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IMC 2006: Sessions

Session 1126: Roman Interactions with Extra-Roman Musical Traditions in Western Europe

Wednesday 12 July 2006, 11.15-12.45

Organiser:Emma C. Hornby, Goldsmith College, University of London
Moderator/Chair:Susan Boynton, Department of Music, Columbia University
Paper 1126-aNew Evidence on the Anglo-Saxon Encounter with Roman Chant
(Language: English)
Peter Jeffery, Department of Music, Princeton University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Liturgy, Literacy and Orality, Music
Paper 1126-bUrban and Extra-Urban Elements of the Medieval Roman Easter Vigil
(Language: English)
Joseph Dyer, Department of Music, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Index terms: Music
Paper 1126-cPsalm 17, the Vespasian Psalter, and the Roman Office in Early Anglo-Saxon England
(Language: English)
Jesse D. Billett, St John's College, University of Cambridge
Index terms: Music

Abstract paper -a: Anglo-Saxon schools emphasized the vocal recitation and chanting of the psalms according to Roman liturgical practice. The curriculum of the Canterbury school was carried by its alumni to Malmesbury, Hexham, Rochester, Northumbria. Other schools boasted teachers trained in Rome: York, Hexham, Ripon, Wearmouth. Extant Psalter MSS illustrate the teaching of Latin pronunciation and accentuation. Newly-discovered MSS lay out the annual cycle of Bible readings, and preserve some early antiphons, A continental adaptation of an Aldhelm poem points to English/Roman differences over the liturgical participation of women, and the origin of the tradition that Gregory the Great compiled Gregorian chant.

Abstract paper -b: The S Cecilia Epistolary (Yale University, Beinecke Library, MS 1000) is a fragmentary witness to the medieval liturgy of Rome in the titular church where the manuscript was copied. Presently it contains Epistle and Old Testament readings for about half of Lent, part of Holy Week and Easter Week, all the Sundays after Easter, Sundays 4-14 after Pentecost, and a portion of the September Ember Days. The most distinctive feature of the epistolary in its present state is the series of twelve readings for the Easter Vigil, which preserves very long readings from Jonah (chs. 1-3) and Daniel (3:1-52 and excerpts from the succeeding 48 verses). Comparison of this series with those found in other sources suggests that (some) Romans were willing to adopt practices not indigenous to the city, whether directly from the North or via Beneventan intermediaries, but they resisted abandoning customs for which they had special affection. The latter included sections of the long readings (the prayers of Johan and Azarias, the canticle of the three young men) sung to a canticle tone that departed from the conventional lesson tone. The canticles at the ends of three of the lessons, on the other hand, were eliminated and simply replaced by Gregorian eighth-mode tracts.

Abstract paper -c: The 8th-century Vespasian Psalter (British Library MSS Cotton, Vespasian A. i) uses decorated initials to divide the psalms according to the Roman liturgy for the Divine Office. This psalter, along with two other early English psalters, gives a special and unexpected prominence to Psalm 17, which is unimportant in the medieval Roman Office, suggesting that the Vespasian Psalter presents a distinctive form of the Office found only in early England. Archaic preservations in later Office antiphoners reveal, however, that Psalm 17 was very important in an ancient form of the Roman Office not preserved elsewhere. Distinctive traits of the Roman Office, especially its use of seven daily hours, can be found in numerous early sources, revealing that the Roman form of the Divine Office was the dominant influence on English monastic Office liturgy before the 10th-century Benedictine movement.