The choir book containing the musical portion of the Divine Office.
Book of Hours
The most popular prayer book of the late thirteenth through
sixteenth centuries, the book of hours was designed primarily for the laity. It is composed of a number of different texts, but the core text is a cycle of daily prayers dedicated to the Virgin Mary and recited at eight fixed hours during the day, hence its name. These books were usually illuminated, often by the most gifted artists of the period.
The book used by monks, nuns, and clergy containing all the texts of the Divine Office.
A fragment cut from a manuscript leaf, usually containing a miniature or a historiated initial.
The series of eight prayer services that regulated the daily
lives of monks, nuns, clergy, and devout members
of the laity. The services begin with matins (before daybreak),
followed by lauds (at sunrise), prime (the first hour of daylight),
terce (the third hour of daylight), sext (the sixth hour, or
noon), nones (the ninth hour), vespers (at sunset), and compline
A single manuscript page. Unlike modern books, which are numbered
sequentially on both sides of the page, manuscript folios are
given a new number only on the front side (recto) of the page.
The reverse side is assigned the same number, followed by "v" for
The choir book containing the musical portions of the Mass--the
Christian rite in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed.
It takes its name from a chant by the same name performed on
the steps (gradus in Latin) leading to the altar.
An oversize initial letter containing a narrative scene or figures,
usually related to the text. Historiated initials first appeared
in manuscripts of the early 800s and remained popular throughout
the Middle Ages.
The painted decoration of a manuscript. The word is derived from
the Latin illuminare ("to light up") because of the glow created
by the radiant colors of the images, especially gold and silver.
A single detached folio from a manuscript.
It was common among collectors of the seventeenth to nineteenth
century to cut individual leaves from manuscripts so that the
illuminations could be displayed like paintings.
A collection of songs of praise in the vernacular rather than
in Latin. Such hymnals were used by confraternities, groups of
lay people who met to pray and do good works in addition to gathering
at church services.
Written by hand or the resulting handwritten document or book.
Most European manuscripts of the Middle Ages were made of durable
From the Latin miniare, referring to the red
pigment minium that is often used for special lettering and decoration
in manuscripts. The term originally referred to the paintings
in medieval illuminated
manuscripts, some of
which can be quite large. Only later, when the word miniature
came to be used for portraits mounted in lockets and brooches,
did the term become associated with small size.
The book that contains the prayers said by the priest and the
chants sung by the choir at Mass, sometimes with and sometimes
without musical notation.
Animal skin, especially sheep, goat, and calf, specifically prepared
for writing. According to legend, parchment, also called vellum,
was developed in the second century A.D. in Pergamon, the
modern city of Bergama, Turkey.