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Canons on the plainsong 'Miserere', c. 1600

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Dd.04.60

Scope and Contents

The old church-melody ‘Miserere’ is written at the head of each page on a stave of four lines; and between the two parts, forming each of the 1,163 accompaniments, the words ‘2 parts in one’ are written. This phrase indicates that the two parts between which it is placed are to be sung together as an accompaniment to the plain song. On the last leaf there is a short list of errata.


  • c. 1600

Language of Materials


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1 volume(s) (1 volume) : 204 leaves.

Custodial History

On the second leaf is the following account of the manuscript: ‘The gyfte of Mr Henry Bury clerke deceased; that branch of his last Will which concerneth this book is as followeth, viz. Item, my will is that my two song bookes, either of which containeth all Mr Waterhouse’ songs of 2 parts in one, upon the plaine song of Myserere about a 1000 waies, shall be given, the one of them to Oxforde and the other to Cambridge; whear I hope they shal be kept or published in print for the credit of Englishmen and for better preserving and continewing that wonderful work.’ Bury’s will seems to have been proved in 1636, but the manuscript did not at once come into the possession of the University, as appears from the following note, added by the Librarian of the time: ‘I was chosen Librarie keeper anno 1629, but never saw this book till February 1, anno 1648, it beinge left in some forgetful hands; and at last by Sr Coppinger of St John’s College sent unto me, Abraham Wheelock.’

Physical Facet


Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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