Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music


Ralph Corrigan, The Music Manuscript 2216 in the Bologna University Library: the copying and context of a fifteenth-century choirbook (PhD, University of Manchester, 2011)

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The manuscript Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, 2216 (BU) is one of three surviving manuscripts from the first half of the fifteenth century believed to have originated in the Veneto. Between them, these three sources contain the bulk of the surviving repertory from this period and location. However, BU has long been considered a subordinate source to the other two. In part this is due to its size, containing only a third as many works as each of the others. But it is also because of the date attributed to it. Since the publication of the facsimile edition of BU in 1968 and Alberto Gallo’s commentary the following year, the conventionally held date for the completion of copying has been sometime after 1440. This has led to BU being treated as a source distanced from the material it contains and its many variant readings being explained as a result of scribal editing or stemmatic drift.

The first part of this thesis examines the evidence behind this proposed date and concludes that it is not secure. There follows a fresh codicological examination of BU that explains how the manuscript was created and the music copied into it. This establishes that a more likely date for BU’s compilation is 1433 or shortly after, making the copying contemporaneous with the composition of some of the items contained. It also means that the copying of BU was completed around the same time as its closest concordant sources. The second part then looks at the role of the scribe in editing and developing the works he copied, before examining the relationship between BU and its concordances.

1. BU: history, literature, and inventories
2. The manuscript’s construction
3. The copying of BU
4. The copying layers of BU
5. Notational use in the manuscript
6. The provenance of BU
7. The scribe as editor
8. The concordances
9. Arnold de Lantins – Missa Verbum incarnatum