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Melismas are used to decorate the performance of introits in the early manuscripts of East Francia and of the region of Aquitaine. The former group includes melismas attached to the ends of phrases in manuscripts of the tenth and eleventh centuries. The Aquitanian practice, apart from a few introits that resemble the East Frankish usage, is to add substantial melismas – not the same as those used by the East Franks – to the final soloistic doxology, as a sort of flourish indicating the final reprise. These melismas are sometimes found in tonaries, perhaps for general application to any introit in the mode, and sometimes attached to individual introits. Melismas from Aquitanian tonaries, graduals and tropers are catalogued and described. These melismas are evidently portable, often being used for more than one occasion.
Spanning a millennium of musical history, this monumental volume brings together nearly forty leading authorities to survey the music of Western Europe in the Middle Ages. All of the major aspects of medieval music are considered, making use of the latest research and thinking to discuss everything from the earliest genres of chant, through the music of the liturgy, to the riches of the vernacular song of the trouvères and troubadours. Alongside this account of the core repertory of monophony, The Cambridge History of Medieval Music tells the story of the birth of polyphonic music, and studies the genres of organum, conductus, motet and polyphonic song. Key composers of the period are introduced, such as Leoninus, Perotinus, Adam de la Halle, Philippe de Vitry and Guillaume de Machaut, and other chapters examine topics ranging from musical theory and performance to institutions, culture and collections.
The city of Rome and its religious practices have been an important aspect of Joseph Dyer's scholarship, and the clarity of his work might lead the unwary to imagine that it is easy to find out information about the liturgy of the city. After all, almost all books of the ‘Roman’ liturgy claim in principle to represent the practice of the city itself. More often than not, though, they represent aspects of the Roman liturgy as their scribes perceive it, mixed with a good measure of their local practice. This is what makes the study of manuscripts and of liturgy interesting, of course, but it creates special problems with regard to the city of Rome. In what follows, I have tried to gather the evidence that survives from Roman books themselves — books made for and used in the city of Rome — along with other material that has some bearing on the problem, in an attempt to sketch a single important moment in the liturgical year of the Roman church. I propose to consider Holy Saturday at about the time of our surviving liturgical manuscripts of the city, from the eleventh century to the codification of the liturgy in the thirteenth. I hope that this study may contribute something to an understanding of the problems involved in research on Rome and to a larger picture of the liturgical and ceremonial life of the city itself, as distinct from the Roman liturgy in the larger sense.
The study of any single day in Rome is a challenge, but Holy Saturday is particularly complex, because it is not one thing but many, and because it involves not a single ceremony but the activities of a whole city. The rites of Holy Saturday are many; even if we disregard the Divine Office, said on Holy Saturday as every other day, the solemn rites of the Paschal Vigil are an amalgam of ceremonies arising from different needs and at different times.
The Paschal Vigil has four elements, each of which deserves a study of its own, and some have received a lot of attention:
Among the manuscript fragments in the Archivio comunale of Sutri (Province of Viterbo), Italy, are four consecutive folios of an Old-Roman antiphoner of the later eleventh century. The two bifolios are now identified as fragments 141 (Frammenti teologici 40) and 141bis (Frammenti teologici 41). These fragments, which preserve music for the feasts of Sexagesima, Quinquagesima and Ash Wednesday, are remnants of what appears to be the oldest witness of Old-Roman music for the office. When added to the two surviving antiphoners (London, British Library, Add. MS 29988, of the twelfth century, and Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS San Pietro B 79, of the end of the twelfth century) and two recently discovered fragments (in Frosinone and Bologna), the Sutri fragments bring to five the number of Old-Roman antiphoners of which at least some evidence survives. It begins to appear that manuscripts of this music were once not so rare. The Sutri fragments show some unusual liturgical characteristics that provide new information on the Roman liturgy; I will discuss these aspects shortly.
The material presented here summarizes information that has come to light in the last ten years regarding the repertory and practice of the Beneventan chant of southern Italy. The information itself is provided in tabular form; the commentary that precedes it gives some brief background and points out a few interesting details.
The Beneventan chant is one of those varieties of liturgical song that made the early medieval musical landscape so much more interesting than it later became, after the Carolingian urge to unity, combined with ecclesiastical reform, created a universal music that we now call Gregorian chant.
Some of these early chant repertories have survived: the Ambrosian chant of Milan; the music of the Old Spanish liturgy. Others, like the Gallican chant, have disappeared.