Dow Partbooks

Mss 984-988 - Christ Church Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)

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The Dow Partbooks

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

The Dow Partbooks

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Dow Partbooks

The Dow Partbooks, named after their scribe Robert Dow (1553-1588), originated from Oxford ca. 1580. The five parts of the book come together on 960 impressive pages with a diverse repertoire suitable for both vocals and violin. One finds among them simple Latin motets, English doxologies, and a selection of textless chansons by famous composers like William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Robert White, Robert Parsons, Philip van Wilder, and Alfonso Ferrabosco. Dow himself was a trained calligrapher and his exceptional virtuosity can be admired in the black ink on red lines. For a manuscript from the 16th century, it is unbelievable exact and legible. Numbers 53 and 54 originate from the hand of John Baldwin (pre-1560-1615) and an unknown scribe is responsible for numbers 99 and 100.

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