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Shinnick, Emilie Julia Wingo

The Manuscript Assisi, Biblioteca del Sacro Convento, MS 695: A Codicological and Repertorial Study

Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin, 1997

A long-standing enigma in the medieval trope and sequence genres, the thirteenth-century manuscript Assisi, Biblioteca del Sacro Convento, ms. 695 consists of a troper and three prosers and includes eight polyphonic items (four sequences, three tropes and one Gospel). After an introductory chapter which surveys the history of scholarship about the manuscript, Chapter II of this dissertation presents a codicological study of the manuscript, including a consideration of its flourishing, illumination and paleography. The resulting evidence suggests a date in the 1230s, a Parisian origin, and Reims provenance; the codex seems to have originated in Paris, while the locale for which the manuscript was intended was, apparently, Reims. Examination of the repertorial contents consists of four additional chapters.

Chapter III compares the troped and untroped Mass ordinary items and the Varia of Assisi 695 with other collections, finding a stronger English influence than previously recognized. Chapter IV treats the sequences and hymns in the three prosers of Assisi 695. Through comparisons with other representative manuscript collections, chronological, stylistic and geographic layers are distinguished in the three prosers. Although the first proser has close ties to Reims, the second to Saint-Victor, and the third to Notre Dame of Paris, there is also a clear chronological criterion for organization, suggesting a consciousness of historical style on the part of the collector of pieces for the manuscript. Connections to the building of the new cathedral in Reims, to its sculpture and stained glass, and to the ongoing conflict between the Reims burghers and their archbishop and canons are found both in the choice of pieces and in the texts themselves, supporting a date in the 1230s for the manuscript.

Chapter V discusses and analyzes the polyphonic pieces, including the previously unnoticed polyphonic Gospel, and advances analytical arguments for the polyphonic Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus as an intentional grouping, foreshadowing the later polyphonic Mass cycle. Chapter VI provides a conclusion and summary. Finally, a manuscript description, an inventory, and new musical transcriptions and textual translations of all unica, of all pieces original to the manuscript and of the polyphonic pieces are provided as Appendices.