Mainz, Bischöfliches Dom- und Diözesanmuseum, B | Cantus Database

Mainz, Bischöfliches Dom- und Diözesanmuseum, B

Antiphoner, written in the 1430s for use by the Carmelites of Mainz. Square Roman notation on a four-line staff. Cathedral cursus. 302 folios (f. 266 missing). 58 cm x 40.5 cm.
Liturgical Occasions

Ff. 1-301: Winter Temporale. 1r, First Sunday of Lent; 179v, Maundy Thursday; 240r-265v, Easter to Tuesday of Easter Week; lacuna; 267r, Tuesday of Easter Week.


These five manuscripts were written in the 1430s for use by the Carmelites of Mainz: an inscription in Codex A (now in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich) gives a date of 1430 but an inscription in Codex B gives a date of 1432. They were commissioned by the Carmelite Johannes Fabri in memory of his parents. They follow the rite of the Carmelite Order as defined by the Ordinal of Sibert de Beka, promulgated by the General Chapter of London in 1312. Only feasts admitted to the Carmelite liturgy after this date are different from the stipulations of Sibert’s Ordinal.

In the “Extra” field of the widescreen version for many records of this index is the page number referring to Sibert de Beka’s ordinal.

This antiphoner contains several Offices not found in CAO: they include the Offices for Thomas of Canterbury, the Three Marys, Corpus Christi, the Visitation of Mary, Anne, Augustine, the Presentation of Mary, and Catherine. Some of these Offices have been edited in Analecta hymnica and/or appear within other CANTUS files. The Office for Thomas of Canterbury was a very popular rhymed Office and appears in Analecta hymnica vol. 13, pp. 238-42 (an edition also appears in James Boyce, O. Carm., “Cantica Carmelitana: The Chants of the Carmelite Office,” Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1984). The rhymed Office for the Three Marys appears in Analecta hymnica vol. 5, pp. 38-45 (see also bibliography, below).

The partially rhymed Office of the Visitation of Mary appears in Analecta hymnica vol. 48, pp. 427-29. The Office for the Presentation of Mary appears to be unique, and was probably composed within the Mainz Carmelite convent; its chants are all derived from other Offices, primarily that of Thomas of Canterbury. The Office for Catherine appears in Analecta hymnica vol. 26, pp. 212-15. A partial Office, with some versified chants, is given for the feast of the Transfiguration. Two feasts prominent in the Carmelite rite are the Commemoration of the Resurrection (celebrated on the last Sunday of the year), and the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Joseph, on October 6th. The former is not specifically represented here, probably because the chants were simply borrowed from the Easter Sunday liturgy. The chants for the feast of the Patriarchs (Codex D, f. 101) are standard and are simply borrowed from other occasions and compiled for this specifically Carmelite celebration. Similarly, Marian chants were borrowed and compiled for the feast of Our Lady of the Snows (Codex C, f. 259v).

A number of pages are missing from the antiphoner, especially in Codices A and D; many of these pages occur at the beginning of Matins, either at the first antiphon or first responsory. Since some illuminations survive in the manuscripts, it is reasonable to surmise that the missing folios contain illustrations of some kind.

All chants in the antiphoner not found in CAO are assigned an arbitrary number beginning with “mai.” Differentiae are assigned arbitrary numbers.

Selected Bibliography

  • Arens, Fritz. “Ein Blatt aus den Mainzer Karmeliterchorbuechern.” Archiv für das Bistum Mainz 8 (1958-60): pp. 341-46.
  • Boyce, James, O. Carm. “Cantica Carmelitana: The Chants of the Carmelite Office.” Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1984.
  • Boyce, James, O. Carm. “From Rule to Rubric: The Impact of Carmelite Liturgical Legislation upon the Order’s Office Tradition.” Ephemerides Liturgicae 108 (1994): pp. 262-98.
  • Boyce, James, O. Carm. “Die Mainzer Karmeliterchorbücher und die liturgische Tradition des Karmeliterorderns.” Archiv für mittelrheinische Kirchengeschichte 39 (1987): pp. 267-303.
  • Boyce, James, O. Carm. “Medieval Carmelite Office Manuscripts, A Liturgical Inventory.” Carmelus 33 (1986): pp. 17-34.
  • Boyce, James, O. Carm. “The Medieval Carmelite Office Tradition.” Acta Musicologica 62 (1990): pp. 119-51.
  • Boyce, James, O. Carm. “The Office of the Three Marys in the Carmelite Liturgy.” Journal of the Plainsong & Mediaeval Music Society 12 (1989): pp. 1-38.
  • Vaassen, Elgin. “Die Werkstaat den Mainzer Riesenbibel in Würzburg.” Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens 13 (1973): cols. 1121-1428.
  • Zimmerman, R.P. Benedict, ed. Ordinaire de L’ordre de Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel par Sibert de Beka (vers 1312). Bibliothèque liturgique 13. Paris: M. Chevalier, 1910.

Notes on the Inventory
The computer file was prepared by James Boyce, O. Carm. (Fordham University), with editorial assistance from Keith Glaeske (The Catholic University of America).
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