Period: 1480 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
11.4 x 15.9 inches
29 x 40.4 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 buttery leaf of vellum is from an antiphonary written in four-line music in brown and red ink with a large initial illuminated in red, blue, and burnished gold that extends into the margin. This leaf includes part of Psalm 5 and beginning with the large initial "I" on recto translates as:
Understand my cry, heed my voice in prayer,
my King and my God,
for to thee, Lord, shall I pray.
Light toning and soiling.