LMLO encompasses two printed volumes, the first on Texts, the second on Sources and Chants, together with programs and electronic data, and is published by the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. For complete publication details and ordering information, please see below.
This innovative project was developed by Andrew Hughes, University Professor in the Faculty of Music and the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, who has spent many years analyzing the large corpus of late medieval liturgical offices, mostly of the rhymed variety. He is the author of Medieval Manuscripts for Mass and Office: A Guide to Their Organization and Terminology (Toronto, 1982; paperback edition, 1995), and was President of the Medieval Academy of America.
The liturgical office for Thomas of Canterbury was sung from Norway to Hungary. In versions for monasteries and for secular churches it survives nowadays in several hundred manuscripts. Offices for St Dominic and St Francis were similarly widespread. Did the office for Thomas of Canterbury influence them? There are eight or nine offices for Corpus Christi. How are they related to each other? Why did the Dominicans ask a Master-General of the order to write an office for Corpus Christi if Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican himself, had already done so? And why are there no adequate scholarly editions for any of these important offices?
The first volume of LMLO provides tools that can help to address such questions. It maps new territory in many disciplines. It sets out concise but comprehensive methods for characterizing and recording liturgical material (nearly 1500 complete offices are edited and catalogued); for analyzing late medieval poetry (some 50,000 poems are analyzed); for indexing and comparing plainsongs (several thousand are nearly ready for release); and for making brief inventories of liturgical manuscripts (some 2000 are in preparation). In addition, it presents a consistent system of sigla for referring to the libraries in which manuscripts are held (manuscripts from more than 400 libraries were used). The repertory is presented in electronic editions that can be fully indexed and searched: see the description below.
LMLO: Sources and Chants
A scholar who used LMLO: Texts to find a phrase of a poem discovers a reference to a manuscript from Tongres. She wonders what is the nature of this manuscript, and what is known about it. Other colleagues have asked: where are sources for the office for Stephen of Hungary? why is a manuscript originally for use at Aachen now in Florence? how widely distributed are Sarum books?
Part I of LMLO: Sources and Chants can help answer these and similar questions about the manuscript sources of liturgical texts and feasts. It sets out innovative methods of describing liturgical books and their contents. For a few books, well known for one reason or another, more information - and sometimes definitive descriptions – can be found elsewhere. For most of the books in this database – some 3000 in all – this publication contains as much information as is known.
The volume also includes a thorough but simple introduction to working with plainsong for those not trained in music. On the basis of that information researchers can explore many complex problems.
For example, how frequently does a particular melodic motive appear in late medieval chant? Where do melismas of a certain length appear within words set to chant? Are certain formulas truly characteristic of particular modes? Is mode related to season, service, or genre? In their attempts to deal with such questions, scholars have often relied on their memory of a little-known and very large repertory, and have proceeded to make generalizations from the small parts that were known.
Part II of LMLO: Sources and Chants can help address these questions systematically. The database of several thousand encoded chants will allow users to carry out searches and to make wide-ranging comparisons. It will enable users to analyze the melodic style of chant and its text setting and facilitate documentation based on statistics rather than intuition.
The Electronic Office
The published volumes of LMLO are equipped with diskettes containing textual and chant data, as well as software programs and searching routines for accessing them. As described below, a limited online version of the data is also available.
LMLO data and software
The data provided on disk are in the simplest of computer formats, in DOS or ASCII text format. That is, they use no proprietary encoding, only “typewriter” characters, and so can be read by any word-processor. The musical chants, in fact, can be sight-read from the encoded data.
For purposes of indexing and some rudimentarry formatting when used with the the wordprocessing program Nota Bene, a good deal of material other than the data characterises the files. For example, each “Record” consisting of a manuscript in the Inventory ends with [EndRec]. These markers appear when the data are read in most wordprocessors. The software supplied with the publication eliminates these markers. This software is essentially for searching the data and for extracting sections according to various criteria, using Boolean alternatives and wild characters.
Unfortunately, the software was produced before the Microsoft Windows® operating system was widely available, and is not as user-friendly as Windows users have come to expect. The software will run in Windows 95 and 98, and in Millenium Edition, but in the latest version displays on the screen while the programs are running will be incomprehensible.
Although using the programs supplied may require a fairly steep learning curve for those used to doing only what Windows allows, they offer a more precise control over the searches and more flexibility than can be achieved with any current Windows software.
The programs supplied will allow the user:
- to look at the data with its elements distinguished by colour (that is, without the formatting markers), and to perform simple searches [LOOKAT and VIEW-MSS]
- to search for and extract sections of the data according to various criteria (e.g. by office, genre, manuscript, country, town, or word), using AND and OR alternatives and wild characters [EXTRACT and EXTR-MSS]
- to extract and compare melodic motives, using similar criteria (e.g., mode, melisma, genre, text-setting) [CHNTSRCH]
- to produce Keywords in Context [KLIC] (e.g., where >c.< identifies the word cesus):
... vite meritis a servis >c.< gladiis martyrium ...
... ex hoc fluit fonte lapis >c.< monte.
Wild characters apply to most of these operations, giving a flexibility that is lacking in most wordprocessors. The markers also allow the data to be indexed by the expensive commercial program WordCruncher.™
A preliminary web version of the LMLO Texts database may be found on the site devoted to tools for chant analysis developed by Ike de Loos and Hans Lub, a chant researcher at Utrecht University and a computer programmer. It provides a thin ‘wrapper’ around the electronic texts for easy and flexible searching. Scholars can now search for a given string in part of the database (name of feast, incipit, etc) or in the entire Texts database (using a global search). A list of all feasts can also be requested. This will yield an alphabetical list of names on which users can click for further information.To interpret the results, users will need to consult the published volumes of LMLO.
To order these works, please consult the ordering page.
Late Medieval Liturgical Offices: Tools for Electronic Research: Texts. Subsidia Mediaevalia 23 • x, 230 pages; 1 CD-ROM • 1994 • ISBN 978–0–88844–372–4 • $85.00.
Late Medieval Liturgical Offices: Tools for Electronic Research: Sources and Chants. Subsidia Mediaevalia 24 • x, 246 pages; 1 CD-ROM • 1996 • ISBN 978–0–88844–373–1 • $115.00.