Exit Rosa - Chants for the nuns from manuscript Q.11 of Bologna (13th-14th Century)
Manuscript Q.11 of the Museo Della Musica of Bologna - Despite its small format, miscellaneous composition and unadorned appearance,Manuscript Q.11 of the Museo della Musica of Bologna constitutes an important legacy of medieval culture: it is one out of the very limited number of sources of monodic and polyphonic music for female voices – the voices of nuns – that are known to us in Europe, and the only one in Italy. The manuscript comprises 26 sheets, whose content was written between the end of the thirteenth century and the first decades of the fourteenth: some scholars suppose they came from central Italy, others from the north-eastern part of the country. The copyists (female ones, perhaps) produced them without any precise plan. Loose booklets forming small consistent units were sewn together, and, in some points, adapted, erased or rewritten: they were somehow arranged to provide the nuns with an anthology ofchants that were suitable for the celebration of their liturgy. So there are the regular pieces for the Mass: Gloria and Kyrie from the “classical”Gregorian repertoire; some Alleluias, composed much more recently, with exuberantversicles addressed to the Virgin Mary and St. Margaret, who probably was the dedicateeof the monastery from which the codex came; and various Benedicamus Domino for one or two voices. The latter are stylistically quite different from each other, and intersperse themusical texture of the collection with expressions of real elation.