Since Didacus of Alcalá was canonized in 1588 by Pope Sixtus V and this manuscript includes a feast in his name, this manuscript was probably copied at the end of the 16th century, after the arrival of the Franciscan commission to Quito in 1534 led by Jodocus Rickye and Pierre Gosseal who founded the Church and Convent. A colophon at 148r (fragmented) suggests that part of the manuscript may have been completed in 1600, as the fragmented date ends with a partially visible D followed by C.
The manuscript includes chants for the Proper of the Time (Palm Sunday to Eve of Pentecost) as well as Masses and interpolated Offices for the Proper of the Time and Proper of the Saints, ending with an isolated sequence and invitatory. Of the 148 folios, ff. 1r–115v have Arabic foliation with red ink, whereas the latter folios have later added Roman foliation in black ink (ff. Ir–XXXIIIv). The index continues the Arabic numbering from 116r–148v rather than switching to the Roman foliation, but the Roman numbering is included in the Extra Field (any Roman numbering that is difficult to discern is indicated in square brackets, as in ). There is evidence of a different copyist’s hand on ff. 146v–148v for the sequence 'Victimae paschali laudes' and the invitatory for the Transfiguration, 'Summum regem gloriae' (fragmented). There are three lacunae: at 114v within Vigilia Pentecostes; 115r at the end of Vigilia Pentecostes and before a brief section of Mass Ordinary chants (Credo, Kyrie); and at 145v with a missing Magnificat antiphon for the feast of Joachim and before the concluding folios in a different hand. The index includes manuscript abbreviations in the Manuscript Spellings Text Field. Abbreviated letters are indicated using a circumflex (ex: ê). A such, the circumflex indicates the presence of an abbreviation, but not the specific abbreviatory mark. Consultation with the manuscript images can confirm which abbreviatory mark was employed by the scribe. The differentiae for the introit verses and antiphons are identified by differentia final and a sequentially-ordered numeral (ex: E1, E2). Variant versions of differentiae receive a letter suffix (ex: E1a, E2a). There is one fully notated invitatory tone: PA at 128v for Exspectationis BMV (an incipit only version occurs at 122v for Exaltatio Crucis).
This fragmented Gradual is part of a collection of thirty-eight liturgical manuscripts within the collection of the Church of San Francisco in Quito, including fifteen antiphonaries, four graduals, eight hymnals, ten psalters, and one ritual (see Estevez Monagas, 2019). Although much work has been done to address church music in Quito (including by American musicologist Robert M. Stevenson and Spanish musicologist Alejandro Massó), the plainchant manuscripts of Quito are an emerging area of research, with the index for EC-Qsf 18P16 being the first published inventory of a plainchant volume from an Ecuadorian church.
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Estevez Monagas, Jesus. 'The Music Manuscripts in the Church of San Francisco de Quito: An Undocumented Collection', Fontes Artis Musicae, Vol. 66, No. 1 (January-March, 2019), pp. 26-41.
Gallegos Arias, José & Mercé Gandía, José. Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco: Una Historia para el Futuro. Quito: Instituto Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural, 2011.
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Gento Sanz, Benjamin. Historia de la obra constructiva de San Francisco desde su fundación hasta nuestros días 1535–1942. Quito: Imprenta Municipal, 1942.
Moreno, Agustín. Fray Jodoco Rique y Fray Pedro Gocial: Apóstoles y Maestros Franciscanos de Quito. Quito: Ediciones Abya-Yala, 1998.
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Stevenson, Robert. La Música en Quito 2nd ed. Quito: Banco Central del Ecuador, 1989, p. 7.
Stevenson, Robert. 'Music in Quito: Four Centuries', The Hispanic American Historical Review, Vol. 43, No. 2 (May, 1963), pp. 247-266.