Creation Date

The Gradual page.

The music used for the new Alleluia is still the music for the original text. There are some notes removed and added to make the new text fit but the music for the word Alleluia is almost identical to the original music. This means the old text was not an error but actually has been used.

Based on the text alteration it is believed that the Gradual page may be from before mid 16th century.

The handwriting for the original text is done in a sort of "angular gothic". The new text is written in a much more "rounded gothic" format.

Based on the used font for the original text is believed that the Gradual page may be from the late 14th until early 16th century.

The music is written on 5-line staves instead of the usual 4-line staves used in Gregorian music. This 5-line staves have been found more often in the south of Europe, specially Spain, in manuscripts written in the 16th or 17th century. In theory the 5th line could be added later, such as during re-editing, but the lines are all identical.

Based on the 5-lines staves the gradual page may be from the 16th or 17th century.

The unusual double clef only has been found in documents using early notation on lines. A nice example of the gradual transition is shown on the "Listen to plainchant" site. Another example is the first pages of the 13th century Antiphonal at display on this web site.
Because Spain has been isolated for many years during the 100 years war it is possible that these old ways of denoting music where still being used in Spain, to and a 17th century Spanish choir book leave using the double clef is available here .

Based on the double clef the Gradual may be from much earlier date than the 16th century except when is has a Spanish origin.

In conclusion, most probable dating for the gradual, under the assumption of a Spanish origin, is first half 16th century, consistent with an update after the council of Trent mid 16th century.

The Antiphonal page.

No formal information is available yet to date this page.

The used font may date from the 14th or 15th century unless it is of Spanish origin where imitations of gothic fonts where used in the 16th and 17th century.

The 5-line staves could suggest a 16th or 17th century date and a Spanish origin.

The music is almost equal to Dominican 14th century sources (Perugia Antiphonal and Poissy Antiphonal which have identical music). Differences may be caused by local dialect differences or because of adaptations being made over the centuries.

The great simplification that started in the 16th century is not visible compared to the 14th century sources. This could be a clue to date the document to 16th century or earlier.

The (lack of) quality of the red stave lines and the writing suggest a late creation date or the document could have been created by a monk being trained.

The style of illumination for the big capital 'E' is more elaborate then the 17th century Spanish manuscripts, but comparable to the 16th century Spanish manuscripts found in the Digital Scriptorum.

In conclusion, taking a Spanish origin into account, most probable dating is 16th century.

What the experts say

The Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the Columbia University was kind enough to have a look at the images and dates the Gradual page as early 16th century and the Antiphonal page as late 16th century which is consistent with above information.

A Research Fellow in Musicology from the School of Arts and Media of the La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia also was kind enough to have a look at the manuscripts and at the music and dates the Gradual page as 14th century.

The medieval manuscript expert of the University of Leuven dates the Gradual to the 16th century and the Antiphonal to the 14th or 15th century.

Last update : 11 jan 2001