MS Hunter 30

Current work on the notated section from MS Hunter 30:

Ms Hunter 30's notated section of music presents us with a unique problem in all our examples - it gives its notes in diastematic notation, that is, notes without staff lines to guide the reader as to precise note pitches. Thankfully, general pitch guidance is being given through the height of the neumes in relation to each other, so this is not complete guesswork,

Its text 'Ave regina caelorum ave domina angelorum' has shown us that it is an Antiphon for the Assumption of Mary, and its music is similar to these two versions:

F-Pn lat. 12044 'Antiphonarium ad usum Sancti Mauri Fossatensis', an early 12th century French source now stored at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (thanks to the Cantus Index for the information on this source)

CH-SGs 388, an Antiphoner from St Gallen, Switzerland. Again 12th century, but diastematic like MS Hunter 30 (with thanks to the CANTUS database for making this findable)

A comparison of the three sources is given below, showing the similarities and differences between the three sources, dividing each word apart from each other to clearly chow where each starts and finishes. (A zoomable version can be found here on Hunter 30's main page)

(the use of F-Pn lat. 12044 here is within the BnF Gallica's non-commercial usage agreement; CH-SGs 388 is available under a Creative Commons non-commercial licence)

There are a couple of minor text variants between the BnF and Hunter 30, but the St Gall reading confirms Hunter 30, so these are clearly variants, and not mistakes on the part of a scribe. However, in the last few words of the chant, the scribe of Hunter 30 has made an error, and given 'Christum semper', instead of 'semper Christum' which both BnF and St Gall give.

Overall, the St Gall source gives a very close reading to that of Hunter 30. Further analysis of the three in comparison to each other will occur in a later post!


These three sources appear to be some of the earliest for this chant, as they all date from the 12th century. Ms Hunter 30's dating is based on the last section of text before the chant commences, which gives the year 1199. Why, at the very end of a collection of writings by the Venerable Bede and St. Augustine, someone decided to add this single Antiphon, is unknown.

The rest of the page's contents give little clues. The main text that ends 'quia christo das' (as seen below, just before the lighter text starts) is for an unknown Treatise on Mercy. The lighter text that follows (Deficit et languet subito cadit et perit ille. | Qui male manducat quem laudant acmina mille. Sic et impio non prodest preciosa sepultura. sic nec iusto nocet | uilis sepultura. - per UofG item details) appears to be concerned with burial. The darker hand after this is concerned only with dating of main events in the Bible, and then gives the year 1199.