Hufnagel neumes notation. Manuscript chant c. 1550


 “The Lord hath set His beauty above the stars”



Verso: Eight lines of music written on laid rag paper in “Hufnagel” neumes on red-ruled four-line staves with a key signature. The accompanying text is written in Latin in a gothic rotunda bookhand.  One large illuminated initial “O” in red and another one-line initial in red. A “catchword” in the bottom margin.


Recto:  As Verso


Origin:  Southern Germany


Date:  c. 1550


Content:  The Latin text reads:  Omnis pulchritudo Domini exaltata est super sidera species eius in nubibus caeli et nomen eius in aeternum permanet alleluia.  (The Lord hath set His beauty above the stars; His splendour is in the clouds of heaven, and His name endureth for ever. Alleluia).


Condition:  The leaf is in very good condition.  It is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 385x255 mm. Text and music area : approx.  330x220 mm.  Presented in a museum quality mat, ready for framing.  Please note that packing and postage is invoiced separately.  Within Australia: $27.50.  Overseas: ask for quote.


Notes:  A "neume" is the basic element of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation prior to the invention of five-line staff notation.

The earliest neumes were inflective marks (chironomic neumes) which indicated the general shape but not necessarily the exact notes or rhythms to be sung. Later developments included the use of heightened neumes which showed the relative pitches between neumes, and the creation of a four-line musical staff that identified particular pitches.  By the 11th century, chironomic neumes had evolved into square notation and by the 13th century, the adoption of square neumes had taken hold everywhere in Europe except Germany. There, scribes developed a special type of notation called Gothic neumes or, more commonly, "Hufnagel" neumes, the name deriving from the German word for horsehoe nails, which the notes resemble. Hufnagel neumes continued to be used until the late 16th century.


Andreas de Silva set these words to music - a motet.  A fine performance of it by Cappella Praetensis can be found on youtube:


Item No:  MMU047

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