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Early music in Special Collections

Special Collections recently acquired a fine art facsimile of the Cantigas de Santa Maria, a 13th century Galician manuscript which contains a large collection of songs and hymns to the Virgin Mary. The original (known to scholars as the T manuscript) is held by the Biblioteca de El Escorial. The surviving Cantigas manuscripts are highly studied as examples of early Spanish and Portuguese literature, for the illuminations (including illustrations of medieval musical instruments), and for the music and musical notations. The Cantigas are often performed by early music ensembles — there are a number of recordings available in the library.

Special Collections and Music Special Collections both contain examples of medieval music manuscripts, including original manuscripts and manuscript leaves and facsimiles of music manuscripts held in other libraries across the world. They can be found by searching the library catalog using the genre terms “Music” and “manuscripts – facsimiles” or “Music” and “manuscripts.” The Cantigas de Santa Maria manuscript is available for research access now; the call number is Vault Collection Folio M 2112 .A4 C3.

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