Traditionally (and likely erroneously) believed to be created by Pope St. Gregory the Great, the Gregorian chant was developed in Europe beginning in the 9th century. Pope St. Gregory was lovingly credited with many great works, such as commanding missionaries to go out into the world and return with new music from other lands, but scholars are doubtful as to which stories are in fact true, and which are myths.
Performed in Mass, the Gregorian chant was originally sung in churches by choirs of men and boys eventually became the most prominent form of Christian music, eventually experiencing a revival of sorts during the 20th century. Today, the Roman Catholic Church continues to look to the chant as the most appropriate worship music.
Pictured here is a rare original liturgy manuscript which is hand scribed and dated circa 1540. Two colorful initials are beautifully hand painted in vivid red, blue and yellow colors on the vellum. This piece is unusual in that it is larger than the usual musical manuscripts of this type. As is standard with most antique vellum documents, one side of the piece is a darkened yellow, while the other is a much whiter shade.