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Chant Endings

A significant portion of vertical lines in Barnard MS 1 denote the end of chants and are easy to distinguish from others.

Barnard MS 1, pg. 2

In this excerpt from the second page of the manuscript, red letters–either full letters like the R in “Regem” or smaller letters like the Q in “Quia” or the two V’s in “Venite”–denote the beginning of a new chant or a section a chant. Although the vertical lines preceding these letters are faint, they clearly show that previous chants have ended in each of these cases (for the vertical line before “Regem” look at the end of the staff above it!).

Barnard MS 1, pg. 207

Even in the case of a series of incipits immediately following each other, as near the end of Corpus Christi, these lines separating chants dependably appear.

Barnard MS 1, pg. 1

It is extremely rare for the end of a chant not to be marked by a vertical line, but one notable example occurs on the very first page of the manuscript. A line would be expected after “Magnificat,” before the capital G of the next chant. In this case, as in others, the end of the chant may have been seen as self-evident and already communicated in a series of ways, so the scribe might have simply decided that a vertical line was not necessary. Still, the line’s absence is curious, especially as the beginning of this chant is no more distinguished than “Regem apostolorum” in the first example.

Nevertheless, vertical lines marking the end of chants are omnipresent.