Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Music, PhD


School of Arts and Humanities

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Robert Zappulla

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

David Pagel

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Holly Gardinier

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2023 Yibing Bai


Denison Library, Scripps College, Music theorist, Illuminations, Calligraphy writing

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MS Perkins 4 is a 16th-century gradual housed in Special Collections at Denison Library at Scripps College, in Claremont, California. MS. Perkins 4 was most likely created in northern France in the early 16th century by the artist, Master of Morgan 85. MS Perkins 4 contains the music and text for the proper Roman Catholic mass during the liturgical calendar from Maundy Thursday to the Fifth Sunday after the Easter Vigil of Pentecost. The manuscript is distinguished by a large number of illuminated initials with rich connotations that still need to be fully investigated. This manuscript has been fully digitized and available from the Claremont Colleges Digital Library (CCDL). My objectives are to analyze the music notation and illuminations found in the manuscript, to compare MS Perkins 4 with other related manuscripts. and to study the use of figura in MS Perkins 4. Figura is correlated with shape, linear, delineations, etc. Multiple authors used figura in the Medieval treatises in different fields, such as the music theorist Quintillion, Augustine, and the 12th-century music theorist Guido d'Arezzo. The music notation, alphabetical letters, and illuminations are figura by nature. My methodology is an analysis of the hand-written text and illumination of this manuscripts, comparing MS Perkins 4 and the other related manuscript, and assessment of its historical background. In addition, I discuss the use of color, lighting, shading, and pattern of the painting and hand-written text in MS Perkins 4, namely music notation, calligraphy writing, and illuminations. I argue that MS Perkins 4 is not only a music manuscript but also an artwork with great value of beauty. Finally, I explore the symbolic meanings of fleur-de-lis and salamanders to argue further that the artist used symbols to convey respectfulness towards Jesus and the French king, Francis I. As a result, I identify the music notation, the calligraphy writing, and the illuminations in MS Perkins 4 as figura . I will also connect MS Perkins 4 with the manuscript artist Jean Pichore, the religious and liturgical background, and the French monarchy, particularly Francis I.



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