Znamenny Chant

Accession number: 
MS M.1182
Znamenny Chant
Russia, ca. 1800.
Contemporary stamped red leather binding with patterns matching the tall vertical section of the manuscript's illuminated frontispiece, clasp missing.
258 folios (1 column, 13 lines), bound : blue tinted paper, ill. ; 312 x 195 mm
Purchased by Gladys E. Cook in Paris, 1954; bequeathed to her nephew, Robert G. Calkins, who gave it to the Morgan Library, 2013.

Antiphonary for the Old Believers of the Russian Orthodox Church.
13 lines of text with notation in red and black ink.
Decoration: 22 head pieces, 22 decorated initials, and 12 floral borders in green, yellow, red, and blue.
Complements several "Old Believer" manuscripts in the collection, none of which have musical notation.
Believed to be an exceedingly rare manuscript; libraries in Moscow and St. Petersburg list only 6 or 7 antiphonals in their collections. Znamenny Chant is singing a tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church, liturgical singning written in stolp notation which uses symbols (called Kryuki) instead of the traditional musical notes used in the West. These symbols can indicate melody, mood, and gradation, or, in other words, how it is meant to sound. Around 1600, a system of "red marks," as found in this manuscript, was developed to indicate the highest note of the symbol it was placed in front of. Znamenny Chant is never accompanied by instruments.

Variant Title: 


Slavic, stolp notation