Catalog Archive

Auction 125, Lot 907

"[Manuscript Music Sheet]", Anon.

Subject: Music

Period: 1350 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

11 x 16 inches
27.9 x 40.6 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.

From a 14th century Catholic Graduale, this large sheet of vellum has beautifully written manuscript, four-line music on both sides. Written in brown and red ink with one side having the entire side decorated in a red and blue initial.


Condition: B+

There is a little red ink smudging, else very good. The 'hair' side of the vellum is much darker than the verso, as is common with vellum manuscripts.

Estimate: $100 - $120

Sold for: $375

Closed on 9/24/2008