Essays, Studies, and Works
This essay introduces three large manuscript leaves held in the Permanent Art Collection of the University of Northern Iowa. These folio-sized leaves originated in large Spanish choir books (or cantorales) from the late sixteenth through the early eighteenth century that held the texts and music of Gregorian Chant used in the Roman Catholic liturgy. These leaves are ‘strangers’ in the sense that their origin is unknown, stripped as they are of their material context in the book and their historical context in the institutions and rituals for which they were made. They are in a ‘strange land’ in that they are far from their land of origin, and in a nation that did not yet exist at the time of their copying. In this essay, I will describe the leaves’ design and identify the chants they contain, and explain what can be learned about their provenance. I will furthermore suggest approaches to interpreting these fragmentary scores within their historical and liturgical context. In particular, I will demonstrate how recent digital humanities projects in Chant Studies and the increasing availability of digital images from complete Spanish codices can support the identification and interpretation of such fragmentary musical manuscripts.
©2017 Alison Altstatt
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
"Strangers in a Strange Land: Spanish Chant Manuscript Leaves in the Permanent Collection of the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art,"
UNIversitas: Journal of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity: Vol. 12:
1, Article 9.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/universitas/vol12/iss1/9