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Hymn 'Ave gloriosa mater', in a Miscellany

Hymn 'Ave gloriosa mater', in a Miscellany

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1245

Shelfmark: Harley MS 978

Item number: f.9v

Length: 18.9

Width: 13

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

What if someone put together all the bits and pieces of written material that they enjoyed and needed for frequent use? The result might be something like this manuscript, perhaps a medieval version of the web-surfer's 'favourites' list. In Latin and French--with one famous Middle English exception--it has songs, satire and poems for entertainment, along with medical information, a calendar of religious feasts and devotional music. Believed to have been at Reading Abbey in the middle ages, it probably was made at a workshop in Oxford and may have been commissioned by the notorious music-loving monk, William of Winchester.

This page begins a devotional antiphon or song for singing by two or more voices in a 'call and response' pattern. Known by its first words, 'Ave gloriosa mater salvatoris' ('Hail glorious mother of the Saviour'), it has three parts, for contra-tenor, tenor and bass, shown by the musical notation on the fifteen-line stave. The latin lyrics are written in black. Another set of lyrics below in red present a second song in French to the Virgin Mary.

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