"[Antiphonal Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Manuscript Music
Period: 1500 (circa)
4 x 5.5 inches
10.2 x 14 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.
A very nice leaf from a small antiphony, a book used in divine services to sing the psalms. Usually these antiphonies are large books used by an entire choir. This leaf is from a personal book, used in a procession and therefore called a Processionary. It is written on a fine piece of vellum with black text. The staves are drawn in red ink and the notation is in black. There are two initials in red and black on the verso.
There is a tiny flaw in the vellum and a bit of smudging, else very good.