Neumatic Fragments of Zadar in Oxford

  • Bojan Bujić


The Canonici collection of manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford contains a number of MSS of Dalmatian provenance of which two (Canonici Bib. lat., MS 61 and Canonici Liturg., MS 277) are of particular importance for the early history of liturgical music in this part of the world. The former of the two MSS contains a complete Exultet hymnus written probabily in the last decade of the 11th century and the latter MS has, on fol. 150', fragments of some hymns written in beneventan neumes probably towards the end of the 12th century. Owing to the damage of the folio some neumes and one important word of the text cannot be read at all and the lines on which the neumes were written are now hardly visible. In spite of this, an attempt has been made to transcribe the music and the present writer is inclined to believe that the folio contains the fragments of two hymns copied from another, probably larger, source. There is a strong melodic similarity between the hymns from Zadar and some contemporaneous sources of South Italian provenance. Direct contact between the Italian and Dalmatian sources cannot be supposed but the existing similarity is easily explained by the fact that all these melodies came from the region in which the activity of the South Italian Benedictines was strongly felt. It may be added that the Dalmatian liturgical repertory from the 11th and the 12th centuries is well worth studying. During these two centuries Byzantine influence was strongly felt on the Dalmatian coast and further researches into the melodic nature of this repertory may easily reveal some new data about the contacts between the Eastern and the Western chants.


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How to Cite
BujićB. (1968). Neumatic Fragments of Zadar in Oxford. Musicological Annual, 4(1), 28-33.