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les Enluminures

Noted Processional (Franciscan Use; Use of Rome)

In Latin, decorated manuscript with musical notation on parchment
Northern Italy, c. 1450-1500

TM 515

i (parchment) + 160 folios on parchment, modern foliation in pencil, top outer corner recto 1-159, now bound out of order, but the foliation reflects the correct order, with an unnumbered folio following f. 114, as follows: 1-16, 25-32, 17-24, 33-114, 114 bis, 115-159, complete (collation, i-ii8 iii8 [ff. 17-24, now incorrectly bound as quire 4] iv8 [ff. 25-32, now incorrectly bound as quire 3] v-xx8), flourished horizontal catchwords, middle lower margin, leaf and quire signatures with a letter designating the quire and an Arabic numeral the leaf, ruled very lightly in lead with full-length vertical bounding lines, on folios with text and musical notation the text is copied between four widely-spaced double horizontal rules (justification 115-105 x 49-40 mm.), written in a formal gothic bookhand in eighteen long lines, or in four lines of text and four 4-line red staves with square musical notation in black ink, red rubrics, two- to one-line alternately red and blue initials with skillful pen decoration in the opposite color, in excellent condition, with a few small stains and minor soiling. Bound in an early limp vellum cover, possibly original, sewn on three bands with head and tail bands, edges dyed red or pink, once with two ties (holes remain, upper and lower covers), in good condition, lower cover now partially detached, some stains on both covers, spine darkened; includes black leather case, lettered in gilt on spine, 'Uffiziolo Francescano, sec. XV.' Dimensions 142 x 80 mm.

This is an attractive, small-format Processional from Italy, still preserved in its early limp-vellum binding; its script, musical notation, and pen-work initials are all products of skilled craftsmen. Processionals are of special interest to musicologists, since they sometimes include text and music not found in other types of liturgical manuscripts. Unusual here are the multiple forms of the burial services—for friars, the laity, and children. Although numerous late medieval Processionals survive, Italian examples are much less common (only seven are listed in the Schoenberg Database). 


1. The evidence of the script, decoration, and parchment suggests this manuscript was copied in Northern Italy in the second half of the fifteenth century, and from the evidence of the text, it was made for use by Franciscan Friars (text follows Franciscan Use; masculine forms used throughout in the prayers, prayer, f. 73, mentions “our beloved father St. Francis”; see below, text).

2. Front flyleaf, f. i, in pen, mostly erased “An<?> laus deo”; f. 158v, in pen, “Questo libro e <ili?> S. Ger. queo”; f. 151v, scale, and other musical doodling; erasure, lower margin, f. 1.

3. Engraved seventeenth- or eighteenth-century bookplate with a floral design (a monogram?) and crown, “Bibliotheca Confanoneria”; members of a Confanoneria family were associated with the monastery of St. Giulia in Brescia in Northern Italy (see Valentini, 1887, and Geuenich and Ludwig, 2000).

4. In pencil, f. 159v, “CHR12/D55P.”


ff. 1-53v, incipit, “Subvenite … [noted]”, V. “Requiem eternam … [noted]”, followed by “Pater noster”, versicles, responses, and prayer, incipit, “Deus cui omnia uiunt et cui non pereunt moriendo corpora nostra …”; ff. 4v, Inuitatorium, incipit, “Regem cui omnia uiuunt ..”; … f. 40, Oratio, incipit, “Absolue quesumus domine animam famuli tui N. …”; f. 40, R. incipit, “In paradisum deducant … [noted]”;  … f. 53, incipit, “Requiem eteranm dona eis …[noted]”;

Funeral service (ff. 1-4v, bringing body to Church; ff. 4v-40, Office of the Dead, here with one nocturn (common form; cf. Ottosen, 1993, p. 365, and pp. 158-9) and prayers in the church; ff. 40-53v, service at the grave; generally similar to the service printed in the Liber Usualis (Online Resources, below), but not identical.

ff. 53v-76v, Incipit ordo pro defunctis fratribus vel sororibus. Egressa autem anima de corpore cantatur hoc responsorium, “Subuentite [cue only]”, totum cum uersis suis postea, “Kyrie eleison [cues]; … f. 73, Oratio, incipit, “Satisfaciat tibi quesumus domine deus nostre pro anima famuli tui N fratris nostri beatissime dei genitricis semperque uirginis marie et sanctissimi confessoris tui patris nostri francisci …”;

Funeral Service for deceased Franciscan brothers and sisters, including the preparation of the body, and services in the church and at the grave; text follows the Franciscan Ritual for the Last Sacraments, Ordo sepulturae, Van Dijk, 1963, pp. 392-397, including the liturgical directions; here with the musical sections (with notation) and prayers not found on ff. 1-53v given in full.

ff. 76v-79v, Incipit officium sepulture paruulorum christianorum. Quando puer extrahitur de domo. Incipitur ps., incipit, “Beati inmaculati …”; f. 79v, Oratio, incipit, “Deus qui miro ordine angelorum … uita nostra muniatur, per dominum nostrum etc.”;

Funeral and burial service for children; very close to the service in Rituale romanum …, Antwerp 1617, pp. 210-216.

ff. 79v-93v, Procession for the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin (all texts noted), Cum inceperint distribuere candelas a choro cantatur ant., incipit, “Lumen ad reuelationem genitum …”; f. 81, His completis cantatur antiphona, incipit, “Exurge dominus …”; f. 81v, Ps. Incipit, “Deus auribus …”; … f. 82v, Fit processio et cantatur antiphone …, incipit, “Aue gratia plena …”; f. 85, V, incipit, “Adorna thalamum tuum …”; f. 87v, Alia ant., incipit, “Responsum accepit symeon…”; f. 90, Alia antif., incipit, “Optulerunt ..”; f. 91v, Alia antif., incipit, “Postquam autem impleti sunt …”;

ff. 93v-145, Procession for Palm Sunday (all texts noted); incipit, “Pueri hebreorum portantes …”; f. 94v, Ant. incipit, “Pueri hebreorum vestimenta …”; … f. 95v, Fit processio et cantatur antiphone subscripte, incipit, “Cum appropinquaret dominius hyerosolimam …”; f. 101, Ant., incipit, “Cum audisset populus …”; f. 106, incipit, “Ante sex dies …”; f. 108, incipit, “Benedictus qui uenisti …”; f. 109, incipit, “Occurunt turbe …”; f. 110v, incipit, “Cum angelis et pueris …”; f. 111v, incipit,“Turba multa que conuenerat …”; f. 113, incipit, “Gloria laus et honor tibi  …”; … f. 121, Postea intret processio in ecclesia. Cantantdo R., incipit, “Ingrediente dominus …”; … f. 125v, incipit, “Recordare domine quid acciderit nobis …”; f. 140, Sequitur euangelium quod cantatur in die palmarum post passionem quibus placuerit, incipit, “Altera autem die que est post … [noted]”;

The final text is the reading for the Mass on Palm Sunday from Matthew 27:62-66, chanted following the recitation of the Passion (Van Dijk, 1963, p. 236).

ff. 145-150, Iterum evangelium in parasceuen, incipit, “Post hec autem rogauit pilatum … [noted]”;

The Gospel reading, with musical notation, for the Mass on Good Friday (John 19:18-42), which was chanted following the recitation of the Passion (Van Dijk, 1963, p. 240).

Processionals include the texts and chants necessary for liturgical processions.  They are of particular interest to musicologists, since they can contain text and chants not found in other liturgical manuscripts. The text in this manuscript follows Franciscan Use (that is, Use of Rome), and as such includes only two Processions -- for the Purification of the Virgin (Candlemas, on 2 February) and Palm Sunday.  Franciscan Processionals include fewer processions than manuscripts copied for other religious orders (Huglo, 1999-2004, p. 38* and tableau viii, p. 54*).

The manuscript also includes texts for three different forms of the services for funerals and burials, which incorporated processions bringing the body into the church, as well as out to the grave for burial, and were often included in Processionals. It is interesting that this Processional includes in addition to the services for brothers and sisters belonging to Franciscan Order, a general form of the funeral and burial service, presumably for lay-people, as well as a special form of the service for children. Also included are Gospel readings from the Palm Sunday and Good Friday masses, with their musical notation (texts not commonly found in Processionals).

Many Processionals copied in France, especially in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, were copied for use by nuns. This manuscript, in contrast, was probably copied to be used by Franciscan Friars – only masculine forms are used in the prayers, and the text and rubrics are in Latin. It is a small, portable book that was designed for practical use. Despite its small size, both the script and musical notation are large enough to be easily read, and its slightly tall, narrow format and limp-vellum binding were equally practical choices. Italian Processionals appear to be much less common than late medieval Processionals from France and other European countries (a search for Processionals in general in the Schoenberg Database yields 156 results, but only seven of these manuscripts are identified as Italian).

The origins of the Franciscan Order can be traced back to its charismatic founder, St. Francis of Assisi, who presented himself and his small group of followers in 1210 to Pope Innocent III, who granted permission for them to live Francis’s radical vision of a life of complete apostolic poverty. From these humble beginnings, the Franciscan Order grew rapidly, attracting members across Europe. Since it were an international order, the need for some uniform liturgy was felt from an early point in their history, and the Rule of 1223 specified that the Friars were to follow the Office “according to the order of the Roman Church.” This “order of the Roman Church” – actually the liturgy used at the Papal Court – became the basis for the Franciscan liturgy (see Van Dijk, 1963). The Franciscan Use, or Use of Rome, was destined to have a great influence on the subsequent history of the Roman liturgy, since it was the basis for the liturgy mandated by the Council of Trent to be used throughout the Roman Catholic Church. 


Geuenich, D. and U. Ludwig, U., eds.  Der Memorial- und Liturgiecodex von San Salvatore - Santa Giulia in Brescia. MGH, Libri memoriales et necrologia 4, Hannover, Hahn, 2000.

Gy, P. M. “Collectaire, rituel, processional”, Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques 44 (1960), pp. 441-69.

Huglo, Michel. “Dominican and Franciscan Books: Similarities and Differences Between Their Notation”, in The Calligraphy of Medieval Music, ed. Johan Haines, Musicalia Medii Aevi 1, Turnhout, Brepols, 2011.

Huglo, M. Les manuscrits du Processional: Volume 1, Autriche à Espagne, Volume 2, France à Afrique du Sud, Répertoire international des sources musicales B XIV (1-2), Munich, 1999 and 2004.

Huglo, Michel. “Processional.” in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 20, London, 2001, pp. 388-393.

Ottosen, Knud. The Responsories and Versicles of the Latin Office of the Dead, Aarhus, 1993.

Palazzo, Eric. A History of Liturgical Books from the Beginning to the Thirteenth Century, translated by Madeline Beaumont, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1998.

Plummer, John. Liturgical Manuscripts for the Mass and Divine Office, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 1964.

Valentini, Andrea. Codice Necrologico-Liturgico del Monastero di San Salvatore O Santa Giulia in Brescia, Brescia, 1887.

van Dijk, S.J.P., ed. Sources of the Modern Roman Liturgy: The Ordinals of Haymo of Faversham and Related Documents, 1243-1307, 2 vols. Leiden, 1963.

Online resources

Introduction to liturgical manuscripts: “Celebrating the Liturgy’s Books”:

General introduction to liturgical processions:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12446b (New Catholic Encyclopedia, “Processions”)

Liber Usualis, Burial Service:

Robinson, P. “Franciscan Order”, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1909:

The Franciscan Archive; Sources for Franciscan History: