65 folios on parchment, modern foliation in pencil, top outer corner, recto (collation, i8 [-1, with loss of text] ii-v8 vi8 [3, f. 42, and 6, f. 45, single] vii8 viii6 [1, f. 56, and 6, f. 61, single] ix2 [-2, following f. 62, cancelled] x4[-4, cancelled]), no catchwords or signatures, ruled in lead, usually with the top and bottom horizontal lines full across, or with the top, third, penultimate and bottom lines full across, single full-length vertical bounding lines, prickings remain, top, and on many folios, outer margins, sometimes with two rows, as ff. 41-46, (justification, 130-132 x 98-95 mm.), written below the top line in a gothic bookhand in twenty long lines; music on five-line staves ruled in brown ink, with one line in red, in hufnagel notation, red rubrics, majuscules within text stroked with red, one- to three-line red initials, numerous black initials at the beginning of musical staves with delicate pen decoration in back, often with faces in profile, with red highlights, in sound condition, ff. 1 and 65 are missing portions of bottom margin, ff. 1-4, darkened, and with water stains in outer margins, many other leaves are darkened in the outer margins from use, with no loss of text. Bound in eighteenth- or early-nineteenth century vellum over pasteboard, sewn on four bands, in very good condition, with slight tear, upper board, and with letters scratched into the covers, upper board: “R” or “B,” lower board, “A 88” (presumably meaningless, but possibly a shelfmark). Dimensions 200 x 145 mm.
This manuscript includes the essential texts needed for a member of a religious community to perform his duties in the Choir. Its small format and relatively plain, functional appearance (enlivened by the superb and playful calligraphic initials at the beginning of musical texts) suggest that it was a personal book. Texts for the Office of the Dead, the funeral service of a priest, and the Ferial Psalter include on five line staves the distinctively German form of musical notation, known as “hufnagel,” or horseshoe nail, because of its characteristic shape.
1. The manuscript can be dated on the basis of its script and decoration to the second quarter of the fifteenth century; its script, decoration, and the use of hufnagel notation support an origin in Germany. As a general rule, music with a five-line stave dates after 1500, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule. The red line used here is an archaic feature; the earliest notation associated with Guido of Arezzo, called for a yellow C-line and a red F-line; our ms retains the red F-line, a feature that is more common in Germany. The cadel initials enjoy a long use and appear already in the fourteenth century, continuing to the early sixteenth. One dated manuscript that is strikingly similar in script and decoration was made in the Benedictine monastery of St. Lawrence at Liege, dated 1428 (compare Manuscrits datés, no. 162).
The responses to the readings in this Office of the Dead are not listed in Ottosen, 1993. They are, however, of interest, and seem to be related to a series Ottosen has identified in a small number of manuscripts from the diocese of Cologne and the chapter of St. Andrews in Cologne (discussed in detail below), and it therefore seems likely that this it was copied in the diocese of Cologne, or somewhere with a strong relationship to the diocese. The Office of the Virgin also appears to be one that has not been published, but it is certainly from Germany, and has some relationship to the use found in manuscripts from houses of Premonstratensian canons.
This manuscript was copied for a cleric for use in Choir. The text of the Ferial Psalter suggests that it was used by secular priests, such as members of a Cathedral chapter, or by Premonstratensian or Augustinian Canons.
2. The manuscript was used over a fairly long period of time, as evidence by the darkened folios, and dirty margins; contemporary corrections include erasures, for example, ff. 21v, and 22v, and a prayer marked “vacat” on f. 25v; this hand also supplied omissions, including musical notation, for example, ff. 8 and 18; the last leaf includes a text added to the manuscript in the later fifteenth century.
3. “Officio mortuorum,” in pencil, in a modern hand, inside front cover; “3T4CJ,” in pencil, inside back cover.
ff. 1-22v, incipit, “//custodit israhel. Dominus cutodit te dominus …”;
Office of the Dead with noted antiphons, responses, and versicles, beginning imperfectly with Psalm 120:4 (Vespers, missing Psalms 114, 119, and the beginning of Psalm 120); matins, begins f. 2v, with Psalm 5.
The responses to the readings in this Office of the Dead are not listed in Ottosen, 1993; they are, however, of interest, and seem to be related to a series Ottosen has identified in a small number of manuscripts from the diocese of Cologne and the chapter of St. Andrews in Cologne, although the texts in this manuscript includes different responses in the second nocturn (See Ottosen, pp. 164-5, and pp. 315-16). Our manuscript includes the following responses, listed according to Ottosen’s numbers: 14-72-79, 32-57-24, 68-82-38. The Cologne manuscripts in Ottosen include: 14-72-79, 24-32-46, 68-82-18 [or 38]. The probability that this relationship is in fact meaningful is increased because these responses are unusual and found almost exclusively in this group of manuscripts from Cologne. Moreover, both the manuscript described here and the Cologne manuscripts studied by Ottosen share the same readings for the Office of the Dead, identified as group ix by Ottosen (see Ottosen, pp. 85-87, and pp. 315-16; the two Spanish manuscripts with responses similar to the Cologne group, do not include this group of readings).
ff. 22v-25v, Iste lectiones inferius notate legende sunt in quadragesima, incipit, “Parce mihi domine nichil enim sunt dies mei …”;
Alternate lessons for the Office of the Dead for Lent (the responses are the same as those in the preceding text); not noted; the readings agree with those listed in Ottosen, pp. 53-72, group one, with a final reading not listed in Ottosen, incipit,“Nunc quoque in amaritudinem …”;
ff. 25v-35v, Incipit commendatio defunctorum, incipit, “Omnipotentis dei misericordiam karissimi deprecemur …”;
Psalms and prayers in commemoration of the dead; not noted.
ff. 36-44v, Ista lectio scilicet quando celebramus legetur pro nona lectione in exequiis presbiteri et correspondebit ei responsus, Libera me domine cum versibus superius notatus, incipit, “Quando celebramus diem fratrum defunctorum …,” f. 36rv, Mortuo sacerdote sero dum funus fertur ad ecclesiam cantabitur responsus, Libera me domine, et tunc cantabuntur vigilie usque ad laudem sed post magnificat cantabitur in mediate inuitatorium circumdederunt cum psalmos venite. …, f. 39, Collecta, incipit, “Presta quesumus omnipotens deus ut anima famuli tui sacerdotis N. …”;
Noted services for the funeral of a priest, beginning with an alternate reading at Matins for the Office of the Dead from a Sermon by St. Augustine (Sermon 173, ed. PL 38:937-9); the funeral service includes, ff. 39-44v, readings from the Gospels, Luke 1:5-17, Luke 3:1-6 [identified in the rubric as Mark], Matthew 1:1-16, and John 1:1-14, each followed by a noted response and a collect (not noted).
ff. 45-59v, Noted Ferial Psalter;
The texts necessary for the observance of the Divine Office in choir, beginning with matins on Sunday, followed by lauds, and then continuing with Matins and Lauds for the remainder of the week; Vespers begins on f. 55v, and Prime, Terce, Sext and None on f. 59. Antiphons (noted) and versicles are given in full; psalms are indicated by very brief cues only. The distribution of the Psalms suggests that this manuscript was used by secular priests or canons.
ff. 60-65, Hours of the Virgin, unidentified use, including f. 64v, suffrage of St. Nicholas at the end of Vespers;
The use found in this manuscript has not been identified in published sources; the antiphon and capitulum for Prime and None: “O admirabile,” “Ego sapientia”; “Germinavit radix,” “Transive ad me omnem,” are not listed by Falconer Madan. "Documents and Records A. Hours of the Virgin Mary (Tests for Localization),” The Bodleian Quarterly Record, 3 (1923), pp. 40-44, and Madan. “The Localization of Manuscripts,” in Essays in History Presented to Reginald Lane Poole, Oxford, 1927, pp. 5-29), but these texts, with a different capitulum at None, “Et radicavi,” are identified as Adelberg, Praemonstratensian; moreover, as demonstrated at “Late Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts – Books of Hours 1400-1530. Institute for Studies of Illuminated Manuscripts in Denmark. CHD Center for Handskriftstudier i Danmark” http://www.chd.dk/use/madantest.html, the Maddan tests are not detailed enough to always be reliable, and these texts are not unique to Adelberg, but are also found in manuscripts from Antwerp, 1496, Premonstratensian, Ste. Godebert de Noyon and other Premonstratensian manuscripts. Further research would be necessary to determine if this is a meaningful comparison.
f. 65v, Added in a later hand, Psalm 64, incipit, “Te decet hymnus …”
Although most discussions of late medieval liturgical manuscripts focus on the complete books for the Mass and Office, Missals and Breviaries, alongside the prayer books for the laity, Books of Hours, the surviving manuscripts often tell a slightly different story. This book, which is missing one leaf at the beginning, is otherwise complete, and probably always included this small selection of texts for the Divine Office–the Office of the Dead, texts for the funeral service for a priest, and the Office of the Virgin, together with an interesting version of a Ferial Psalter.
The recitation of the Psalms in the series of prayers said throughout the day and night by priests and members of religious orders at the offices of Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline, formed the core of the Divine Office. In a Ferial Psalter the text of the psalms is accompanied by the other prayers said during the Office, arranged in the order of the services. In this manuscript, the psalms are listed in a much abbreviated fashion, usually by a one or two word cue (and many psalms appear to be listed in groups of two, with a cue for the first psalm only; for example, the cue for psalm 53 might be followed by the cue for psalm 55). The musical antiphons, in contrast, are listed completely. The texts in a Ferial Psalter are the ordinary texts for the Office, that is, the texts that are sung each day. The variations depending on the varying cycle of the liturgical year and the feasts of the saints and other occasions are not included in this manuscript.
This manuscript includes the texts a member of a religious community would have most needed to perform his duties in the Choir. Its small format and relatively plain, functional appearance (enlivened by the superb and playful calligraphic initials or cadels at the beginning of musical texts), suggest that it was a personal book.
Of special note is the presence of noted texts, here using the distinctively German form of notation, known as “hufnagel,” or horseshoe nail, because of its characteristic shape, on five line staves, for the Office of the Dead (ff. 1-22v), for the burial service of a priest, (ff. 36-44v), and the ferial Office (ff. 45-59v).
Battifol, P. History of the Roman Breviary, London and New York, 1898.
Harper, John. The Forms and Orders of Western Liturgy from the Tenth to the Eighteenth Century, Oxford, 1991.
Ottosen, Knud. The Responsories and Versicles of the Latin Office of the Dead, Aarhus, 1993.
Plummer, John. Liturgical Manuscripts for the Mass and Divine Office, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 1964.
Salmon, Pierre. The Breviary through the Centuries, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1962.
Introduction to liturgical manuscripts
“Celebrating the Liturgy’s Books”
The History of the Breviary
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02768b.htm (Catholic Encyclopedia, “Breviary”)
“The Roman Breviary” (text of modern Roman Breviary in Latin and English, with historical introduction)
“Late Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts – Books of Hours 1400-1530. Institute for Studies of Illuminated Manuscripts in Denmark. CHD Center for Handskriftstudier i Danmark”; notes on identifying the liturgical Use of the Hours of the Virgin