Catalog Archive
Auction 128, Lot 955

"[Manuscript Music]", Anon.

Subject: Music

Period: 1390 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

12 x 21.3 inches
30.5 x 54.1 cm
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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, five-line music on both sides. Written in black and red ink with large red and blue initials decorated in intricate filigree penwork.


Condition: B

The ink has oxidized and caused some cracking in the music notation. The vellum is still very sturdy and the cracks are confined only to the notes.

Estimate: $275 - $350

Sold for: $200

Closed on 5/20/2009