The Principles of CAO-ECE
|It would help orientation if the definition and wording of the provenance of
sources were clearer. Unfortunately 'provenance' is still a rather ambiguous notion.
In addition we have to distinguish two different meanings of 'provenance' here: one
suitable for codicology and another for the history of liturgy and music. The designation
of the place of origin, the names of the scribe and user(s) are of great importance for the
history of the manuscript as a bibliographical document. Data of that kind do not, however,
necessarily constitute evidence of the contents of the manuscript, i.e. the community it
served and whose usage it reflects. Sometimes a choir-book of a village parish church is a
more reliable witness of the liturgy of a given diocese than a missal written for an altar
or the prayerbook of a chaplain or canon of the cathedral.|
|To achieve a better overall perspective in this matter we must abandon the presumption
either of a unity coming from and ordained by Rome or of the opposite, that is, the
existence of a multitude of items circulating in a free and disordered manner and depending
on accidental influences, fashions or the initiatives of a copyist: neither of these ideas
are valid in the case of medieval liturgy. Those regional churches and ecclesiastical
institutions which had a well-established liturgical practice of long standing played a
decisive role which both preserved the local-temporal unity and at the same time gave
rise to well-ordered mutations. First of all in this respect the practice of the chapters
in the episcopal or archiepiscopal sees must be reckoned with, in addition to which
collegiate churches and parish churches represent forces preserving regional-local
liturgies. In opposition to these stand the cults of the religious orders - in which
regional and international (centralized) features occur in a different proportion.
The liturgical life in 'secular' churches was regulated mainly by customary law,
continuity resulting from everyday practice and based on the decisions of the chapters.
Thus the sources possibly reflect this liturgical consuetudo.|
|What we want to achieve when we inquire into the 'provenance' of a given source is, in the
last analysis, the identification and localization of the tradition influencing the source,
at least with respect to the history of liturgy and plainchant. 'Provenance' means in this
context the relationship between the above mentioned consuetudo and the source itself.
At the beginning of the inquiry 'provenance' in the codicological sense of the word may be
a hint as to where to look. It can be a warning sign during research and finally it can point
to some particular factors, internal distinguishing features when we evaluate the results.
The two meanings of 'provenance' do not necessarily coincide, however. In our opinion the
lack of this distinction is responsible for some of the obscurities occurring in the
literature of this special field, in catalogues or monographs.|
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