NEUMES ON SINGLE LINE

MS 658
MS Short Title NEUMES ON SINGLE LINE
Text ANTIPHONAL: OFFICES OF ST. PAUL, COMMON OF AN EVANGELIST, OF A CONFESSOR, AND OFFICE OF ST. MARTIAL AT VESPERS
Description MS in Latin on vellum, Limoges, France, ca. 1030, 1 f., 36x20 cm, single column, (27x17 cm), 12 lines in an elegant Carolingian minuscule, some incipits in red uncials, 12 lines of early Aquitanian neumes on a 1-line ruled F-staff, 4 initials in red or brown.
Context This Abbey had the richest library of music in France. It was sold in 1730 to the Bibliothèque Royal, now Bibliothèque Nationale de France. However, only one Antiphonal was in the library.
Provenance 1. Benedictine Abbey of St. Martial, Limoges (ca. 1030-1730); 2. Private Collection, Oxford (until 1990); 3. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.
Commentary The Abbey of St. Martial de Limoges was founded in 848, secularised in 1535, dissolved in 1781 and demolished in 1792. The scriptorium of the Abbey is arguably the most important for the history and development of liturgical music in France in the Middle ages. A decisive advance in the development of notation was made when the scribe drew a horizontal red line to represent the pitch F, and grouped the neumes about the line. In time a second line, usually yellow, was drawn for C'. This invention of the staff made it possible to note precisely the relative pitch of the notes of a melody, and freed music form its hitherto exclusive dependence on oral tradition. It was one of the most important events in the history of music. (D.J. Grout: A History of Western music. London 1962, pp. 55-56.)
Place of origin France
Dates ca 1030 AD

Location