"[Antiphonal Leaf]", Anon.
Period: 1280 (circa)
15 x 21.5 inches
38.1 x 54.6 cm
The origins of liturgical music traditionally date back to St. Gregory the Great (d. 604), who was inspired by the Holy Dove to record the principles of 'Gregorian' chant. The Gradual contained the musical parts of the Missal and was sung from the steps (gradus) of the altar. The Antiphoner contained the musical sections of the Breviary. These terms have become interchangeable in modern times. Because of their size and complexity, these manuscripts were still being handmade in the traditional way for centuries after the introduction of printing. They were boldly hand-written and illuminated on large sheets of sturdy vellum so that the entire choir could read from one book.
This is a very early sheet of music originating in Bologna, Italy. It is composed of four-line music on a large sturdy sheet of vellum. Written in red and black ink with decorative initials on each side. The recto includes a beautiful initial "E" delicately hand-painted in dark purple, orange, blue, white and gold.
Minor abrasion of the illuminated initial. Remnants of hinge tape at top.