A Glimpse at Twelfth-Century Plainchant in Abruzzo in a Beneventan Bifolium at the Cathedral of San Pelino

Bibiana Vergine
Hollister, CA 95023 USA


A twelfth-century bifolium fragment of a gradual in Beneventan script at the archive of the Cathedral of S. Pelino in Corfinium (Abruzzo) bears signifi- cant similarities to contemporaneous graduals copied in Montecassino and Benevento while simultaneously manifesting local re-contextualization of musical, liturgical, and paleographic traditions for use in Abruzzo. I discuss the historical context and musical significance of the chants in the fragment by analyzing its formularies, melodies, and notation. Despite its similarity with the Beneventan graduals, the fragment contains local and archaic featu- res: the inclusion of offertory verses, the presence of a formulary for SS. Lucia and Geminianus, the omission of a September 29 formulary for S. Michael, the meticulous use of quilismas and liquescences, a recurring variant caden- tial formula in the introit Dicit Dominus and the presence of the Alleluia Vos estis qui permansistis, found fully notated in one other source from Be- nevento. These details help determine the fragment’s origin, give clues as to how the chants might have been sung, and provide a tantalizing glimpse into how once more numerous Beneventan-script liturgical manuscripts used in Abruzzo might have looked. 

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