Friday, August 17, 2007

The Library of St. Gall

An email list for people who can't get enough news about Gregorian chant just reminded me of one of those astonishing digital libraries that we all somehow take for granted but which, a century ago, would have been seen as an impossible and even miraculous thing: a vast amount of the rare manuscript library of St. Gall is online. The software used to create this online version is not clunky but rather very easy to navigate, even the best I've seen of this sort.

Dom Mocquereau of Solesmes, in the early period of photography, was wild with excitement about what it would mean that the world's rarest chant editions could be distributed to researchers throughout the world so that they could be involved in the great project of preservation and restoration without ever having to leave their own offices. Imagine what he would say about this!

Included here is the Cantatorium of St. Gallen, the earliest complete manuscript with notation (early neumes). It was produced in the 10th century. There is a 12th century Gradual, four versions of the Sequentiary, several of the Antiphonary, Breviaries, and so much more.

It's certainly worth a bookmark.

Below is a post-Guido 14th century manuscript rendered in B&W with some contrast play. The dawn of the modern world!

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