Codex Las Huelgas

Alternate Titles:

Las Huelgas Musical Codex, Códice Musical de Las Huelgas, Códice de canto polifonico

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Las Huelgas Musical Codex
Códice Musical de Las Huelgas
Códice de canto polifonico

Type
Extent / Format

340 pages / 27.0 x 19.8 cm

Origin
Date
Around 1300-1325
Genre
Content

45 monophonic pieces (20 sequences, 5 conductus, 10 Benedicamus tropes) and 141 polyphonic works (some Notre Dame school style) - solfege exercises

Language
Artist / School

Johannes Roderici and others

Short description

Liturgical hymns from the 13th century make up the precious content of this significant musical manuscript: the Codex Las Huelgas. This is considered to be one of the most important manuscripts concerning the music of the Middle Ages, and of Spanish music overall! The manuscript was made in the first quarter of the 14th century in the Royal Cistercian Abbey of Santa María al Real de Las Huelgas near Burgos. Among the participating scribes, numbering twelve at least, the name Johannes Roderici, who also composed a few of the pieces, is particularly well-known. The nearly 200 mono- and polyphonic chants were presented in a gorgeously varied manner and are adorned with colorful initials. A truly splendid treasure of musical history!

Facsimile editions available

Description

Codex Las Huelgas

Liturgical hymns from the 13th century make up the precious content of this significant musical manuscript: the Codex Las Huelgas. This is considered to be one of the most important manuscripts concerning the music of the Middle Ages, and of Spanish music overall! The manuscript was made in the first quarter of the 14th century in the Royal Cistercian Abbey of Santa María al Real de Las Huelgas near Burgos. Among the participating scribes, numbering twelve at least, the name Johannes Roderici, who also composed a few of the pieces, is particularly well-known. The nearly 200 mono- and polyphonic chants were presented in a gorgeously varied manner and are adorned with colorful initials. A truly splendid treasure of musical history!

Spiritual Songs for the Royal Cistercian Abbey

You can virtually hear the singing Cistercians when you open the Codex Las Huelgas. The manuscript served the nuns of the Cistercian Convent of Santa María le Real de Las Huelgas as a songbook for liturgical hymns to be performed within the convent. Alongside spiritual songs, the Codex Las Huelgas also contains virtuoso motets. What is in fact striking, is that the 45 monophonic and 141 polyphonic pieces are recorded at all, because polyphonic chant was actually forbidden by the Cistercians!

13th Century Music

The pieces in the Codex Las Huelgas mostly stem from the late 13th century. The manuscript itself is a work of the early 14th century, originating ca. 1300-1325. Altogether, at least twelve scribes participated in the impressive work. A famous name from among them is Johannes Roderici, who was both a scribe and a composer of several pieces. The songs of the codex are thoroughly liturgical in content and probably follow a special Spanish tradition. The musical pieces are sometimes presented in a musical score, sometimes in individual staves. The notation is anything but consistent, with a few idiosyncrasies that only appear in this manuscript.

A Musical-Historical Treasure

The manuscript’s splendid binding of dark, elaborately embossed leather with bronze fittings and two gorgeous clasps awakes one’s desire for its historically significant content. The Codex Las Huelgas is one of the most important manuscripts of medieval Spanish music and is important for the history of Spanish music overall! Alongside the musical-historical content, the artistic furnishings of the codex with gorgeous initials are also a feature of the manuscript. The Codex Las Huelgas offers you the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in music of the period ca. 1300!

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