Fields and Content Descriptions | Cantus Manuscript Database

Fields and Content Descriptions

For an overview of the contents of medieval liturgical chant manuscripts for the Office and the Mass, and more detailed descriptions of data-entry protocols for the Cantus Database including precise instructions for particular fields, please see the Cantus Database Procedures Manual (this site under the "Resources" tab).

Quick Reference Field Descriptions

Marginalia, Other information: This field, ordinarily left blank, has been utilized in some records to clarify the location of a chant on the page or folio side. These chants are often later additions to the source, and have been identified as follows:

    L    written in the left margin
    R    written in the right margin
    T    written in the top margin
    B    written in the bottom margin
    A    added within the main body of the text
    X    erased or crossed out but still legible
    P    palimpsest; written on top of an earlier layer

The entry of these indications is at the discretion of the indexer.

Folio and Side, or Page: The actual number of the folio or page, as found in the manuscript or as supplied. If multiple sets of foliation exist, the indexer will select the most complete, accurate, or the one chosen by the host library (especially if the manuscript is digitized). Leading zeros are used (as in 001). For foliated manuscripts, this number is followed by either "r" or "v" to identify the side of the folio on which a chant is found. For manuscripts in which the numbering is by page this fourth character is left blank. When unnumbered folios occur between numbered ones, this field contains lower case letters starting with "w" to mark the unnumbered ones. For example, an unnumbered folio after 100 is designated as 100w for the recto and 100x for the verso. This preserves the manuscript sorting order.

Sequence Number: This field provides for each chant an indication of the order in which it appears on the page or folio side: 1 is the first chant, 2 is the second, and so on. A "99" in this field is used to indicate that a lacuna follows this page or folio. If the first item on the page or folio that comes after a lacuna is a chant that lacks its beginning, "0" is used as its sequence number. The first complete chant on the page or folio side will be numbered as "1".

Service: An abbreviation for the liturgical service in which the chant is sung. Click here for the abbreviations and their explanations.

Genre: Identifies chants by type. Click here for the abbreviations and their explanations.

Position: Identifies the liturgical role of a particular chant according to the system described here:
In Offices (such as Terce) and Masses where only one chant of a particular genre is sung, the position is left blank.

In Lauds, Vespers, and other services with series of the same genre of chant, the chants are numbered in order:  these numbers normally represent the position in the service.  For example, the antiphon for the Benedicite is always "L A 4".  When more than the expected five antiphons are given for the psalms of Lauds and Vespers, every effort is made to determine in which position they are intended to be sung.  When only one antiphon is provided for Lauds or Vespers and it is clearly the beginning of a series for that Office (as marked with a rubric such as et reliquae), that antiphon is numbered "1".  When a single antiphon is intended to be employed with all the psalms of Lauds or Vespers, it is marked "p".

In Matins, the antiphons and responsories are given a pair of numbers separated by a period.  The first number of each pair designates the nocturn; the second, the position of the chant within the nocturn.  Thus "1.2" indicates the second antiphon or the second responsory of the first nocturn.  When just one antiphon is provided for all the psalms of a nocturn, it is given a number that designates the nocturn, followed by a period, thus: "1." (for the first nocturn), "2." (for the second), etc..  A Matins versicle is given a number that designates the nocturn in which it appears, followed by a period.

The antiphons for Canticles are indicated by "M" (for the Magnificat), "B" (for the Benedictus), or "N" (for the Nunc dimittis).

"P" is used for a chant to be sung during a procession.  "R" is used for a chant that is sung as a memorial when the Office to which it is attached is specified; for example, an antiphon that is sung as a memorial after Lauds is "L A R".  If the Office is not specified, "R" is used for the "Office" and the chants are numbered in sequence.

If more than one chant is provided for the same position, these are considered alternates and marked identically.  When an Office or Mass requires only one chant of a particular genre and two are given, the position fields for both are left blank.  For example, two invitatories for the same Matins service are both marked "M I".  An exception is made when several antiphons are given for the Magnificat (or Benedictus):  these are numbered "1M", "2M" (or "1B", "2B").  Processional chants are also numbered "1P", "2P", and so on.

Chants assigned to categories for which there is no position as such ("R", "E", "H", and "X") are numbered in sequence beginning "1", "2", and so on.  Some manuscripts do not indicate how the antiphons and responsories of Matins are divided up among the nocturns; for these indices, responsories and antiphons are numbered in series on each liturgical occasion.  When many antiphons are given for the Magnificat or Benedictus, and when the assignment to the one canticle or the other is not clear, these are numbered in series with the Office designated as "E."  In rare cases, when several antiphons are provided for Lauds and Vespers and their liturgical role cannot be determined exactly, these are also numbered in series.  When only one chant occurs in a position that would normally be numbered in series, "1" is omitted and the position is left blank.

Verses for antiphons, responsories, introits, graduals, offertories, etc. are always numbered "01," "02," etc.; even when there is only one verse, it is numbered "01".

Cantus ID Number: These 6-digit numbers (plus suffixes) have been created by Cantus in order that the large repertory of chants contained in medieval manuscripts can be easily managed and searched. Refer to the main catalogue of chants, Cantus Index, for chant texts and their corresponding Cantus ID Numbers, which are used in all connected databases in the Cantus Index network. For details about these numbers and their assignment in the database, see this page (under the "About" menu).

Liturgical Occasion / Feast Name: The name of the occasion on which the chant is sung, given in a style and spelling similar to that employed by Hesbert in volumes 3 and 4 of Corpus Antiphonalium Officii (CAO).
For chants to be sung within the octave of a feast, ",8" follows the name of the feast. Other modifications to feast names are in the feast listing (for the master table, consult Cantus Index feasts). When there is a lacuna between folios of a manuscript, the word "LACUNA" appears in this field.

Mode: The apparent mode of the chant. This is normally a single number 1 through 8 indicating the mode in which the melody is found in this manuscript.  In deciding the mode of a chant, Cantus indexers take into account the final, the range, and any modal formula that may be associated with it, such as the verse tone of a responsory.  Some sources indicate the mode to which they assign a chant; where this does not coincide with the decision of the indexer, the latter is what appears in the index. In ambiguous cases, the indexer may decide to enter a comment in the "Indexing Notes."
A question mark is used to show that the mode was not identifiable; an asterisk (*) indicates that notation was not provided.  A lower-case "r" is used in this field to represent any of the simple formulas to which short responsories and versicles are sung.
A mode number plus a question mark indicates uncertainty concerning the modal assignment.  The letter "S" is used after a mode number for a responsory verse that is sung to a special melody rather than to the melodic formula typical of its mode; "T" following a mode number indicates that a chant is written in transposition. "M" is used in rare instances to indicate simple polyphony.

Differentia: This one- or two-digit number, or numbers and letters in combination, refers either to the differentia (the termination of the psalm tone to be employed in connection with a particular antiphon) or to the tone to be employed with an invitatory antiphon.

If numbers are used, a single-digit differentia number is placed as the second character of this field.  When tonary letters are used (as in Bamberg and Karlsruhe), a single letter appears as the first character.  If a combination of numbers and letters is used, the differentiae are provided with a 2-character code: the final pitch of the differentia pattern folllowed by an arbitrary number (as in "G1" or "D2").  In some of the southern German and Swiss manuscripts, the system found in those sources has been adopted:  these differentiae are indicated with a vowel (which represents the mode) followed by a consonant.  The differentiae in the Sarum Antiphoner correspond exactly to those in the Sarum Tonary (edited by W.H.Frere in The Use of Sarum) and the numbering system in the tonary is used in the index.  If no differentia is provided, an asterisk (*) appears as the second character.

In more recent index files, indications of ligation and liquescence have been added to the differentia codes to differentiate these patterns from others which employ the same pitches but appear in a distinct form within the manuscript folios.  See the individual manuscript "about" files for more details.

The numbering of differentiae does not carry over from one index file to another as each manuscript has its own system.

For the tonus peregrinus, a "P" is entered as the second character.

The codes for invitatory tones also appear in this field.  These reflect the musical cues written over the word "Venite" that appear after an invitatory antiphon, and also represent the tones themselves, whether partially or fully notated.  In most instances these carry over from one source to another: thus the tone coded as HS in one file is essentially the same as that called HS in another.  (The case is the same when tones are represented by certain numbers, for example, 3, 5, or 7.)  Exceptions to this practice are made for sources that have collections of tones that do not lend themselves to representation through the standard codes--Toledo 44.2, for example.  In the indices for these sources, the systems of symbols provided for invitatory tones are unique.  Refer to the "about" files for more details.

Finalis: (Optional) The final note of a chant, entered as a single, upper-case letter (D, E, F, G, C, A, etc.). Use this field if the apparent mode is unclear, or if the final does not appear to match the mode as indicated in the source by number, psalm-tone, differentia, responsory tone, or other means. This field may also be useful to indicate the last pitch of the melodies for transposed modes.

Extra: When an indexer desires to include non-standard information in a file, it can be placed in this field.  For example, in the Barnwell index, the "Extra" field records two additional distinctions (beyond mode and differentia) made by Frere in his classification of the antiphons in the Sarum repertory.  In the index of Toledo 44.2, this field is employed to record information about the differentiae.

Range: (Optional) Enter the lowest and highest notes of the chant. This field employs Volpiano font (see below).

Addendum: This field contains extra information not normally included in the Cantus format.  For example, some of the manuscripts indexed by Cantus contain a considerable overlap in repertory that is not represented in CAO.  These sources have been cross-referenced in this field.  For example, "XVI" has been added in the Cambrai 38 index to indicate a "non-CAO" chant in Cambrai 38 that also occurs in the printed Cambrai antiphoner, and a "non-CAO" chant in Toledo 44.2 that also occurs in Toledo 44.1 is identified with "44.1" in this field, and vice versa.  Note that these cross-references are given only for chant texts not included in CAO, and refer only to the text of the chant, not to the music. This field has also been employed in selected manuscript indices to indicate psalm usages when they are specified in the source.

Source Reading Full Text (standardized spelling): It is sometimes the case that two chants have exactly the same text at their start but one continues with additional material.  In other cases, two or more chants may begin with the same text and then diverge.  For these chants, the incipit alone cannot distinguish between the versions; the user must refer to the chant ID number.

The occurrence of one or more "alleluias" is not considered a change in text unless "alleluia" is the first word of the chant.

In order for functional electronic searching by incipit, spelling is normalized as in volumes 3 and 4 of CAO.  The final authority (with a very few exceptions) is Lewis and Short, A Latin Dictionary (Oxford, 1879).  Some typical spellings are as follows:

       bracchium       caelum         genetrix
       exaltata        excelsis       sepulcro
       exsultemus      clipeo         jucunditatis
       hi (not "hii")
       exsilio (not "exilio")

       Hesbert's spelling Agathes becomes Agatha
       Jerusalem (always spelled this way)    
       Alleluia (not "alleluja")
A full list of Cantus standardized spellings, including names, is available upon request.

Grammar and case endings are those of the manuscript, as are verb tense and number.  Differences in wording from that in CAO are preserved. (An exception is made in the case of Toledo 44.1; in the index for this manuscript, some grammatical errors have been corrected, but changes in wording that are also clearly errors have been preserved.)  Punctuation is omitted.  An illegible word is represented by "--", and an illegible portion of a word by a single hyphen.

Capitalization is limited to proper names of persons and places, places of origin, and nationalities.  Words that are capitalized include:

       Sion      Israelita       Jesu Christe      Thebaeorum
       Libano    Chananaeae      Sunanimitis       Mediolanensium   
       Saba      Nazarenum       Jerusalem         Joannes Baptista 
       Judaei    Aquitaniae      Hebraeorum        Agaunensium

Words that are not capitalized include:

       paraclitus      magi      dominus           trinitas
       auster          pascha    paradisi          pharaone
       agnum           mater     filium            eli
       sabaoth         deus      christianitatis 
       seraphim        orientis

An asterisk (*) marks a chant that is given only in incipit.  Wherever possible the entire incipit is shown, with abbreviations resolved and the last word completed.  Occasionally an incipit is too long to fit in this field; in such cases, the asterisk follows the last word that fits in the space.

When the text of a chant consists of the word "alleluia" repeated several times, a lower-case Roman numeral indicates the number of repetitions, as in "Alleluia iii."  When the melody for such a chant has its source indicated in some way, that information is recorded in the following  manner: "Alleluia iv (In conspectu)."  If only the beginning of the chant is written out, the incipit is given as "Alleluia iv (In conspectu)*" no matter how many times the word "alleluia" actually appears at that point in the source.

In the case of versicles, the incipit given is only the first half:  that is, the incipit ends at the end of the versicle (or as much as fits) and does not include the response even when there is space for it.  A versicle is considered complete if this first half is given in full in the manuscript.

Chants not in CAO or AMS are treated exactly as CAO and AMS chants with regard to these guidelines.

Source Reading Full Text (source spelling): The wording, word order and spellings as found in the manuscript, with abbreviations resolved to standard words. Use upper-case letters as found in the source. Retain “Xpistum” (Christum), “Ihc” (Jesus) and other instances of Greek characters with their closest approximations of Latin letters. Some punctuation signs and vertical dividing lines | are employed in this field. Repetenda and psalm cues can also be recorded here. For more information, contact Cantus Database staff.

Volpiano (melody): (Optional) Volpiano font is a system for encoding a chant melody as a searchable text string. It was developed by Fabian Weber at the University of Regensburg under the direction of David Hiley. Volpiano font uses alphabetic and other symbols:

1 = treble/G clef

- = empty staff

a b c d e f g h j k l m ... = pitches

A B C D E F ... = small noteheads (for liquescents, quilismas, special neumes, etc.)

i = B-flat symbol (to be used in conjunction with the "j" third-line notehead)

To enter a melody, begin with a clef (non-transposing treble clef is standard), add three hyphens (staff lines), and type lower-case ASCII letters to represent the pitches of a melody. After the last pitch of a complete melody, add three hyphens and a double barline ("4").

SPACING: Enter three hyphens between words, two hyphens between syllables, and one hyphen between individual neumes which are sung on the same syllable.

For more information, please refer to available documents here.

Image Link: (Optional) Enter the http:// link to a digital image archive for this folio side or page.

Melody ID number: (Optional) This new and experimental field is connected with the melodies entered in the Cantus Index records. Check back periodically to see how the development is progressing.

Indexing Notes: (Optional) Use this field to record any questions, comments, or information while you are indexing. For users of the database, look here for additional details about the indexed chant, such as rubrics, information concerning incorrect or missing rubrics, the location of the melody of an abbreviated chant on another folio, reasoning behind modal decisions or other entered data, etc.