PRoMs - The Production and Reading of Music Sources

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

Manuscript: Modena, Italy, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, alpha.M.1.12 (Lat. 455; olim V.H.9)

Manuscript type: choirbook

RISM siglum: I-MOe M. 1.12

DIAMM Source Key: 2090

Image repositories: Biblioteca Estense Universitaria

Folio(s): All folios

Date: 1481

Location of origin: Ferrara, Italy


Copied in Ferrara, for use at the ducal court of Ercole I d'Este (reigned 1471-1505). Este family library transferred from Ferrara to Modena in 1598; joined to Modena university library in 1892 (DIAMM)


Person: di San Giorgio, Fra Filippo
Person type: scribe

Basis for description: original

Modena, Italy, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, alpha.M.1.12 (Lat. 455; olim V.H.9), All folios

Physical description

Material: parchment

Number of leaves: i + 101 + i

Format: upright

Page dimensions: 560 x 395

Quire structure: Text version

Title page / Frontispiece: none. Modern title on front endpaper 'Secondo Coro.'

Other devices: 1. Original quire signatures, brown ink recto bottom right (only traces remain), a1-a4 etc. Quire vi is h1-h6, quire vii j1-j5, quire viii k1-k4.
2. modern foliation pencil recto top right, 1-116.

Page details (zoom):

Preparation and Copying

All folios


Disposition of Voice Parts Key

Pricking always,
prick for each ruled stave in outer margins, often trimmed off; not aligned with bottom staveline, but consistently below it (corresponding to top of the two text lines, but present also where text lines are not drawn, so correspondence either by accident or a secondary benefit. Vertical bounding lines pricked at top and bottom, bottom pricks often trimmed off
Ruled grid always,
single vertical bounding lines; text on double line 5 mm apart; rarely text lines below every stave, normally added only where text present
Ruling pattern highly regular
9 pentagrams, very parallel and even
Staves omitted from grid never
Incomplete staves never
Medium and colour of grid Frequency Folios Note
hard point or lead point always bounding lines
red ink always text lines
Colour of staves Frequency Folios Note
black always
Ruling medium Frequency Folios Note
single rastrum always
Indentation for initials Frequency Folios Note
none always no indented staves, music either indented over 1 stave to accommodate initials or initials in left margin
Extra space between voice parts Frequency Folios Note
empty ruled staves on grid often
Space provided for separate text Frequency Folios Note
not in dedicated space occasionally 34v-37v some hymns with multiple strophes, written over stave
Adhoc adaptation Frequency Folios Note
notation and staves extended into margin rarely
notation extended into margin occasionally

Copying of text and music

Language(s) Latin
Higlighting litterae notabiliores for initials of subsections in line or in margin if section begins at the beginning of a line, large capitals alternating red and blue with penwork in opposite colour
Order of Copying music first
Presence/absence of text Voice part Frequency Folios Note
fully texted with one text all voice parts normally
Colour(s) of notation black
Type(s) of notation void mensural
Type of notation note rhomboid shape, quite slender
Monophonic notation present
chant incipits in square notation. Passages of the soliloquents in the passion on f. 91v-101r in unrhythmicised square notation
Level of calligraphy very high
Non verbal performance instructions Folios Note
signes-de-renvoi 5v-6r, 6v-7r, 44v-45r, 46v-47r
Types of script textura
Types of script note with cursive elements
Level of calligraphy very high
Colour(s) of text black
Multiple texts yes
Telescoped psalms
Text repetitions fairly few
Abbreviations fairly few
Non underlaid vocal text additional
occasionally addiotional strophes for hymns
Liminary text Liturgical designation or psalm title, occasionally, above verso and/or recto at beginning of new piece. Composer names above new piece, sometimes. Cross-reference, rarely, f. 88v-9rr. Voice designations for T, Ct and B, separate from initial above music or in left margin normally. Fauxbourdon instruction, sometimes. All in black ink in the same size and style as underlaid text.
Later changes bottom of f. 80v-81 and all of 81v-82r text erased and overwritten


Level of Decoration fair
Decoration miniature frequency Folios Size position Description Discrepancies
rarely 1v cot out
Decoration border frequency Border type Folios Size Position Description Discrepancies
rarely None 1v partial borders: two-sided lower margin, outer margin
Decoration initial type Frequency Folios Initial type(s) Size position Description Discrepancies
painted initials often calligraphic , flourished beginning of every new piece, discantus only. Purple, red, blue, and green on gold, with filigree work and foliage designs
penned initials normally Initials of voices other than discantus or subsections of discantus, in margin or more rarely in indentation Large capitals alternating in red and blue with penwork in opposite colour