Helsinki, National Library, F.m.I.85 | Cantus Database

Helsinki, National Library, F.m.I.85

FIN-Hy F.m.I.85
Twenty-two leaves from a notated missal, datable to the last quarter of the thirteenth or first quarter of the fourteenth century. Of unknown origin, but almost certainly in use in South-West Finland in the later Middle Ages (early-modern history suggests the parish church of Paimio). Four-line staves in red ink, with C, F, and Bb clefs. Principal writing space 27.0 x 19.0 cm.
Liturgical Occasions

Ff. 1r–16v, Temporale. 1r–2v, The circumcision of Christ, Octaves of Stephen, John the Evangelist and Holy Innocents, Vigil of Epiphany, Epiphany, 1st Sunday after Epiphany; 3r–6v, Second week of Lent (Tuesday–Saturday, incomplete); 7r–7v, Third week of Lent (Tuesday–Wednesday, incomplete); 8r–v, Fourth week of Lent (Sunday–Monday, incomplete); 10v, Palm Sunday (incomplete); 11r Holy Week (Wednesday, incomplete); 13r Pentecost Saturday (incomplete); 14r–15v, Ember Day (September, incomplete), 18th Sunday after Pentecost (incomplete); 16r–v, 20th and 21st Sunday after Pentecost (incomplete).

Ff. 17r–22v, Sanctorale. 17r–v, Purification of Mary (incomplete); 18r–v, Annunciation of Mary (incomplete), Ambrose, Tiburtius, Valerian and Maximus, George (Martyr), Mark (Evangelist), Vitalis and Valeria (Martyrs); 20r–v, Common of one Confessor (Pontifex, incomplete), Common of several Confessors (incomplete); 21r–22v, Common of one Virgin (incomplete).


Helsinki, National Library of Finland, MS F.m. I.85 is a fragmentary missal from late thirteenth or early fourteenth century. Most of its leaves have survived as covers for tax accounts from the Halikko and Piikkiö bailiwick in South-Western Finland over the period 1550–1603. The earliest use as cover, already in 1550, was for the accounts of Paimio parish. While most of the leaves have been used as a bifolia, the Paimio account cover was stitched together from two cut off leaves containing Marian liturgy (ff. 17 & 18). This indicates that the book’s binding was in 1550 still intact, and that it was probably still in its medieval collection, which is likely to have been Paimio parish church. Most of the Latin music of the mass was still relevant for the mid sixteenth-century liturgical life. Thus, the manuscripts may have remained in use until much later – possibly until 1589, when it next appears as a cover for the accounts.

The manuscript has been copied in fully-developed Gothic textualis. There is a single text scribe, whose handwriting, while relatively informal, is consistent and neat. The extant folia have minimalistic decoration, which complicates the paleographical contextualization of the manuscript. Only one of the initials has pen flourishing (f.1v). The initial letters have been drawn in red and blue. Red ink has also been used for the rubrics, staves, Roman number foliations and resitation signs which are placed on top of the rows of the lectios of the Holy Week (ff. 9r–12v).

Square music notation has been written on four-line hand-ruled staves. The range of variation in the musical notation is rather small. The only neumatic features left are the liquesecent notes (cephalicus and pes cephalicus). Most of the chants could have been notated by one hand (ff. 1–13). The notation has been written with high precision and in a consistent manner. The clefs employed are F and C. The scribe(s) has two ways of using the flat signs. On the folios 1–13, flats are placed next to the C clef but are not used as a clef. From the folio 15v onwards B flat also appears alone to specify the pitch.

Although the fragmentary condition as well as the later sewing together of the folios 17 and 18 make it difficult to identify different music scribes, some preliminary observations can be made. From f. 15v onwards B flats occasionally take the role of a clef and the colour of the ink changes to black. The overall impression can be said to be more hesitant, a feature visible especially on f. 17v. The hand working with the black ink has the same notational features as the hand working on ff. 1–13: F clefs, ligatures, and neumatic breaks and liquescents, written in a similar manner. The colour of the ink changes back to brown on ff. 17r–va and 20–22, which might suggest that there were more variables present in writing the Sanctorale (f. 17r onwards). A visiting hand can be identified on the folio 18r where the extant second and third verses of the chant Ave Maria gratia plena lack notation. The new hand has notated the fourth and fifth verse in an identifiable style. The strokes drawn to the right of the stem of the F clef are oblique, the tails of pes cephalicus and cephalicus curved and the lozenges rather wide. Also, the combination of high-low-high pitches on [vocabi]tur has been written with square notes. The first scribe(s) writes the same combination with porrectus.

The extant parts of the Sanctorale contain universal saints. Instructions for the octaves of St Stephen, St John and the Holy Innocents have been placed in the Temporale (f.1r), which might suggest that their feasts were also included in the Temporale. According to Hughes, during the later Middle Ages some more organized uses, such as the Cistercians and Dominicans, preferred to place these feasts in the Sanctorale whereas the Franciscans and Roman curia retained them in the Temporale (Hughes 1982, 9).

The fragmentary condition of the manuscript imposed several challenges on the transcription. Because some of the rubrics of the feasts are missing, the following liturgical occasions had to be inferred from the context: Fer. 3 Hebd. 2 Quad., Fer. 3 Hebd. 3 Quad., Dom. 4 Quadragesimae, Dom. in Palmis, Fer. 4 Maj. Hebd., Sabbato Pent., Sabbato Q.T. Sept., Dom. 20 p. Pent., Purificatio Mariae, Annuntiatio Mariae, Comm. unius Confessoris Pontificis and Comm. unius Virginis.

Wear and tear, as well as smoke and heat damage from archival fires, have made the contents of some folios rather difficult to read. When the notes could be read but the pitch was difficult to define, other sources were consulted for informed interpretations. When employed, the sources have been introduced in the comment section of the chant.

Selected Bibliography


Giraud, Eleanor 2022. Differentiating hands in square chant notation. Plainsong and Medieval Music, 31(2). Cambridge: University Press. 99–121.

Haapanen, Toivo 1922. Verzeichnis der Mittelalterlichen Handschriftenfragmente in der Universitätsbibliothek zu Helsingfors. I Missalia. Helsingin yliopiston kirjaston julkaisuja IV. Helsinki: Druckerei der Finnischen Litteratur-Gesellschaft.

Hughes, Andrew 1982. Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office. A Guide to Their Organization and Terminology. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Notes on the Inventory
The inventory for FIN-Hy F.m. I.85 was prepared by Lotta Näri (University of Helsinki), with assistance on provenance and codicological description from Jaakko Tahkokallio (University of Helsinki). The editorial assistance and proofreading was done by Anna de Bakker (Dalhousie University, Halifax). The assistant proofreading was done also by Hilkka-Liisa Vuori (University of Helsinki).
Full Texts Entered by
Lotta Näri
Melodies Entered by
Lotta Näri
Complete/Partial Inventory
Complete Inventory
Full Source/Fragment
Fragment or Fragmented