Treasures of The Library of Orfeó Català



Musical notation and liturgical practices from the Early Middle Ages to the 17th century are found in this selection, including old musical notations or plainsong books, which stand out in their organisation and origin.


12th century antiphonary

[Antiphonary. Passage]. [Mid 12th century].-- Manuscript [parchment]. -- 1 f. ; 21 x 12,5 cm (Ms. 11/1)

12th century antiphonary passage

This passage (the recto and verso of a writing sheet) of an antiphonary –a book which the chants of the Office are recorded for the temporale and the calendar of saints' days - contains the Gregorian melodies sung for the office of the second nocturne of Holy Saturday, the end of Holy Week and announces Easter; the resurrection of Christ. The responses are preceded by the letter R, and the verses, by a V in red ink, also used for initial letters and textual syllabication. These melodies are present in a dozen manuscripts contained in the Corpus antiphonalium officii. By virtue of the presence of the verse Lustris sex qui jam per actis given for the response Agnus Dei Christus, it is possible, thanks to the repertoire, to connect this fragment to a manuscript from Silos and another from Bénévent. Another verse, Et dabit impios pro sepultura relates it to a manuscript from Toledo.

The notation is in neumes, which indicates main vocal inflexions, and clearly belongs to the Aquitaine style of notation, which corresponds geographical to the area of Languedoc, and, chronologically with the spread of the order of Cluny to northern Spain at the end of the eleventh century. In this notation, the punctus is usually associated with more complex forms. Traces of ruled lines in dry-point (4 lines) can be seen as well as an f-clef.

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