"[Manuscript Music Sheet]", Anon.
Period: 1370 (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.
This is a very fine vellum manuscript from a 14th century Catholic Graduale. The large sheet is beautifully written in brown and red ink with four-line music on both sides. The large decorated initial on the recto is a fine example of the penwork and illumination that was popular during this period.