PRoMs - The Production and Reading of Music Sources

Mise-en-page in manuscripts and printed books containing polyphonic music, 1480—1530

How to use the resource

The information contained in the resources can be accessed in two principal ways: the Source List and the Search.

The most direct way to find information on a given book is through the Source List which contains entries in alphabetical order (by city for manuscripts and by title for printed editions). Where appropriate, this information is subdivided into 'Parts' (for composite sources or partbooks). If within a given Part a subdivision into sections is discernible which are prepared and copied in a clearly distinct manner this is likewise presented separately.

The completeness of the information on each source depends on the medium on which the description was based - it is naturally most comprehensive where it was possible to examine the original, the least detailed where only a microfilm was available. Some sources were unavailable in any form and are at this point not included, but we are working on filling the resulting lacunae in due course. The data on origins, provenance, dating etc. was taken from the secondary literature or from resources such as RISM, the Census-Catalogue or DIAMM; a systematic updating of this information lay outside the scope of this project.

It is hoped that most of the information is presented in a self-explanatory fashion, but note for the following fields:

  • 'Manuscript type' or 'Source type' ('Physical type' on the Search page) refers not in the first instance to a functional or repertorial type, but to a type of layout. Thus, 'choirbook' refers to any books laid out in cantus collateralis, including such books that elsewhere might be referred to as chansonniers, songbooks etc.
  • Quire structure: The diagram visualises the relative extent of each quire in the context of the book. Mousing over each quire will display the actual folio range. The information (including some added notes where appropriate) can also be accessed in text form by pressing the 'Text version' link above the diagram.
  • Preparation: This combines information on the overall page size, the size of the text block, and the stave ruling. The size of the text block is measured as a maximum from the top line of the top stave to the bottom line of the bottom stave or the text below it (where present). Where fewer than the full number of staves are ruled, these pages have not been measured individually, but the overall maximum size of the text block is still given.
  • Disposition of voice parts: given the emphasis of this project on mise-en-page, this is recorded as notated, not as sounded. Canonically derived voices are thus not recorded - a four-out-of-one canon will be displayed as a single voice-part. The arrangement of voice-parts on the page or opening is provided schematically; that is, the number of staves accorded to each voice in the diagram may not reflect the number of staves taken up by each voice on the actual page. Single-page layouts or score layouts which may appear on either the verso or the recto side of an opening (or both) are for pragmatic reasons represented on the verso page only. Also, voices are labelled according to their function within the polyphonic texture, not their notated range.

The absence of features is not explicitly recorded; if no information is provided, the user may assume that there was nothing to record.

On the Search page, note the following:

  • The 'free-text' search only captures fields which contain descriptive information (e.g. Provenance, Date note, Scribes etc.) rather than tabular data.
  • The search criteria are cumulative. If you want to remove a criterion, you can do so by deleting it at the top of the page (above the map).
  • In fields where one can select a range of values, remember to press 'Update search' once done to apply those values.

Since this is a facet search interface, 'or'-searches applying multiple criteria within one category at the same time are unfortunately not possible.