chapter  20
11 Pages

Melismatic Tropes in the Responsories for Matins

WithHans-Jörgen Holman

A comparison of the great responsories of the Worcester Codex, the Sarum Antiphonal, the Lucca Codex and the Hartker Codex shows that a surprising uniformity existed in this repertory of chant in Western Europe from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries. Characteristic of the responsories is the use of a long melisma close to the end of the respond. Approximately twenty per cent of the responsories of the late Antiphonals contain such melismas. Three responsories of Codex Worcester contain tropes marked "prosa" ("psa") in the manuscript: Descendit de celis, for the Nativity; Sanctissimi martyris stephani, for St. Stephen; and O pastor apostolice, for St. Gregory. A comparison of all the melismatic responsories of Codex Worcester that are found in Codex Lucca and Codex Hartker reveals that the melismas always appear in the same place in the responds in each manuscript.