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The Codex Albensis
Graz, University Library, Codex 211, Hungary, 1st half of the 12th century

Not within the series CODICES SELECTI

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The Codex Albensis which is the most important, yet so far unpublished monument of medieval history of Hungarian as well as Central European music. At present its keeping place is the University Library of Graz (Ms. 211). According to the methods of Paléographie Musicale the codex is published in facsimile edition.

The codex was written in Hungary during the first half of the 12th century. This is proved by the Office composed in honour of King Stephen who reigned from 1001 to 1038. Textual analysis has shown that the original copy which served as a basis had come into being about the year 1000, so our codex belongs to the oldest type of antiphonaries in Europe. The notation of the codex is, with minor divergencies, the uniform notation of St. Gall.

At the bottom of the folio, containig the feast of St. Stephen the first Martyr, a suit of pen-and-ink drawings are to be seen. A huntsman following a stag and other animal pictures. They call up to memory the minstrels, masked with animal hides and going from door to door on the second day of Christmas and on the following days in order to sing their songs in honour of King Stephen, the so-called regölés (raggerlaish). The codex is also interesting from the historical point of view, because of its drawings and its divergencies between the South-German original and the popular Hungarian version. The codex is one of the first assertions of the then only for several decades in this area settled Hungarians. The discussion between both classes of the Hungarian people took place in this area; the heathen, living in its old racial organization wanted to rush through Europe and go plundering on and on, whilst the Christian founded the new state and the new church under the direction of King Stephen.

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