English and German influences in the production of music-liturgical manuscripts in Sweden up to the thirteenth century

Sean Dunnahoe

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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More than 25,000 individual fragments from medieval liturgical manuscripts exist in the archives of Sweden and Finland. The books to which they belonged were mutilated in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries by Swedish bailiffs, who used them to wrap local administrative accounts.

In this thesis I have made a survey of the music-liturgical fragments from these collections up to the early thirteenth century. I have focused on their palaeographical features in text and music, as well as their liturgical contents, to draw comparisons between themselves and English and German manuscripts. I argue that the fragments show a hybrid style of production that suggests a synthesis of both German and English scribal and liturgical influences, suggesting that by the mid-12th century many of the fragments were Scandinavian products, rather than imports. This was perhaps especially true in the province of Småland, where scribes successfully created a unique local style that relied heavily on unheightened German neumes within an otherwise ‘English’ scribal context.

In addition to the codicological evidence, the transmission of two special feasts are examined. The English and German offices for King Oswald are traced in the fragments, with the goal of establishing the context and manner of their transmission into Sweden. The English and Norman versions of the feast of the Conception of Mary are also traced. In both cases I use examples from the Swedish fragments to draw attention to problems with our current understanding of the history of each feast, and suggest possible theories that would solve those problems.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Deeming, Helen, Supervisor
  • Lawrence, Frank, Supervisor, External person
  • Rose, Stephen, Advisor
Award date1 Mar 2017
Publication statusUnpublished - 2017


  • Medieval Studies
  • Musicology
  • Palaeography
  • Manuscripts
  • Liturgy
  • Scandinavia

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