Medieval Sequences
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,424
    Is there a source (particularly: free, online) of Medieval Sequences?
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,040
    I don't know if there is a source for everything (it is a huge corpus of work, as they are often very localized), but the Sarum Sequentiarum is available here:
  • Yes, there are very many sources for sequences. post-900 AD, Every parish, cathedral, abbey, priory and so on had some sacred music book containing sequences. Many communities in the "old world" continued to have ancient books (usually illuminated graduals) with them into the 19th and 20th centuries, yet after the counter-reformation as the new tridentine missal contained only the five sequences, the remainder were used more and more rarely. Particular cathedrals and religious community chapels continued to use their ancient propers from their old manuscrpts for their patronal feasts and may have used otherwise rarely heard sequences in that capacity.

    Your source for sequences will primarily be in Graduals produced before 1570 AD. There are a few instances where their many be separate Sequetiarums and the Graduals do not contain any but this is rare (I think before 1100 the sequences may have been more often in a separate book).

    To find sequences look in libraries containing ancient manuscripts of church music. The most convenient ways are in the form of either facsimiles/transcriptions of the original MS or else photographs in the digitized form of various libraries online.

    Certainly the above link for the most excellent Dr Renwick's site is a fine place to begin. His source is what I primarily use myself, as English church music has a unique pedigree and patrimony worth preserving for english speaking Catholics. Additionally many of them have translations and english adaptations for singing.

    Before I was as extensively familiar with the Salisbury english use I was looking more at the Use of Paris as a few years ago that was more conveniently viewable through the digitized form on the net. Not to mention the fact that Paris and Northern France overlap with Salisbury sharing in common many of the same sequences, as of course the northern french and southern english were constantly influencing each others culture during the late middle ages.

    I think this link is a gradual from the use of Cologne (Germany)"kn28-0261_650.jpg"/segment/"body"

    There is a Victorine Gradual from the Use of Paris, open to the page with the first sequence for the first sunday of advent in the proper of time, "Salus eterna" which is quite typically the sequence for that day in most of Latin Christendom for most of it's history..
    Thanked by 2Adam Wood CHGiffen
  • I am in the midst of a very fine book about the sequence in France from the Xth through the XIIIth and early XIVth centuries. It is called Gothic Song: Victorine Sequences and Augustinian Reform in Twelfth Century Paris, and discusses the use and non-use of sequences at different establishments - monastic houses and secular cathedrals. Discussed in great detail are relevant manuscripts, and the changing and developing literary styles, language, content, and subject matter as the centuries progressed; and the varieties of music for them. I should think that everyone who would be a sequence scholar would have this book on his or her shelf. The author is Margot Fassler. The publisher is Notre Dame.
  • Yes, Gothic Voices is an excellent book for better understanding the later medieval sequences. In fact, regarding this very question of sources for Sequences, Dr. Fassler had this to say:


    The largest anthology of late sequences from the thirteenth century is Assisi 695. There
    has been a dissertation written on it. I am sure that the library of microfilms at
    Catholic University would have this source, and I mention that because you seem to be in
    Maryland. It has been inventoried by Seay. You can find bibliography about it in my
    Gothic Song, which is coming out in a second edition in the spring (Notre Dame press).
    Anyway, here is the abstract of a dissertation written on Assisi 695:

    The Manuscript Assisi, Biblioteca del Sacro Convento, MS 695:
    A Codicological and Repertorial Study

    Emilie Julia Wingo Shinnick
    Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 1997

    A long-standing enigma in the medieval trope and sequence genres, the
    thirteenth-century manuscript Assisi, Biblioteca del Sacro Convento, ms. 695 consists of a troper and three prosers and includes eight polyphonic items (four sequences, three tropes and one Gospel). After an introductory chapter which surveys the history of scholarship about the manuscript, Chapter II of this dissertation presents a codicological study of the manuscript, including a consideration of its flourishing, illumination and
    paleography. The resulting evidence suggests a date in the 1230s, a Parisian origin, and
    Reims provenance; the codex seems to have originated in Paris, while the locale for which
    the manuscript was intended was, apparently, Reims. Examination of the repertorial
    contents consists of four additional chapters.

    Chapter III compares the troped and untroped Mass ordinary items and the Varia of
    Assisi 695 with other collections, finding a stronger English influence than previously
    recognized. Chapter IV treats the sequences and hymns in the three prosers of Assisi 695. Through comparisons with other representative manuscript collections, chronological, stylistic and geographic layers are distinguished in the three prosers. Although the first proser has close ties to Reims, the second to Saint-Victor, and the third to Notre Dame of Paris, there is also a clear chronological criterion for organization, suggesting a consciousness of historical style on the part of the collector of pieces for the manuscript. Connections to the building of the new cathedral in Reims, to its sculpture and stained glass, and to the ongoing conflict between the Reims burghers and their archbishop and canons are found both in the choice of pieces and in the texts themselves, supporting a date in the 1230s for the manuscript.

    Chapter V discusses and analyzes the polyphonic pieces, including the previously
    unnoticed polyphonic Gospel, and advances analytical arguments for the polyphonic Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus as an intentional grouping, foreshadowing the later polyphonic Mass cycle. Chapter VI provides a conclusion and summary. Finally, a manuscript description, an inventory, and new musical transcriptions and textual translations of all unica, of all pieces original to the manuscript and of the polyphonic pieces are provided as Appendices.

    Many of the pieces you are mentioning are not "Victorine" narrowly speaking, but rather
    are later medieval sequences, or so called second-epoch sequences.

    Good luck!

    Margot Fassler, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy; Co-Director of the Master of Sacred Music Program, University of Notre Dame

    If anyone is interested in seeing the music from MS 695 let me know, as I have some transcriptions.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,323
    The first place I would go is here, the database of sequences, unfortunately it is not YET got the links to the manuscripts, but it will tell you what manuscript to look in. The other useful feature is the Analecta Hymnica reference, so you don't need to look through the 50+ volumes! You can read the Analecta here, Hymnica

    This is all very well if you are happy to transcribe the Sequence into something you can sing from, but fortunately others have been before us,

    1. Sarum Sequences are set in the link above! or you can download the book here,
    translations here,

    2. The Adam of St. Victor Sequences can be found here,
    the book is in French but the music is in the back.

    3. This is a book of Sequences and can be downloaded from Google books if you are in the U.S. so can't give a direct link! search for this! Cantus_varii_in_usu_apud_Nostrates_ab_or
    Romano-Seraphic (mainly sequences)