TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Processional (monastic use); Liturgy for burial

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment, with musical notation
Southeastern France (Savoy?) or Switzerland, c. 1400-1425(?)

TM 1056
  • 10 600 €
  • £9,500
  • $12,000

iii (modern paper) + 73 + iv (modern paper) folios on parchment, modern foliation in pencil, 1-73, lacking one leaf at the end (collation i6 ii8 iii9 [irregular quire of 9 leaves; stub after f. 17, but no loss of text] iv8 v10 [leaves 6 and 7 form a bifolium, which was inserted after leaf 5 at the time of the making of the manuscript; the text is in correct order] vi8 vii7 [irregular quire of 7 leaves; stub at the end of the quire, after f. 56, with no loss of text] viii-ix8 x2 [-2, one leaf missing, with loss of text]), vertical catchwords, ruled in brown ink (justification 70 x 42 mm.), written in brown and red inks in gothic textualis bookhand on 18 lines for text pages, and for music three staves of four lines ruled in red ink with square notation (two staves on f. 20rv), rastrum 11 mm., capitals and cadel initials decorated with yellow wash, 1- to 3-line initials in red and/or blue decorated with elaborate penwork in violet and/or red throughout, minor stains and smudging, a small hole in last leaf, otherwise in very good condition. In eighteenth-century limp parchment binding with yapp edges and pastedowns apparently hand-painted with conjoined red diamonds, stains and scratches, lacking leather straps, otherwise in good condition. Dimensions 102 x 70 mm.

Processionals include the text and music sung during organized walks of celebrants on feast days.  As evidence of active life – like entries, pageants, and drama – processions conjure up vivid images of medieval gatherings.  This charming processional, used by an individual monastic participant, would have fit easily into his or her hands.  Including chants for Candlemas, Lent, Holy Week, as well as the burial of the dead, and finely decorated with flourished initials, the volume is distinctive in its addition of other sung parts of certain feasts.  Each Processional is unique, and this one invites further research.


1. Copied in Southeastern France or Switzerland in the first quarter of the fifteenth century.  The violet ink of the penwork and the vertical catchwords suggest localizing the manuscript in an area with close contact with Italy, possibly in Savoy, in Southeastern France, or in Switzerland. The origin of our manuscript in Savoy or Switzerland is also suggested by the checkerboard line-fillers in black and yellow wash at the end of some sections of music (ff. 1, 15, 28v, 45, 52v). They are very similar to those found in another music manuscript localizable in southern Germany or Switzerland (Les Enluminures, TM 947).

The style of the cadel initials (which were not fully developed until the end of the fourteenth century) and the floral forms in the hairline penwork suggest dating the manuscript in the first quarter of the fifteenth century.

The inclusion of the monastic canticles (read during for the Office of Matins) allows us to identify the use of the manuscript as monastic (Mearns 1914, pp. 81-93).


ff. 1-5, incipit, “Lumen ad revelationem gentium …”;

Antiphon sung between each verse of the Nunc dimittis Canticle and the Gloria Patri Hymn for the Candlemas (Feast of the Purification) procession, with musical notation.

ff. 5-8v, [Antiphons for Ash Wednesday, with musical notation], Ad susciperendum cineres in capite jejunii, incipit, “Exaudi nos, Domine, quoniam [be]nigna est misericordia tua...”; “Juxta vestibulum et altare plorabunt...”;

ff. 9-15, [Processional antiphon for Palm Sunday, with musical notation], Dominica in Ramis palmarum, incipit, “Collegerunt pontifices et pharsei concilium et dicebant...”; [Hesbert 1963-1979, no. 1852];

ff. 15-28, [Antiphons for the Mandatum (foot washing) on Maundy Thursday, with musical notation], Ad mandatum antiphona, incipit, “Dominus Iesus postquam cenavit...” [Hesbert 1985, no. 77b]; “Postquam surrexit Dominus a cena...” [Hesbert 1963-1979, no. 4340]; “Audite hec omnes gentes auribus...” [Ps. 48:2]; “Domine, tu michi lavas pedes” [Hesbert 1963-1979, no. 2393]; “Venit Ihesus ad Simonem Petrum ...”; “Vos vocatis me Magister” [Hesbert 1963-1979, no. 5504]; “Exemplum enim dedi vobis” [John 13:15], and eight further chants;

ff. 28v-45, [Introit for the Maundy Thursday evening Mass], Ad crucem, incipit, “Nos autem gloriari oportet...” (Hesbert 1985, no. 75); [antiphons for Good Friday, with musical notation], incipit, “Popule meus...”; “Et misi ante faciem tuam Moysen, et Aaron, et Mariam...”; “Expandi manus meas...” [Hesbert 1963-1979, no. 6698]; “Qui dicunt recede a me non adpropinques michi” (Isaiah 65:5), and seven further chants.

ff. 45-53, [Processional antiphons for burial, with musical notation]; “In sepulture defunctorum, incipit, “Credo quod redemptor meus vivit...” [Hesbert 1963-1979, no. 6348]; “Ne abscondas me...” [Hesbert 1963-1979, no. 7202]; “Parce michi, Domine...”; [Reponsaries], “Ne intres in judicium...” and “Velociter exaudi me, Domine...”; “Kyrie eleison”.

These chants are followed by incipits of prayers and psalms to be recited and sung at the grave.

ff. 53v-56v, [Antiphons for the Last Supper and the Holy Saturday, with musical notation], incipit, “Traditor autem dedit eis...” [Hesbert 1963-1979, no. 5169]; “Posuerunt super caput eius...” [Hesbert 1963-1979, no. 4343]; “Dedit in mortem animam suam, et cum sceleratis ... ”; 

f. 57r-v, [Two prayers, which the rubric instructs to recite at a cemetery], incipit, “Deus [in] cuius miseracione anime fidelium requiescunt...”; “Actiones nostras, quaesumus Domine ...”;

ff. 58-73v, [Monastic canticles and psalms without musical notation: three monastic canticles for Advent from Isaiah, Mearns, 1914, p. 87, second Advent set], In adventi domini cantica ysayas, incipit, “Ecce dominus in fortitudine veniet ...” (Isaiah 40:10-17); “Cantate Domino canticum novum ...” (Isaiah 42:10-16); “Hec dicit Dominus, redemptor Israel, Sanctus eius ...” (Isaiah 49:7-13); [Three monastic canticles for Christmas from Isaiah, Mearns, 1914, p. 87; first Christmas set], incipit, “Populus qui ambulabat ...” (Isaiah 9:2-8); “Letare Iherusalem et diem festum ...” (Isaiah 46:10-16); “Urbs fortitudinis nostre Syon ...” (Isaiah 26:1-13); [three monastic canticles for Lent (Quadragesima) from Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Mearns,1914, p. 88], In xl. Jeremias, incipit, “Deducant oculi mei lacrimam per noctem ...” (Jeremiah 14:17-21); “Recordare, Domine, quid acciderit nobis...” (Lamentations 5:1-21); “Tollam quippe vos de gentibus...” (Ezechiel 36:24-28); [three monastic canticles for Easter from Isaiah, Hosea and Sophonias, Mearns 1914, p. 88; first Easter set]; De resurrecione domini ysayas, incipit, “Qui est iste, qui venit de Edom...” (Isaiah 63:1-5); “Venite, et revertamur ad Dominum ...” (Hosea 6:1-6); “Expecta me, dicit Dominus ...” (Sophonias 3:8-13); followed by psalms, “Inclina, Domine, aurem tuam et exaudi me...” (Ps. 85), “In exitu Israel de Egipto...” (Ps. 113), “Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus...” (Ps. 117), “Memento, Domine, David, et omnis mansuetudinis eius...” (Ps. 131), and “Domine, probasti me, et cognovisti me...” (Ps. 138), ending imperfectly, lacking the last two verses.

Processionals are the books that include the texts and chants necessary for liturgical processions. They are of special interest to musicologists, since they sometimes contain text and chants not found in other liturgical manuscripts.  Our manuscript includes processional antiphons for Candlemas (or the Purification) and Palm Sunday, together with sung texts for Ash Wednesday and Holy Week, such as the reception of ashes and the Mandatum or Foot Washing on Holy Thursday, as well as musical texts for the burial of the dead. 

The chants for the Candlemas procession accompanied the ritual of blessing the candle on February 2, beginning with the antiphon “Lumen ad revelationem gentium” (A light for revelation to the Gentiles), which is repeated after each verse of the Song of Simeon (the “Nunc dimittis”).  These chants evoke the devout elderly Jew, Simeon, whom the Holy Spirit had promised that he would see the Messiah before he dies. When the Christ Child was brought to the Temple by his parents for the ceremony of consecration, Simeon recognized him as Messiah, and the “Nunc dimittis” is composed of the words of praise he uttered at that moment (Luke 2:29-32): “Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace/ … lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel” (Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word/ … A light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory of your people Israel).

The Palm Sunday procession was dictated by scriptural descriptions of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, with the congregation laying down branches (palm branches in the south, boxwood branches in the north). The antiphon “Collegerunt pontifices,” which was sung during the procession, was a ninth-century Frankish antiphon with eighth-century Gallican antecedents. Interestingly, the composition reflects the musical politics at the time of its creation. In the line “Ne forte veniant Romani et tollant nostrum locum et gentem” (ff. 11-12 in our manuscript), the narrow musical range of the phrase “Romani et tollant nostrum locum” is in sharp opposition with the melodic flights of the rest of the line, sweeping twice through a full octave. This melodic difference echoes the competing Frankish and Roman national styles, showing the Frankish contempt of the latter (see Kelly, 2009, p. 435).

Processionals for different religious orders can often be identified by the feasts that are included.  Processions following Roman Use (and thus also Franciscan Processionals), for example, include processions for the Purification and Palm Sunday, as does our Manuscript (Huglo, 1999-2004, p. 38* and tableau viii, p. 54*).  Our manuscript, however, also includes the Old Testament readings known as the monastic canticles that were read after the Old Testament lesson during the Office of Matins.  Our manuscript thus was certainly copied for use in a monastery rather than a secular church or a Franciscan convent. 

The sources used by James Mearns in his study on canticles, which date from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and have the exact same sets as our manuscript are two Carthusian Psalters from Italy, the latter possibly from Mantua (Oxford, Bodleian, Canon lit. 162 and 377), a Hymnary probably from Salzburg in Austria (London, British Library, Arundel 340), and a Psalter from the Benedictine Lyre Abbey in Normandy in France (London, British Library, Add. 16975; cf. Mearns 1914, pp. 81-93). Further research, establishing textual, stylistic and codicological comparisons will eventually allow localizing this manuscript more precisely, and identifying its monastic use.

The small size of the manuscript, not unusual for a processional, allowed the celebrant to hold it in his hand during the procession or slip it into his pocket when no longer needed. The longer rubrics within the text give practical instructions, such as the assembling of the congregation the cemetery (f. 57) or when the celebrants should return from the grave (“Revertentes a tumulo,” f. 53).  The elaborate hairline penwork greatly increases the charm of this little Processional. It adorns the initials and, on many occasions, extends into the margins, twice developing into human faces, themselves worth further study (ff. 45v, 59v).


Hesbert, R.-J. Corpus antiphonalium Officii, Rome, 1963-1979.

Hesbert, R.-J. Antiphonale missarum sextuplex, Rome, 1985.

Huglo, M. Chant grégorien et musique médiévale, Aldershot, 2005.

Huglo, M. Les manuscrits du processional, 2 vols, Munich, 1999 (vol. I), 2004 (vol. II).

Huglo, M. Les sources du plain-chant et de la musique médiévale, Aldershot, 2004.

Kelly, T., ed. Chant and its Origins, Farnham, 2009.

Mearns, J. The Canticles of the Christian Church, Eastern and Western, in Early and Medieval Times, Cambridge, 1914.

Online Resources

“Musicalia Mediaevalia (MusMed)”

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

General introduction to liturgical processions; (New Catholic Encyclopedia, “Processions”)

TM 1056