Glossary

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antiphon

From Western Christian liturgical tradition, a short text recited or sung either preceding or following a canticle or psalm. See also: psalm tone.

ascender

In music notation, a short vertical line extending upward, often from the head of a note or neume form. See also: descender, stem.

binion

In manuscript production, a quire made of two sheets of parchment folded in half, producing four leaves, eight sides in total. (Single sheet: bifolium, 5 sheets: quinion)

concordance

A musical text present in multiple manuscript sources.

descender

In music notation, a short vertical line extending downward, often from the head of a note or neume form. See also: ascender, stem.

double consonant

Either the same consonant letter occurring twice in succession within a word, or two different consonant letters occurring in succession.

erasure

An instance when written text or music notation has been removed from the parchment via scraping or other method of removal.

facsimile

A printed book that attempts to re-create the appearance of a manuscript. Typically containing photographs of the manuscript, though the level of detail and quality may vary. Facsimiles have been in use since the mid to late 19th century.

folio

One sheet (front and back) of writing material (in the SoBS manuscripts, parchment). Abbreviated as f. for a single page, ff. for multiple pages. See also: leaf.

gathering

Also called a quire or booklet, a single unit of measurement for the groupings of writing material that make up a manuscript or book.

hand

Referring to the particular script or handwriting of an individual scribe.

head

In musical notation, the bulk of a note or neume, not including the stem. Often found in a variety of shapes including square, diamond, and oblique.

HLH

A system of abbreviation used here to mean an ad hoc 3-note neume that does not take any of the usual forms, or a compound neume of 4 notes or longer which have no standard forms to begin.  H refers to high, L to low, and M to middle. A 4-note example could read ‘HMLM’.

hymn

In Western Christian music, a strophic composition typically sung for the Divine Office, though exceptions exist. Text is typically metrical and in praise of a deity.

leaf

One sheet (front and back) of writing material (in the SoBS manuscripts, parchment). Abbreviated as f. for a single page, ff. for multiple pages. See also: folio.

ligature

Has a variety of meanings, but in the context of this material can be defined as a neume made up of two or more notes which also conveys information pertaining to the notes’ rhythm through its shape. Forms eventually standardized in a system by Franco of Cologne, ca. 1280.

liquescence

A feature of neume characters indicating a semi-vocalized note. Typically used when diphthongs, double consonants, or other specific consonants are present in the song text.For further information (including a list of instances where liquescence can be used), see Liquescent in Oxford Music Online. See also: plica.

melisma

A group of notes sung to one syllable of text.

manuscript

A handwritten source. Often abbreviated as MS (singular) and MSS (plural).

notator

A scribe writing music notation.

plica

From the Latin ‘fold’, a term used to describe a two-note liquescent neume. See also: liquescent.

pricking

The practice of marking a folio using a sharp point (knife or other tool) to guide the ruling of the page.

psalm tone

The chant melody used for singing a psalm, usually preceded and followed by an antiphon. See also: antiphon.

quilisma

A neume typically covering the space of a 3rd between two notes, resembling a wavy line connecting the lower initial note to the higher 3rd that follows. Not to be confused with the wave note, though scholars are unsure of how both neumes are performed. See also: wave note.

quire

Also called a gathering or booklet, a single unit of measurement for the groupings of writing material that make up a manuscript or book.

recto

The front side of a folio. When referring to MS folios, recto will often be noted after the folio number, ex. [folio number]r. See also: folio, verso.

ruling

The process of marking horizontal lines and/or a frame on a page to guide writing. The drawing of these lines was guided by the process of pricking. See also: pricking.

rubric

From the Latin for red, rubric refers to a title or heading at the top of a page that helps identify the page’s contents or provide instructions for use. Typically distinguished from the content by use of red ink.

s.xii, s.xiii (&c)

A system of referring to centuries. S is an abbreviation for saeculum, or ‘century’, and the Roman numerals refer to the particular century. For example, s.xiii would mean the thirteenth century. Superscript Arabic numerals indicate a particular part of the century, typically using division in halves or quarters. 

scribe

The person (or persons) who wrote out the text and/or notation found in a manuscript. Sometimes separate scribes were used for music and text, but this was not always the case.

script

Refers to the handwriting used in manuscripts. Can refer to a specific writing of a particular scribe, or to common styles of writing used by many scribes during a certain time period.

sequence

The repetition or restatement of a melodic passage immediately after its first iteration. Often used with poetic verse structures that can be split into two versicles. See also: versicle.

soft consonant

A consonant that can be produced without using the tongue or lips to stop the flow of air. This includes groups such as fricatives (f, v, th) and sibilants (s, z, sh). Certain consonants have the possibility of both hard and soft pronunciation (such as the letter C, which can be a hard [k], or a soft [s]).

stave

In Western music notation, the set of horizontal lines and spaces that represent a musical pitch. Pitch is determined by the placement of a clef on the stave lines. In the SoBS corpus staves are typically between 3 and 5 lines.

stem

The vertical line either ascending or descending from a note head. For example, virgae have stems, while puncta do not. See also: ascender, descender.

trope

The addition of new music and/or text to already-existing chants. These additions can range from inserting new melismas into a line to adding entire new verses including text and music.

versicle

In poetic verse structure, half of a verse or group of lines that form a stanza. Often used with music following sequence structure, with each versicle sharing the same melodic material, resulting in repeated musical content with different text.

verso

The back side of a folio. When referring to MS folios, verso will often be noted after the folio number, ex. [folio number]v. See also: folio, recto.

wave note

Small neume shaped like a wavy line resembling a quilisma, but with many different uses (rather than the specific context in which the quilisma is found). Can stand alone or be combined with other neumes at their onset, middle or end. Scholars are unsure of how both the wave note and quilisma should be performed. See also: quilisma.