PRoMs - The Production and Reading of Music Sources

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

Manuscript: Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Chigi C VIII 234

Manuscript type: choirbook

RISM siglum: CV-Vbav Chigi C.VIII.234

DIAMM Source Key: 943

Image repositories: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

Folio(s): All folios

Date: c. 1498-1503

with additions after 1514 (Kellman 1976, Kellman 1999).

Location of origin: Brussels, Belgium ; Mechelen, Belgium


Belongs to Netherlands court complex Kellman 1999. Originally prepared for the courtier Philippe Bouton (1418-1515). Manuscript subsequently taken to Spain, probably by the latter's son, Claude, or by a Spanish nobleman; later additions copied in Spain. Apparently owned in Spain by Folch de Cardona and Fernandez de Cordova families (based on the presence of their coats of arms). Later owned by Fabio Chigi (1599-1667), elected Pope Alexander VII in 1655. Chigi family collection purchased by Italian government in 1918; ceded to BAV in 1923.

Basis for description: original

Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Chigi C VIII 234, All folios

Physical description

Material: parchment

Number of leaves: 289

Format: upright

Page dimensions: 370 x 275

Quire structure: Text version

Index / Table of Contents: on front pastedown

Other devices: 1.Early foliation (added in Spain after 1514) brown ink recto top right, i-cclxxviii (two consecutive folios numbered 'lxiii'; two consecutive groups of folios numbered 'lxxiiii-lxxviii'; two consecutive folios numbered 'cxv,' followed by folio numbered 'cxvii').
2. Modern stamped foliation recto bottom right, 1-289.

Page details (zoom):

Preparation and Copying

All folios


Disposition of Voice Parts Key

Pricking none visible
Ruled grid normally,
single line to left and right, text on single line, added where necessary
Ruling pattern fairly regular
3-10 pentagrams, custom-ruled according to repertoire. Apparently ruled freehand, sometimes slightly uneven, not parallel and matching on recto and verso, slightly varying in distance. Based on a standard ruling of 9 staves, but many exceptions and staves in reduced textures not always on the regular grid
Staves omitted from grid often
Incomplete staves occasionally
Medium and colour of grid Frequency Folios Note
hard point always
Colour of staves Frequency Folios Note
black always
Ruling medium Frequency Folios Note
single rastrum always
Indentation for initials Frequency Folios Note
triple rarely custom-ruled according to repertoire
double often custom-ruled according to repertoire
single often custom-ruled according to repertoire
Extra space between voice parts Frequency Folios Note
empty ruled staves on grid occasionally
staves not ruled on grid sometimes
variable space, not on grid sometimes
Space provided for separate text Frequency Folios Note
no separate text always
Adhoc adaptation Frequency Folios Note
made for complete additional staves occasionally
notation extended into margin occasionally

Copying of text and music

Language(s) Latin
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 shaped notation, slender and regular
Monophonic notation absent
Level of calligraphy high
Non verbal performance instructions Folios Note
signes-de-renvoi sometimes
signa congruentiae sometimes
Line fillers Folios Note
often repeated custodes
Types of script cursive (bastarda)
Level of calligraphy fair,
variable, sometimes very neat and at other times rather sloppy
Colour(s) of text black red
cantus firmus text (incipits) in red
Multiple texts yes
Cantus formus text (incipit) in red interleaved with mass ordinary text, sometimes; also in tenor motets at the end
Text repetitions few
Abbreviations fairly many
Non underlaid vocal text none
Liminary text composer ascriptions, normally; mass titles as rubrics below music; duo, verte, tacet, canon, ut supra, regularly. Voice designations, residuum, for lower voices upright in margin or indentation


Level of Decoration very high
Decoration miniature frequency Folios Size position Description Discrepancies
rarely 3v, 19v top left, for D
Decoration border frequency Border type Folios Size Position Description Discrepancies
rarely decorated 19v, 20r full borders inner margin, lower margin, outer margin, upper margin
occasionally decorated at the beginning of every mass and most motets partial borders: one- and two-sided lower margin, outer margin some scattered, some inhabited, some zoomorphic. Some with scattered figures, animals or plants in outer margins
Decoration initial type Frequency Folios Initial type(s) Size position Description Discrepancies
penned initials normally calligraphic , flourished for lower voices voice-name initials (followed by abbreviated or full voice-name), for D initial of sung text
painted initials occasionally calligraphic with decoration, decorated with grotesque heads, flourished for D at beginning of masses and motets large (usually three staves) and elaborately decorated and flourished
Other decoration frequency Folios Other decoration type(s) Size position Description Discrepancies
often Voice-names lower voices instead of initials often written-out voice-name in display script upright in indentation or left margin; same for 'Residuum'.