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Psalter

Psalterium

Vellum leaf from an illuminated Medieval Manuscript
Germany (Würzburg); Late 15th Century
Latin Text; Angular Gothic Script, Gothic Notation
44 by 30 cm

This leaf from the Book of Psalms was written in the Benedictine monastery of St. Stephan in Würzburg and dated 1499 A.D. The book hand closely resembles the fine early gothic types called lettre de forme and used by Fust and Schoeffer in their superb Psalter issued in 1457. It is known that these printers also used this type to print the Canon of the mass which was frequently sold as a replacement for the soiled and worn out manuscript pages of that text.

A close examination indicates that the scribe apparently tried to imitate printing type characters in many instances. In just the same way, the first printers had copied in their designs the current local book hand. The line of music giving the "free" melody of the psalm here retains the early XIIth century staff, with the C-line colored yellow and the F-line red. These note forms are frequently called Hufnagelschrift or horse-shoe nail notation because of their resemblance to hobnails.
Keywords: 1400s, Bible, formal, Germany, gothic, initials, music, Old Testament, Psalter, script

Manuscripts | Cary Collection