"[Antiphonal Leaf]", Anon.
Period: 1490 (circa)
13.1 x 17.2 inches
33.3 x 43.7 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.
A particularly nice vellum leaf containing eight staves of five-line music. Written in a fine hand with black, red, blue and gold ink. The recto is decorated with a two-stave initial "S" with superb penwork in red and blue and two smaller initials, one black and gold and the other red and blue. Verso contains three decorative initials.