"[Antiphonal Leaf]", Anon.
Period: 1270 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
10.8 x 14.5 inches
27.4 x 36.8 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 13th century Catholic Graduale, this sheet of vellum has beautifully written manuscript, four-line music on both sides. Written in black and red ink. The recto includes a large and very intricately drawn initial in red and blue. Smaller initials with red/blue and black/gold penwork are on the verso. This leaf was obviously well used over its more than 700 year lifetime, with a later manuscript black ink notation in the top margin of the recto.
There is a quaint sewn on patch at bottom, several worm holes and a small stain in the margin.