Possibly produced at Lambach Abbey, with 40 Rows of 12th century Neumes

(Austria, late 12th century). 273 x 185 mm. (10 3/4 x 7 1/4"). Single column, 20 lines of text in a Caroline minuscule, with interlinear glosses and with adiastematic neumes above each line.

Rubrics in red, capitals struck in red, with four slightly larger than one-line initials with simple dot or teardrop decoration, including an "M" painted whimsically to resemble a face. Probably once used as a pastedown and therefore slightly wrinkled and somewhat stained, recto toned with remnants of glue near the gutter, ink on verso a bit worn in places, many small wormholes, but still a very legible leaf with important provenance.

The present leaf seems to be related to an important series of choir books made for Lambach Abbey by the scribe Gottschalk, including the celebrated (but fragmentary) Gottschalk Antiphonary. Containing 20 lines (as here), these related manuscripts are now represented--but only as fragments recovered from bindings--at Yale (Beinecke Library, MS 481.52), at Harvard (Houghton Library, PfMS Typ 705, fols. 5-6), and elsewhere (cf. Lisa Fagin Davis, "The Gottschalk Antiphonary," 2000; and R. G. Babcock et al., "Catalogue, Beinecke, IV," 2004, pp. 80-110). Our leaf has no fewer than 40 lines of early neumes. Davis, who has written extensively on the topic in her work on the most famous manuscript in this group, says that "the Gottschalk Antiphonary is notated with St Gall neumes. This system of notation, adiastematic and unheighted, is a symbolic, as opposed to an iconic, method of indicating monophonic melody. The neumes bear little iconographic resemblance to the series of pitches they represent, functioning, rather, as abstract symbols of particular melodic movements. Only relative pitch can be determined, and that only in the most basic of relative movements, upward or downward. . . . Interpretation by Medieval monks was by convention and memorization; the neumes served to remind the singer of a familiar tune."
(ST12778-0078)

Keywords: music, neumes