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Mensural and polyphonic music of the fourteenth century and a new source for the Credo of Tournai in a gradual of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2015



An early fourteenth-century gradual produced for use in Avignon and today preserved in Rome at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is a new source for understanding the musical and liturgical exchange between France and Italy in the fourteenth century. The present article will consider compositions written after the main body of the gradual, and found now in the initial fascicle and on the last three folios of the manuscript. These folios contain a hitherto unknown source for the Credo of Tournai as well as other works not recorded elsewhere; for example, a polyphonic Gloria, a polyphonic Credo, a troped Sanctus and a Credo in cantus fractus.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press, 2015 

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1 Gozzi, Marco, ‘The trecento’, in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Music, ed. Everist, Mark (Cambridge, 2011), 136–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Tomasello, Andrew, Music and Ritual at Papal Avignon, 1309–1403 (Ann Arbor, MI, 1983)Google Scholar.

2 The musical connection between France and Italy during that period has been largely demonstrated and is now commonly accepted by the scholars. See Gozzi, ‘The trecento’, 145–6.

3 Tomasello, Music and Ritual, 36.

4 Ibid., 60; Gozzi, ‘The trecento’, 145 and 158.

5 Giuliano Di Bacco and John Louis Nádas, ‘Verso uno stile internazionale della musica nelle cappelle papali e cardinalizie durante il Grande Scisma (1378–1417): il caso di Johannes Ciconia da Liège’, in Collectanea I, ed. Adalbert Roth, Capellae Apostolicae Sistinaeque Collectanea Acta Monumenta 3 (Città del Vaticano, 1994), 7–74. See also the comprehensive survey of Strohm, Reinhard, The Rise of European Music, 1380–1500 (Cambridge, 1993)Google Scholar.

6 For example Avignon, Bibliothèque Municipale, Ms. 136, missal produced in Bologna for Francesca Manzari, Urban V., La miniatura ad Avignone al tempo dei papi, 1310–1410 (Modena, 2006), 186–7Google Scholar; Tomasello, Music and Ritual, 36–7.

7 Many manuscripts coming from Avignon are today preserved in the Vatican Library. See the list in Manzari, La miniatura, 344–7.

8 The codex does not have a call number in the Museum and in the Archive.

9 Saxer, Victor, Sainte-Marie-Majeure. Une basilique de Rome dans l’histoire de la ville et de son église (Ve–XIIIe siècle), Collection de l’École française de Rome 283 (Rome, 2001), 566–72Google Scholar.

10 Tangari, Nicola, ‘Due manoscritti liturgico-musicali del Museo della Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore a Roma’, in Humanis divina iuguntur. Un percorso museale della Basilica Liberiana, ed. Jagosz, Michał (Rome, 2011), 7382Google Scholar, 115–18.

11 This Mass includes on ff. 199v–200 two proper alleluia for Amantius: O Amanci praesul sanctissime and O Amanci praesul digne. Amantius is also remembered among the litanies of Easter on fol. 119v. Tangari, Nicola, ‘Particolarità liturgico-musicali di un graduale di Santa Maria Maggiore a Roma’, in Atti del Congresso Internazionale di Musica Sacra, ed. Addamiano, Antonio and Luisi, Francesco (Rome, 2013), 287303Google Scholar.

12 Claude, Hubert, ‘Amanzio, vescovo di Avignone’, in Bibliotheca Sanctorum, vol. 1 (Rome, 1961)Google Scholar, cols. 930–1; Filippo Caraffa, ‘Amanzio, vescovo di Rodez’, ibid., col. 933.

13 Manzari, La miniatura, 44–53.

14 It is uncertain whether the hand that copied the main part of the codex was French or Italian. Some palaeographical details, such as the flat end at the baseline of the first minims of m and n, but not the last one, are typical of Italian hands: see Derolez, Albert, The Palaeography of Gothic Manuscript Books: from the Twelfth to the Early Sixteenth Century (Cambridge, 2003), 104Google Scholar. Considering the particular cultural environment of Trecento Avignon, the possibility of an Italian hand copying the manuscript cannot be dismissed.

15 The use of puncti divisionis or pontelli to distinguish groups of notes that have the value of the brevis is considered by scholars the most important feature of the Italian notation of the fourteenth century. See Gehring, Julia and Huck, Oliver, ‘La notazione italiana del Trecento’, Rivista Italiana di Musicologia, 39 (2004), 235–70Google Scholar, at 237, n. 10. While it is not possible to determine whether the added pieces were copied from a French or an Italian model, at least the use of an Italian notation system is beyond doubt.

16 The numbers refer to the new foliation of this manuscript, starting from the first blank folio, now fol. 1. A previous numbering starts with the first folio that contains music, now fol. 2.

17 The sequence (fol. 257rv) with its second voice is written in a cantus planus binatim style, alternating a verse in plainchant and a verse with the second voice added. A transcription is in Tangari, ‘Due manoscritti’, 79–80.

18 See van Dijk, Stephen J.P., Sources of the Modern Roman Liturgy. The Ordinals by Haymo of Faversham and Related Documents (1243–1307), II: Texts, Studia et Documenta Franciscana 2 (Leiden, 1963), 239–40Google Scholar.

19 This introit (AMS 187; GT 326) is attested for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost.

20 This alleluia is commonly sung on many Sundays of the year (AMS 26bis, 90, 175, 179, 199a; GT 324). See also Schlager, Karl-Heinz, Thematischer Katalog der ältesten Alleluia-Melodien aus Handschriften des 10. und 11. Jahrhunderts, ausgenommen das ambrosianische, alt-römische und alt-spanische Repertoire, Erlanger Arbeiten zur Musikwissenschaft 2 (München, 1965)Google Scholar, no. 375; idem, Alleluia-Melodien. I: bis 1100, Monumenta Monodica Medii Aevi VI (Kassel, 1968), 529–30.

21 Fortunatus, Venantius, Poèmes. Livres I–IV, ed. Reydellet, Marc (Paris, 1994), 181Google Scholar. See also AH, vol. 50, pp. 71–3. These last verses are not very common and, in this version, present some variants: ‘Quaesumus salva redemptos agmina lugentium / te prophetae cecinerunt redemptorem omnium / tropheumque mortis gustans dans auxilium. Crux . . . / Quem totus mundus non capit uno saxo clauditur / atque morte iam perempta inferni claustra abigit / sic Christe Deus et homo die surgit tertia. Dulce lignum dulces. . . / Gloriam Deo canamus in hymnis concentibus / quae simul magna nobiscum totus mundi machina / voce consona celebret in sempiterna saecula. Amen.’

22 A general survey of this cantio with an updated bibliography is presented in Gozzi, Marco, ‘Sequenze’, in Cantus fractus italiano: un’antologia, ed. Gozzi, Marco, Musica mensurabilis 4 (Hildesheim, 2011), 43134Google Scholar, especially at 44–6, 63–71, 85–7.

23 The order of the stanzas is as follows: Verbum caro factum est; In hoc anni circulo; Verbum; Fons de suo rivulo; Verbum; Quod vetustas suffocat; Verbum; Stella solem protulit; Verbum; Sine viri copula; Verbum; O beata femina; Verbum; Illi laus et gloria; Verbum. This is the same order as that found in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Latin 1343, fol. 40r. See Gozzi, ‘Sequenze’, 85–7.

24 A recent general survey of the polyphonic and mensural ordinarium settings in the Italian Trecento is by Gozzi, Marco, ‘Liturgia e musica mensurale nel Trecento italiano: i canti dell’ordinarium’, in Kontinuität und Transformation in der Italienischen Vokalmusik Zwischen Due und Quattrocento, ed. Dieckmann, Sandra, Huck, Oliver, Rotter-Broman, Signe, Scotti, Alba, Musica mensurabilis 4 (Hildesheim, 2007), 5398Google Scholar. Editions and repertoires of Italian sacred music of the fourteenth century are found in the following series: Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century, vols. 12, 13, 23; Corpus mensurabilis, vol. 29; RISM, B/IV/1, B/IV/2 and B/IV/5.

25 This Credo is listed as no. 279 in Miazga, Die Melodien, 74–7. On this Credo see Gozzi, Marco, ‘Alle origini del canto fratto: il Credo Cardinalis’, Musica e Storia, XIV/2 (2006), 245302Google Scholar. An incipit that resembles that of this Credo is found in another polyphonic Gloria included in Ivrea, Biblioteca capitolare, CV, fols. 29v–30r (RISM B/IV/2, 282–304, no. 45).

26 The practice of borrowing a melody to compose works for the Mass ordinary is attested in the fourteenth century. See Schrade, Leo, ‘A Fourteenth Century Parody Mass’, Acta Musicologica, 27 (1955), 1339CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Jackson, Roland, ‘Musical Interrelations between Fourteenth Century Mass Movements (A Preliminary Study)’, Acta Musicologica, 29 (1957), 5464CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

27 One could also usefully compare this Gloria to the Mass of Machaut, in order to highlight the probable French origin of our piece. For example, the typical cadence is present, with some variation on tone, many times in our Gloria (bars 3–4, 8–9, 13, 25 etc.), but also in bar 17 of the Gloria and in bars 78 and 133 of the Credo of Machaut. See Gozzi, Alle origini, 254–7.

28 This kind of texture is postulated as a ‘paired upper voice’ for three-voice polyphony of the fourteenth century by Moll, Kevin N., ‘Voice Function, Sonority, and Contrapuntal Procedure in Late Medieval Polyphony’, Current Musicology, 64 (1998), 2672Google Scholar. This can confirm the possibility that at least one more voice is now lost in the gradual's Gloria.

29 Triplum: clef: c1; ambitus: c–dd; Duplum: clef: c3; ambitus: G–a; Tenor: clef: f2; ambitus: D–e. All parts are fully texted.

30 This a special (and typically Italian) form of writing the archaic pair semibrevis maior-semibrevis minima. See Gozzi, Marco, ‘La notazione del codice Add. 29987 di Londra’, in Et facciam dolçi canti. Studi in onore di Agostino Ziino, ed. Antolini, Bianca Maria (Lucca, 2004), 207–61Google Scholar, at 250–2.

31 A similar choice is made, for example, in the Credo of Ivrea, Biblioteca capitolare, 115, fols. 44v–45v. This piece is numbered in RISM B/IV/2 as Ivrea 57 and is transcribed in CMM, 29, 73–6 and PMFC 23, 289–96.

32 The hypothesis of a different kind of performance for the final part of this Credo – that is, a monophonic conclusion or a final in a vernacular language – is rather unlikely. We only know one example of a Credo sung in the first part in Latin and in the second part in Italian in the so-called Cialini fragment (Perugia, Biblioteca del Dottorato dell’Università, incunabolo Inv. 15755 NF). See Brumana, Biancamaria and Ciliberti, Galliano, Frammenti musicali del Trecento nell’incunabolo inv. 15755 N.F. della Biblioteca del dottorato dell’Università degli studi di Perugia (Firenze, 2004)Google Scholar; Gozzi, ‘Liturgia’, 60–7.

33 This is the case of the two three-voice Credos from Apt, Trésor de la Basilique Sainte-Anne, MS 16 bis, fols. 27v–29r and fols. 32v–34r. The information comes from a comparison with the very useful tables concerning the position of voices on the folios of Ivrea, Biblioteca capitolare, MS 105 and Apt 16 bis in Moll, Kevin N., ‘Folio Format and Musical Organisation in the Liturgical Repertoire of the Ivrea and Apt Codices’, Early Music History, 23 (2004), 85152CrossRefGoogle Scholar, at 147–52.

34 The latter possibility is rather weak. We know that in other sources the evidence of authorship is usually located at the top of the folio and not at the bottom. Paolo da Firenze cannot be referred to by this note, since the composition and the whole manuscript predate Paolo's creative activity.

35 The main source of this Mass is Tournai, Bibliothèque Capitulaire, A 27 (olim 476), fols. 28r–33v, [RISM B/IV/2, 48–51], the Credo is on fols. 30r–31v. Dumoulin, Jean, Huglo, Michel, Mercier, Philippe and Pycke, Jacques, La Messe de Tournai. Une messe polyphonique en l’honneur de Notre-Dame à la Cathédrale de Tournai au XIVe siècle. Étude et nouvelle transcription, Tornacum. Études interdisciplinaires relatives au patrimoine culturel tournaisien 4 (Tournai and Louvain, 1988)Google Scholar.

36 The other three manuscripts containing this Credo are Apt, Cathédrale Sainte-Anne, Trésor, 16 bis, fols. 42v–45, [RISM B/IV/2, 104–15]; Burgos, Monasterio de Las Huelgas, fols. 165v, 153–4 [RISM B/IV/1, 210–37]; Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, Va. 21–8, fols. 272–4 [RISM B/IV/2, 97]. Michel Huglo, ‘Le manuscrit de la Messe de Tournai’, in La Messe de Tournai, ed. J. Dumoulin et al. (Tournai, 1988), 19–21; Charles van den Borren, ‘Introduction’, in Missa Tornacensis, ed. idem, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae 13 (Rome, 1957), II–IV. For bibliographic references to the editions, recordings and literature, see the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music,, or Medieval Music Database,

37 Huglo, Le manuscrit, 21; Anglès, Higini, ‘Una nueva versión del Credo de Tournai’, Révue Belge de Musicologie, 8 (1954), 97–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar, reprinted later in Higini Anglès, Scripta musicologica, Storia e letteratura 131 (Roma, 1975), 1:1131–4. See also the opinion of van den Borren in his Introduction, III: ‘Les manuscrits qui contiennent le Credo [. . .], en dehors de celui de Tournai, offrent cette particularité de se localiser dans des régions du midi de la France (Apt) ou relativement peu éloignées de celui-ci (Ivrea, Las Huelgas, Madrid). On en a induit que leur répertoire était, au moins en grande partie, le reflet de celui qui avait cours à Avignon, du temps que les papes y avaient leur résidence (1309–1376). Il semble bien que cette hypothèse, généralement acceptée à l’heure qu’il est, puisse être admise comme une quasi certitude. Il y a donc de fortes chances pour que le Credo de la Messe de Tournai [. . . soit] de provenance avignonnaise.’

38 It is impossible that an additional folio, now lost, was inserted between fols. 7 and 9, where the missing voices could have been written, because in this case the sequence of pieces for the Mandatum, on the other side of the folios, would have been interrupted.

39 For example, in the case of the word Patrem (bar 2).

40 Charles van den Borren also defined as ‘timid’ the change from the notation of Las Huelgas and Madrid to that of Tournai and Apt. Van den Borren, Introduction, II.

41 The first Amen cannot be combined with the two following fragments of music to obtain a three-voice setting of the Amen or an end with three consecutive Amens. For this reason, a separate transcription of the two final pieces is presented (Ex. 4b and 4c).

42 Corpus troporum: 7. Tropes du Sanctus, édition critique par Gunilla Iversen, Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis. Studia Latina Stockholmiensia 34 (Stockholm, 1990).

43 Ibid., 34–5.

44 On the theme of the Virgin Mary in the tropes of Sanctus, see ibid., 45–6. On the theme of Trinity, see ibid., 20–1, 38–41.

45 For this strophe, see Analecta hymnica [AH], 35, 216, strophe 82.

46 Ave . . . cella: AH 35, 216, strophe 84. The epithet Dei cella is an expression that can also be found in the Laudario of Cortona.

47 As in many other similar examples, the square notation suggests a mensural interpretation. However, the notation does not stress the trochaic rhythm of the verse, which is a very explicit sign of the proportional use of the values. Therefore, I have decided to transcribe the trope in a non-mensural notation, due also to the extreme uncertainty of some sections.

48 Il canto fratto: l’altro gregoriano. Atti del convegno internazionale di studi, Parma – Arezzo, 3–6 dicembre 2003, ed. Marco Gozzi and Francesco Luisi, Miscellanea Musicologica 7 (Rome, 2005); Cantus fractus italiano: un’antologia, ed. Marco Gozzi, Musica Mensurabilis 4 (Hildesheim, 2012).

49 In this passage, French notation probably used a series of five semibreves and a longa which created problems for the transcription into Italian notation: Gozzi, ‘Alle origini’, 251–54.

50 This formula is present on the words ‘omnipotentem’, ‘unigenitum’, ‘vero’, ‘salutem’, ‘caelis’, ‘vivificantem’, ‘remissionem’.

51 A similar cadential formula is found in the manuscript Siena, Biblioteca Comunale, H.I.10. Considering that in our version the minima is only found in this passage, we chose to transcribe the group semibrevis+minima with a triplet in a binary measure.

52 This formula is present on the words ‘terrae’, ‘invisibilium’, ‘factum’, ‘nobis’, ‘Pilato’, ‘die’.

53 Cividale del Friuli, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, LXXIX, added folio [RISM B/IV/3–4, vol. II, 750–1, no. 3].

54 Mallorca, Archivo capitular, breviary-missal with notation – Cantoral de la Concepció, fols. 54v–55v. See Cristina Menzel Sansó, ‘Canto fratto nei libri liturgici della cattedrale di Maiorca’, in Il canto fratto, ed. Gozzi and Luisi, 321–38, at 326–7.

55 Tangari, Nicola, ‘Un kyriale in canto fratto e un Amen a tre voci nell’Archivio capitolare di Urbino’, Rivista Internazionale di Musica Sacra, 27 (2006), 105–24Google Scholar.

56 Cattin, Giulio, ‘Secundare e succinere. Polifonia a Padova e Pistoia nel Duecento’, Musica e storia, 3 (1995), 41120Google Scholar.

57 See Tangari, ‘Due manoscritti’ and ‘Particolarità’. In the latter I have highlighted other connections between France and Italy, as in the case of some proses where there can be a misunderstanding of the Italian mensuration system according to the custom of the French mensura.

58 Research on this topic is only in its embryonic stages, at least regarding the complex relationships between liturgy, music and the reception of the pieces. See Gozzi, ‘Liturgia’, 54.

59 A recent census of music for the ordinarium missae in mensural and polyphonic sources of Italian Trecento includes fifty-four Gloria, thirty-nine Credo, seventeen Sanctus, eleven Benedictus, seven Kyrie, five Agnus and three Deo Gratias. See Gozzi, ‘Liturgia’, 59.

60 Gozzi, ‘The trecento’.

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