(Southern France (?): ca. 1100). 345 x 255 mm. (13 1/2 x 10"). Single column, 12 lines of text in a Caroline minuscule hand, with diastematic neumes.

Rubrics in red, spaces between words filled with a red line, several one-line initials in red and black, and one three-line initial in red. Recovered from a binding and thus somewhat worn and lightly stained, the spine of the binding clearly indicated by the presence of numerous creases and stitching holes, one page darkened and illegible, a handful of words blurred away by binder's glue, lacking at least a few lines at the head and tail, edges trimmed close and just cutting into text; but despite all of these defects, still an appealing early specimen, with the majority of the text and notation quite legible.

The musical notation found on the present leaf represents an early, but not the first, generation of neumes. When neumes first appear in the ninth century, they are the only thing occupying the area above a musical text and are thus described as "in campo aperto" (literally, "in an open field"). The earliest forms are also described as adiastematic because they appear more or less in a straight line, whereas later neumes--like those used for the present leaf--are diastematic, meaning that they reflect changes in melodic direction by being placed in a higher or lower vertical position above the text. Diastematic neumes appeared in at least a tentative form in the late 10th century. (Except as an "aide memoire," the adiastematic neumes would provide no help in terms of melodic representation to the singer, who would already have learned his melody orally; the first form of diastematic neumes still gives only rough indications, without telling pitches or precise intervals involved.) The neumes on our leaf most closely resemble Aquitanian notation, a style that developed in Southern France, characterized by small, precise points.
(CSF1703)

Keywords: music, neumes, Gradual