The liturgical section of Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fonds latin 1240 (Pa 1240) is the earliest extant source for an extended repertoire of tropes, liturgical songs designed to embellish the Proper and Ordinary mass chants. This section of the manuscript has long been considered to have originated at the Abbey of St Martial in Limoges, southern France, during the second quarter of the tenth century. The present study examines both the trope repertoire and the other material contained in the liturgical section of the manuscript, and is able to confirm both the origin at St Martial and that the chants represent a primitive state of transmission.
Volume 1 of the dissertation contains a brief outline of the historical context for the trope genre; identification of the sources used in the research and their division into regional traditions; and a detailed examination of the southern French repertoire in particular. The order in which the liturgical sections of Pa 1240 were compiled is discussed, and the the work of a number of scribes (text and notation) is identified. An evaluation of the liturgical material is made. The trope repertory reveals at least 9 layers of activity. Some material indicates a primitive northern tradition which was undergoing a process of adaptation; other tropes were recent indigenous compositions. Among the latter, a number were to be stable constituents of a later codified repertory, whereas other tropes quickly became obsolete. Not only is there clear evidence for compositional activity at St Martial, but also for one or more centres elsewhere in southern France. Pa 1240 is unique among the St Martial manuscripts in transmitting some of these tropes, though as additions to its main repertoire.
Volume 2 presents the trope repertory with the adiastematic notation transcribed on a five-line staff.
Volume 3 presents a commentary on the transcription given in Volume 2, following the manuscript order. Information regarding the influences on the individual tropes of Pa 1240 are presented and discussed in detail.