'Anonymous 4', In A Collection Of Tracts On Shorthand, Music, Etc.
Medium: Ink on vellum
In the Middle Ages the cost of binding books was a considerable part of the overall expense of creating a manuscript, so, rather than bind short works individually, several different works--having more or less in common with one another--would often be bound together. This volume, of only 80 leaves, contains a dozen texts, originally written as several different sections. A late medieval list of contents and press-mark on a flyleaf shows that it used to contain even more texts, and belonged to the library at the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds.
In the 19th century an editor gave the names Anonymous 1, Anonymous 2, etc. to works whose author was unknown. The most important of these is a treatise on music by 'Anonymous 4', because it describes important musical practice at Notre Dame in Paris, and names (on this page) the master composers Leonin and Perotin.