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les Enluminures

Noted Ferial Psalter with Hymns (use of Cologne) assembled by GEORG HARF

In Latin and German, illustrated imprint and manuscript on paper
Germany, Westphalia, Cologne, sixteenth century, c. 1633-1634 and c. 1740

TM 1006

220 folios on paper, modern foliation in pencil, 1-220, printed section has a watermark of a crowned shield with a bear in bend, close to Piccard 1244 (in Piccard 1987, p. 152), Münster (Westphalia), 1633, 1634, paginated 1-240, ends imperfectly, see “Text” below (collation A-V6), alpha-numerical signatures for the first four leaves of a quire, catchwords on each page, printed in roman type in black and red inks in two columns, 27 lines and a running title, 4-line staves printed in black (height 10 mm.), musical notes added by hand for a few of the antiphons at different dates, three types of engraved initials beginning the first psalm of a given canonical hour, one with mythological figures printed in red (31 x 30 mm.), another with flowers and foliage printed in red and black (28 x28 mm.) and another with foliage printed in red (28 x 28 mm.); manuscript fragments of two origins, those of the sixteenth-century sections have a watermark of a letter D(?) (unidentified), no catchwords or signatures, one column (justification c. 142 x 265 mm.), written in a hybrid book hand in brown ink on 8 lines of text and a running title in red ink, music on 8 staves of four lines ruled in brown ink with square notation, rastrum 15 mm., 1- to 2-line initials in red, occasionally alternating with cadels in black, one 2-line historiated initial with Christ holding a globe (f. 157); the leaves added c. 1740 are written in a cursive hand in brown ink, occasional ruling in pencil, number of lines and layouts vary, 5-line staves; some stains and several tears, ff. 137 and 138 with text loss (pp. 203-206 of the printed section), otherwise in good condition. In a sixteenth-century binding of calf over wooden boards blind-tooled with rolls and center pieces with foliage motifs, with corner fittings (partly lacking), bosses and catches in metal, clasps lacking, leather worn and darkened, but otherwise in very good condition. Dimensions 310 x 210 mm.

The heyday of hybrid books that combine printed and manuscript texts extends from the invention of printing through the sixteenth and into the seventeenth centuries.  Hybrid Choir Books continue well past this time period, surely because of the unique liturgical requirements of different institutions.  A complex artifact, combining traditional sacred music and Counter-Reformation songs, the present volume survives as a fascinating hybrid service book with music assembled from printed and manuscript material by Georg Harf around 1740 for use in a church in Cologne.


1. A book assembled soon after 1740 using text and music of three origins: chants in manuscript written in the sixteenth century, a Ferial psalter printed c. 1633-1634 (datable by watermark), and chants in manuscript written around 1740. The psalms in the printed ferial psalter are organized according to secular use in Cologne. The choice of psalms for each hour reveals the secular rather than monastic use, and the specific use in Cologne is revealed by rubrics. On p. 17 (f. 36 in our composite book) the rubric instructs that psalm 92 be sung at Sunday Prime during Lent in Cologne (displacing it from the regular weekly cycle at Sunday Lauds): “Hujus loco Colonienses in Quadragesima legunt Dominus regnavit.”  Also the rubric on p. 26 indicates that the text is for use in Cologne: “Coloniens. à Dominica Septuagesimae usque ad Palmarum, loco hujus Psalmi praecedentis legunt Psalmum Misere...”

An inscription inside the back cover: “Georg Harf scribsit [sic] circiter 1740,” reveals that it was Georg Harf (1685-1763) who, around 1740, wrote the chants that he inserted into the book; the date and inscription correspond to the handwriting style of the inserted leaves. It also seems likely that it was Harf who assembled this volume from various sources c. 1740.  Other inscriptions (inside the back cover) inform us that Harf was born in 1685, “gebohn [sic] 1685,” and that he died in 1763 at seventy-eight years of age. Many of the hymns he copied derive from the religious songbook Tochter Sion published by a citizen of Cologne, Heinrich Lindenborn (1706-1750), further confirming the Cologne origin of our book.


[Manuscript] ff. 1-17v, Hymns in Latin copied in the sixteenth century, begins imperfectly, incipit, “Tempore paschali Sabbatinis diebus (running title, f 1v, //luia alleluia alleluia Benedicamus domino);

Variations of the Benedicamus domino for different times during the year, followed by hymns for Vespers for the feasts of Bridget, Catherine, Anne, during Advent, Ambrose and Augustine, the Virgin Mary, the Trinity, Michael and the Purification of the Virgin.

Four leaves were inserted, and one was pasted on an existing leaf, containing hymns with musical notation in German and Latin for Christmas: pasted on f. 6v, incipit, “Dies est latitiae...”; ff. 7-8v, incipit, “O quam amabilis...”, “Magnum nomen domini Emanuel...”; copied on f. 15, incipit, “Tandem luctus, tandem fluctus...”; ff. 16-17v, incipit, “Thauet, Himmel! Den Gerechten! Wolken! Regnet ihn...,” “Wie trostreich ist uns Adams-kindern...”  They were apparently written by Georg Harf around 1740; the hand is eighteenth-century and corresponds to the inscription inside the back cover of the book (see Provenance).

[Imprint] ff. 18-155v, Printed Ferial Psalter for secular use in Cologne, in Latin, pp. 1-240, containing the psalms to be sung during the week from Sunday to Saturday at the major hours of Matins, Lauds and Vespers, and the four psalms (4, 30, 90 and 133) sung at Compline; antiphons preceding groups of psalms are provided with staves, as are the hymns; incipit, “DOMINICA AD MATUTINUM. [running title] Invitatorium. Adoremus Dominum, Qui fecit nos. Psalmus 94. Venite exultemus Domino...,” ends imperfectly on p. 240, “Ne polluantur corpora. Praesta [catchword]”, the missing prayer is added in manuscript in the lower margin, “Praesta pater Omnipotens...”

Eighteen leaves were inserted containing hymns copied by Georg Harf with musical notation in German and Latin for fasting, Easter, Whitsun, Corpus Christi, Rogation days, saints days, and Ascension: ff. 52-53v, “Fasten Gesaenge”; ff. 55-56v, “Kirchenlied auf Ostern”; ff. 59-60v, “Pro Paschal”; ff. 65-66, “Kirchenlied auf Pfingsten”; ff. 77-78v, the Eucharistic hymn “Adoro te devote”; ff. 95-96v, “Kirchenlieder auf die Bittwoche”; ff. 124-125v, “Von dem H. Laurentio,” “Von dem H. Stephano...”; ff. 130-133v, “Caelos ascendit hodie”, “St. Peter”, “Stabat Mater.”

[Manuscript] ff. 156-219, Marian hymns in Latin copied in the sixteenth century (by the same hand as ff. 1-17v), f. 156, the Marian antiphon Ave regina caelorum for the office of the Assumption, incipit, “Ave Regina caelorum, ave domina angelorum, salve, radix, salve, porta...[music]”, f. 156v is blank, f. 157, Marian hymn for Advent, incipit, “Missa de S. Maria .i. per Adventum Rorate celi desuper...[music],” followed by Marian hymns for the Annunciation, her other feasts, and all other feasts during the liturgical year; concluding, f. 219, “Deo dicamus gratias. [music] Folgt der zeiger wo die Messen zu finden seien. Erstlich den Advent durch. Introitus. Rorate. cum reliquis. folio .i. In der h. Christnacht Lux fugebit. &c.”;

The hymn Rorate celi desuper begins with an initial historiated with the figure of Christ blessing and holding a globe (70 x 60 mm.); it is this hymn that originally opened this section of Marian hymns in the choral manuscript that now survives only very fragmentarily in our composite book. One eighteenth-century inserted leaf, f. 218, containing lists of songs.

ff. 219v-220v, blank, on which Georg Harf copied the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Latin with a rubric in German, “Die Lauretanische Litanei. Kyrie eleison!...”.

Georg Harf assembled the book after 1740, for liturgical use in Cologne. He began with a printed ferial psalter for use in Cologne, to which he added chants extracted from a Choir Book, selecting almost exclusively chants for female saints and the Virgin Mary. He then updated the collection of psalms and chants with new religious songs that broke away from the traditional style of hymnals. He copied them with their musical notation. Some of them, such as the Tandem luctus, tandem fluctus, copied on f. 15, derive from Heinrich Lindenborn’s Tochter Sion published in 1741, which was one of the first Catholic hymnals made during the Enlightenment. The Jesuits rejected Lindenborn’s songbook, but it quickly became very successful in the diocese of Cologne, superseding the Jesuits’s own Geistliches Psälterlein. Unless Harf knew Lindenborn personally, it is likely that he copied the songs and assembled his book after the publication of Tochter Sion in 1741. Especially interesting is Harf’s inclusion of the Christmas song, Taut, Himmel, den Gerechten (f. 16), which has been attributed to the Austrian Jesuit Michael Denis (1729-1800) who published it in 1774; however, our manuscript shows that it circulated well before that date in Cologne.

The core of the book consists of the printed Ferial Psalter (also called a Choir or Liturgical Psalter). Ever since their origin in Jewish history, the Hebrew poems that became the psalms were intended to be sung. The ancient Greek translation psalmoi designates instrumental music, or “the words accompanying the music” (Murphy, 1993, p. 626). In this Ferial Psalter the psalms are organized by their liturgical position during the week and during the major canonical hours of the day (excluding the little hours of Prime, Terce, Sext and None). The text begins with psalm 94, sung in the introductory section of Matins each day. In supplementing the weekly cycle of psalms with new and old hymns for specific feast days, Harf customized the book for use during the liturgical year.

Unfortunately, our copy of this printed Ferial Psalter is lacking its final leaf, which may have had a colophon; more research is needed to identify this edition. The watermark is close to Piccard’s no. 1244 in his series of bear variants: a crowned shield with a bear in bend; three clovers on the base of the crown (Piccard, 1987, p. 152). This suggests a date for this publication to c. 1633-1634. Perhaps the edition was funded by the Jesuits, because in the same year of 1633, also in Cologne, the Jesuit Johannes Heringsdorf (1606-1665) published his Hymnal Psalteriolum cantionum catholicarum, which together with its German version already mentioned above, Geistlich Psälterlein, enjoyed many further editions.

Music was central in the efforts of the Reformation to brighten the image of the Catholic Church and reaffirm its values. The unique book here was made for a very specific choral use in Cologne, assembled from printed and manuscript sources that associate the ancient songs, the psalms, with the most recently composed religious songs available in Counter-Reformation Germany.


Hindman, Sandra, and James Douglas Farquhar. Pen to Press: Illustrated Manuscripts and Printed Books in the First Century of Printing, College Park, 1977.

Hindman, Sandra. Pen to Press, Paint to Print: Manuscript Illumination and Early Prints in the Age of Gutenberg, Catalogue 14, Paris and Chicago, 2009.

Hughes, A. Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office, Toronto, 1995.

Huglo, M. Les livres de chant liturgique, Turnhout, 1988.

McKitterick, David. Print, Manuscript and the Search for Order, 1450-1830, Cambridge, 2004.

Murphy, R. “Psalms, The Book of,” The Oxford Companion to the Bible, B. Metzger and M. Coogan, eds., Oxford, 1993, pp. 626-629.

Mullet, M. The Catholic Reformation, London, 1999.

Persch, M. “Heinrich Lindenborn,” Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL), vol. 5, Herzberg 1993, pp. 79-82.

Piccard, G. Wasserzeichen Raubtiere, XV: 2, Stuttgart, 1987.

Skorna, S. and H. Skorna. “Heinrich Lindenborns Gesangbuch Tochter Sion im Kontext von Friedrich Spees Kirchenliedern,” Spee-Jahrbuch 1 (1994), pp. 99-116.

Wegener, G. Literarisches Leben in Köln 1750-1850. 1: 1750-1814. Beiträge zur kölnischen Geschichte, Sprache und Eigenart, vol. 74, Cologne, 2000.

Online Resources

Heinrich Lindenborn (Wikipedia)

Hamacher, T. “Das Psalteriolum cantionum, das Geistliche Psälterlein und ihr Herausgeber P. Johannes Heringsdorf S. J., Westfälische Zeitschrift 110 (1960), pp. 285-304

TM 1006