We primarily know medieval music from liturgical manuscripts or books that also contain relevant material for worship. Over the course of the Middle Ages, musical notation changed significantly as scribes adopted new, more precise methods. The notation of the manuscripts seen here reflects developments in the copying of music during the late Middle Ages: scribes copied the notation on four-line red staves to indicate precise pitch and used square-shaped notes, which commonly appear beginning in the thirteenth century.

Takamiya MS 103: Processional: use of Sarum

Takamiya MS 103. Processional, Use of Sarum. England, East Anglia (?), first quarter of fifteenth century. 

Takamiya MS 103, a processional for Sarum use, was copied in the early fifteenth century for the parish church of St. Mary in Redgrave, Suffolk. Processionals are liturgical books that provide relevant materials for processions during Christian feasts. For example, this opening is for the procession of the feast of Pentecost.

Takamiya MS 82: Choir breviary

Takamiya MS 82. Choir breviary (fragment). England, first half of fifteenth century. 

Takamiya MS 82 is a fragment of a fifteenth-century breviary, a manuscript containing all relevant texts for the Divine Office. Considering its large size and the rubrication in red (indicating material performed by a cantor), this manuscript was likely used in a choir.


Beinecke MS 286: Missal, use of Sarum

Beinecke MS 286. Missal, Use of Sarum. England, 1390-1400.

Beinecke MS 286, dating from the late fourteenth century, is a missal, a book that contains all chants and readings for the celebration of Mass.