Medieval music manuscript

1415 - 1421

Old Hall manuscript


  • Intro

    The Old Hall manuscript is the most important source for our knowledge of early musical harmony in England. It is made up of one of the oldest surviving collections of English part music (music written in parts for separate players or singers). Most of its music survives nowhere else. It was compiled by a single scribe between about 1415 and 1421. The writing is complex and precise, which suggests that the writer and the intended users of the book were sophisticated and knowledgeable, as were the composers. 


    The manuscript mentions numerous English composers, including one 'Roy Henry', who is most likely to have been Henry V. Two of the pieces of music may be associated with the Battle of Agincourt (1415) and another is one of the most celebrated works by John Dunstable (died 1453) whose music is considered to typical of the spirit of the Renaissance in England.


    Shelfmark: Add. MS 57950

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