Scholastic Imagery in The Florence Manuscript

Scholastic Imagery in The Florence Manuscript

Catalano, George

Essays in Medieval Studies, vol. 7 (1990)


The Florence manuscript was produced in Paris during the mid-thirteenth century by a lay workshop now known as the Johannes Grusch atelier, a named coined by Robert Branner. This manuscript contains the largest extant collection of music in the “Notre Dame” style. Apart from Branner’s work, the Parisian origin of this manuscript has been determined in several ways: (1) It includes a copy of what a 13th-century theorist, commonly known as Anonymous IV, described as the magnus liber organi used at the cathedral of Paris; (2) The chants upon which the polyphonic compositions of the magnus liber organi are built are Parisian variants; (3) Though several manuscripts containing this music are extant, this is the only one in which the polyphony conforms without exception to the edicts of the Bishops of Paris governing polyphonic performance; (4) Furthermore, the correspondence between details of its liturgical cycles of organa and the known activities of the singers of the cathedral is often so strong that there can be little doubt that this manuscript represents a copy of the cathedral’s magnus liber organi and not another church’s within the Parisian diocese.

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