Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, San Pietro B.79 | Cantus Manuscript Database

Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, San Pietro B.79

V-CVbav B.79
Twelfth century antiphoner of St. Peter's, Rome, containing the Old Roman repertory of liturgical chant. Central-Italian notation on a dry-point staff with the F-line in red and the c-line in yellow. F- and c-clefs. Cathedral Cursus. 350 x 250 mm. 11 lines of music per side. Ff. 188r-194r, 14 lines of music per side. Ff. 193v-195v, 16 lines of music per side. 197 folios. (olim I-Rvat SP B.79)
Liturgical Occasions

Ff. 1r-3v Kalendar.
Ff. 4r-102v: Winter Temporale and Sanctorale. 4r, First Sunday of Advent; 4r, Andrew; 14r, Nicholas; 14v, Great “O” antiphons; 15r, Lucy; 24r, Thomas the Apostle; 25r, Christmas; 31r, Stephen; 33r, John the Evangelist; 35r, Holy Innocents; 38r, Silvester; 38r, Epiphany; 42r, Celsus and Julian; 43r, Dominical and Ferial Offices; 55v, Marcellus; 55v Aquila and Prisca; Marius, Martha, and others; 56v, Fabian and Sebastian; 58v, Agnes; 60v, Vincent; 60v, Anastasia; 61r; Cyrus and John; 61r, Purification; 62v, Agatha; 65r, Peter's Chair; 65r, Forty Martyrs; 65v, Annunciation; 65v, Septuagesima; 70v, Ash Wednesday; 89v, Palm Sunday; 95r, Triduum.
Ff. 103r-175r: Summer Temporale and Sanctorale. 103r, Easter; 113v, George; 114v, Mark; 116r, Philip and James; 117r, Alexander and Eventius; 117r, Finding of the Cross; 118r, John at the Latin Gate; 118r, Appearance of Michael; 119r, Pancras and Companions; 119r, Petronilla; 119r, Ascension; 121v, Pentecost; 128r, John the Baptist; 130v, John and Paul; 131v, Peter and Paul; 138v, Rufina and Secunda; 139r, Praxedes; 139r, Mary Magdalene; 140r, Apollinaris; 141r, Abdon and Sennen; 141r, Chains of Peter; 144v, Sixtus; 145r, Cyriacus and Companions; 145r, Laurence; 145r, Romanus; 148r, Tiburtius and Susanna; 148r, Euplus and Leucius; 148r, Hippolytus; 148r, Eusebius; 148r, Assumption; 151v, Agapitus; 151v, Hermes; 151v, Balbina; 151v, Augustine; 152r, Sabina; 152r, Beheading of John the Baptist; 155v, Nativity of Mary; 156r, Adrian; 160v, Cosmas and Damian; 163r, Antiphons "Ad Benedicite;" 163v, Callistus; 164r, All Saints; 164r, Caesarius and Julian; 167v, Thoedore Tiro; 168r, Martin; 196v, Dedication of St. Peter's Basilica; 170r, Cecilia; 171v, Clement; 172v, Chrysogonus; 173r, Andrew; 173r, Saturninus.
Ff. 175r-183v: Commons. 183v, Dedication of a Church; additional chants (185r, Nicholas; 186r, Blaise; 187r, Benedict; 189v, Valentine; 190r, Sexagesima; 190v, Easter; 190v, George, 190v, Hermes; 191r, Caesarius and Julian); 191r, Funeral Office; 193; Invitatories; 197, Transfiguration.


In the index for this manuscript, the mode field contains alphabetic codes rather than the standard modal numbers. The system of alphabetic codes used for antiphons is different from that used for responsories and their verses. It is therefore important to take note of the two systems and their differences as outlined below. The mode field for antiphons (and their verses) contains the letter-name of the final (the first letter) and then the reciting tone (the second letter) as indicated by the differentia. This follows a method similar to that used by Dyer (1989 for grouping differentiae in this manuscript. The identifiers in this field employ upper- and lowercase characters to distinguish between registers (capital letters representing the lower octave and lower-case, the higher octave), or at least to establish the relation of pitches to the F- and c-clefs of the manuscript. The series of upper-case letters ends on the G above the F-clef, and thus the series of lower-case letters begins on the following a, through the c-clef theoretically to g (g and f are not actually used as reciting tones).

The differentiae in the index are labelled with a letter-number combination; the letter indicates the final pitch of the differentia, and the number is arbitrarily assigned. The order of differentiae given here is independent of that presented by Dyer (1989). The indentifiers in the differentia field also use upper- and lowercase letters to distinguish register.

None of the categories in the mode field has a counterpart with a different registral placement. For example, there is a category CF, but not cf, Cf, or cF. Similarly, none of the modal categories for antiphons has differentiae codes with final notes in different registers. For example, the modal category EE has the differentia cateogry, D1, but not d1.

For responsory verses, there are eight tones. Responds with the four finals-D, E, F, and G-each have a corresponding authentic and plagal tone. The tones found in B. 79 are not the standard Gregorian verse tones, although they all follow melodic courses similar to their Gregorian counterparts. In the index, the first column of the mode field contains the final of the responsory, and the differentia field contains either AU or PL to indicate authentic or plagal.

If a responsory is in transposition, or has a final that seems to contradict that indicated by the verse tone, the theoretical final for the responsory (that is, the untransposed final, or that suggested by the verse tone) is entered into the mode field, for ease in computer sorting. This letter is followed by the actual final as found in the manuscript. Again, upper- and lowercase letters are used to distinguish register. There is one example among the responsories where there might be confusion between two alphabetic codes; both FC and Fc represent transpositions of the F-mode, in the former instance a transposition below and in the latter, above. If the verse of a transposed responsory is also transposed from its conventional register, the code for the responsory is used for the verse. If a verse is not transposed from its conventional register, but has a tone that is inconsistent with the final of the responsory, then the theoretical final of the responsory (suggested by the verse tone) is entered into the first column, and the second column is left blank, as is the case for responsories and verses with conventional finals. In such cases, the responsory and verse will have slightly different codes, since the responsory will have the theoretical final followed by the actual final.

Again, it is important to reiterate that although the codes for antiphons and responsories with unconventional finals look similiar, the letters signify different attributes of the two genres of Office chant. In antiphons the first letter represents the actual final and the second, the reciting tone; in responsories with unconventional finals, the first letter represents the theoretical final and the second, the actual final.

The responsory verse for the feast of John the Baptist, Hic est enim propheta [for the responsory Praecursor domini venit (007420)] is set to the conventional Gregorian tone for responsories in mode 8. Nevertheless, the mode and differentia fields for this responsory have been marked in the same way as the other responsories for purposes of computer sorting.

The invitatory tones are numbered in order of their appearance in B. 79. The conventional tone BL, as signified in the Cantus Database, is found in this manuscript and is marked as such. The finals of the invitatory antiphons are entered into their mode fields.

The melody-type codes for antiphons developed by Edward Nowacki for his 1980 dissertation have been entered into the Addendum field. These have only been included for the antiphons written out in full.

Selected Bibliography

  • An extensive bibliography is given in the facsimile edition of the manuscript:
  • Baroffio, Bonifacio Giacomo and Kim, Soo Jung. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Archivio S. Pietro B 79: Antiphonario della Basilica di S. Pietro (Sec. XII). Roma: Edizioni Torre D'Orfeo, 1995. 2 vols (facsimile, commentary and index).
  • Dyer, Joseph. "The Singing of Psalms in the Early-Medieval Office." Speculum 64 (1989): 535-578.
  • Nowacki, Edward Charles. "Studies on the Office Antiphons of the Old Roman Manuscripts." Ph. D. dissertation, Brandeis University, 1980. 2 vols.

Notes on the Inventory
The inventory for V-CVbav B.79 was completed by Andrew Mitchell at The University of Western Ontario with proofreading by Alessandra Ignesti (McGill University) and editorial assistance from Debra Lacoste.
Full Texts Entered by
Marina Gallagher
Melodies Entered by
Shawn Henry
Joel Oliver-Cormier
Complete/Partial Inventory
Complete Inventory
Full Source/Fragment
Full Source