"[Antiphonal Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Manuscript Music
Period: 1500 (circa)
15.5 x 20.5 inches
39.4 x 52.1 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 large sheet of vellum containing the text of a Gradual. It is boldly written in black ink with numerous red and blue initials on both sides. The verso is particularly graphic with a superb three-line "D" filled with intricate designs and filigree penwork in the margin.
Some discoloration in blank margins and bottom corner is well worn from page turning.