"[Antiphonal Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Manuscript Music
Period: 1280 (circa)
15.2 x 21.6 inches
38.6 x 54.9 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.
The music is written six staves of four line music in black and red ink. Both sides include large initials in red or blue ink each decorated with delicate penwork. The verso is particularly nice with the addition of several Roman numerals in red and blue penwork.
Some minor water damage on verso and marginal stain and abrasion of text on rector. There is also a small hole in the bottom margin, evidently a flaw in the vellum.