Addendum on quire numbers

Call this bad bibliographical search, but to amend that last post, I’ve just found a second instance of a ‘primus’ occuring in a title which is fairly similar to the VM, but less than the St-Gall one.

It is in Flores musicae – phil.qt.52 , a music book from 1467 written by Hugo Spechtshart in Esslingen (about 120km north of Konstanz, so still within the southern half of Germany).  Namely, on f42r the title in red reads ‘primus tonus’, and although the loop of the p is closed that’s similar to the VM in terms of abbreviations.

Interestingly, in that same book just one page before, on f41r, the abbreviation of ‘primus tonus’ (in red, top right corner) is different, with ‘-ri’ not abbreviated:  so the same author could freely change from one page to the next, it seems.

Moreover ‘secundus’, ‘tertius’ and ‘quartus’ in the red titles on that page are abbreviated like in the VM, while on f41v ‘quintus’ and ‘septimus’ are similar to the VM, but ‘sextus’ and ‘octavius’ are different. And later on f50v ‘quartus’ gains a ‘t’ compared to f41r, so it becomes unlike the VM there too.

So, it still seems that the VM-like ‘primus’ abbreviations found so far point to that same rough geographic area. But with the caution that people may not have been very strict with abbreviations at the time. And so the VM quire numbers are perhaps not the super clear-cut identifyer one could have hoped for.  But of course, the closer the more likely, and other specific aspects of the script, like whether the old-style loopy 4 is inclinated towards the left or the right, and so on, are important.


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