early music performance

University of Kentucky College of FIne Arts

Distinguished Alumni Award 2003


Because Donna Boyd specializes in live performance (only) of medieval  and early Renaissance music with period instruments, I chose to set much of the text of her award to musical notation I came across on two consecutive leaves from a medieval antiphonary, one of those larger-than-life prompt books made for each vocal section of a medieval choir-- one book per voice--soprano, alto, basso, and so forth.

Interestingly, I discovered that a full  folio of such antiphonaries measured exactly 22” x 30”--a size that remains standard today in fine text weight art papers such as the Arches 90-lb hot press that I used for this award.

The lettering for the two full spreads of text set to the music is in a late medieval Blackletter style known as Rotunda complete with several lavish

decorated letters, while the book’s center spread, acknowledging Ms. Donna’s interest in Renaissance music as well, is written in Italic.

It is worth noting that medieval musical notation was done on a four-line staff with square-shaped notes--square because they were written with broad-edged quills. As luck would have it, I had bid on and won a huge bird quill, the lure for a zoo membership at a fundraising auction a couple of years earlier. Cured and cut,  it worked perfectly with gouache.

The case is covered in deep blue-black gross-grained bookcloth and lined with the Fabriano Tiziano paper of the book’s cover.  The pull is a gross-grain ribbon finished with a chunky gold bead carved in the almost naif manner of an early medieval cloister capital.

Find more about Donna’s work and the Center for Old Music in the New World at