singing a hymn first written in the Ninth Century, although some have claimed that it was written as early as the Sixth Century.  Ave Maris Stella is one of the most famous chanted hymns.  It speaks of Mary, the Star of the Sea, or the North Star, which guides sailors to stay on the right course.  In Latin, the lines are very simple, each with only six syllables.  The simplicity of the poetry allowed the music to use multiple notes on one syllable, which is called a melisma.  These melismas are what gave the melody its beauty and is what made it so well-loved.  We'll sing our version in English.

Here is a hand-copied cantor's book from the year 1312 showing the hymn using nearly the same tune as the version we'll be using (see further below):

Below is version that we'll sing:

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