Project Status: Ongoing
The research project CANTUS NETWORK, based at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, aims to investigate the records of Christian medieval worship that have survived in manuscript form and describe the practice of liturgical and musical acts of worship. The key sources for this transmission are the liturgical “prompt books”, called liber ordinarius, which include a short form of more or less the entire rite of a diocese or a monastery. Here, prayers, readings and chants are given as in abbreviated form as text incipits.
A liber ordinarius usually includes all information necessary for the church services of an individual institution (church, monastery) or a group (diocese, group of monasteries). On the one hand, this includes the incipits of chants, readings and prayers for the liturgy of the hours, for mass and for processions. On the other hand, it also includes rubrics that provide instructions on how and when particular liturgical actions should be carried out. In a third column, libri ordinarii may contain commentaries on the liturgy taken from standard contemporary works, providing additional information for particular feast days or a particular liturgical activity. A fourth column may provide the unlined neume notation of the chant incipits. When dealing with parts of ordinals, the neumes are the only proof of which piece of music is actually concerned. “Local colour” is created by the combination of the three or four columns, that is, the chant and recital text tradition, the rubrics and the explanations of the liturgy. [the site is in German with an English option]