Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music

Source: GB-Lbl Add. MS 36881

chant book with polyphonic sections, 12th or early 13th centuries; provenance: France

British Library [GB-Lbl]
Add. MS 36881
12th or early 13th centuries

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External/additional data sources:

British Library online catalogue entry

RISM description:

RISM B/IV 1: A 12th or early 13th century parchment Troper of South French origin meas. 160 x 105 mm. and containing 27 folios, which consist of 3 quaternios and an incomplete ternio (i.e. the last 3 folios were cut out, leaving stubs). The ternio is smaller than the rest, meas. 132 x 102 mm., and uses a rudimentary square notation. It is, moreover, in a different hand and employs blue as well as red initials; it is probably slightly later than the corpus, for it has 7 red four-line staves per page, but only contains monodies. The corpus (f. 1-24v) is clearly in Aquitanian point notation (oblongs, often joined in ligature) on dry-point staves, usually of four lines but varying, with g, c or f letters as clefs. The initials are all red and a red line divides the two parts in polyphony. There are rudimentary bar-lines, as in other mss of this period, and 8 or 9 staves per page. Monody alternates with polyphony, and in the corpus groups I and III are polyphonic (f. 1-14 and 17-23), groups II and IV mainly monodic (f. 14-16v and 23-24v), though no. 20 turns out to be in two parts in spite of its monodic appearance. There is a gap before f. 17, and evidently odd pages or perhaps a complete fascicle are missing. The binding is a piece of parchment 170 x 130 mm. which contains 15th century letters of the alphabet inside the back cover. There is no old foliation, but a modern red ink pagination at t.r.r. and t.l.v. has been crossed out and replaced by a modern pencil foliation at t.r.r. The ms was purchased by the British Museum on January 12, 1904 from P. Birb. It is generally considered by scholars that StM-D is not from St. Martial itself, but the polyphonic repertoire is largely concordant with StM-A, B and C.

Please send corrections or new information to diamm[at]music.ox.ac.uk for consideration by the editorial board

France , South
Aquitanian point


  • View Marshall, J M: 'Hidden Polyphony in a Manuscript from St. Martial de Limoges' Journal of the American Musicological Society 15 (1962), 131ff , 142f (transcription of StM-D 3 and 17) [Notes: none]
  • View Parrish, Christopher: The Notation of Medieval Music (1957) [2nd edn, New York, 1978] , pl. XXII (facsimile of StM-D, f. 2-2v) [Notes: none]
  • View Hughes, Dom A: Vol. 2New Oxford History of Music , 296ff [Notes: none]
  • View Stäblein, Bruno: Vol. 11'Saint-Martial' Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 1st Edition , 1265 (transcription of StM-D 28); 1263ff [Notes: none]
  • View Schneider, M: Geschichte der Mehrstimmigkeit 2 vols. (1935) , nos. 117, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124 + 125 (transcriptions of StM-D 3, 1, 2, 8, 9, 5 and 16); 84ff [Notes: none]
  • View Spanke, Hans: 'St. Martial-Studien' Zeitschrift für französische Sprache und Literatur 54 (1930-1931), 282ff,385ff , 315ff, 399 [Notes: none]
  • View Spanke, Hans: 'Die Londoner St. Martial-Conductushandschrift', and Anglès, H: 'La música del Ms. de Londres, British Museum, Add. 36881' Butlletí de la Biblioteca de Catalunya 8 (1928-1932), 280ff , 301 (facs. of StM-JDf.llv-12); 305ff, 307f, 308f, 309, 310, 311, 311, 312, 314 (transcriptions of StM-D 1, 2, 13-19 and 27); 289ff (complete texts) [Notes: none]

Table of contents

  • View 1 1-2v Per laetatis pastum
  • View 2 2v-3 Omnis curet homo promere cantica
  • View 3 3-3v Noster cetus psallat laetus
  • View 4 4-5v Per partum virginis
  • View 5 5v-7v Veri solis radius et sol pleni
  • View 6 7v-8 O primus homo coruit
  • View 7 8-8v Divinum stillant desuper
  • View 8 8v-9v Lux refulget de supernis edita
  • View 9 9v-10 Vellus rore caelesti maduit
  • View 10 10-10v Gaudia debita temporis
  • View 11 10v-11 Per[/Rex] omnia tenens imperio
  • View 12 11-11v Dulci Signum melodia
  • View 13 11v-12 Oi, dex! Quam brevis est vita
  • View 14 12 Congaudet hodie celestes curia
  • View 15 12 Patris ingeniti filius venit ... Domino
  • View 16 12v-13 Cantu miro summa laude
  • View 17 13v Primi mundi seducta sobole
  • View 18 13v Catholicorum concio summo cum gaudio
  • View 19 13v-14 Gregis pastor Titirus asinorum
  • View 20 15-16v Clangat hodie vox nostra
  • View 21 17-17v [Decorata tribus miraculis] … populis dies ista … [expl.] hominem subintravit
  • View 22 17v-18v Oriente oriens stella nova
  • View 23 18v-19v Delictis hominis subintrat
  • View 24 19v-20v De monte lapis scinditur
  • View 25 20v-21 Chorus noster recolat
  • View 26 21-21v Quam felix cubiculum
  • View 27 21v-22 Res iocosa quod hec rosa
  • View 28 22-22v Ora pro nobis, beate Nicolae
  • View 29 22v-23 Ad honorem sempiterni regis


Persons and places
  • owner: P. Birb

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