A Translation of Body and Form: Setting the Short Charter of Christ to Music in BL Additional MS 5465
In British Library, Additional MS 5465 (ca. 1500), also known as the Fayrfax Manuscript, a copy of the Short Charter of Christ is put to music in a song-book that was possibly written by or under the direction of Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521). While recent studies have examined the Short Charter’s materiality and its metaphorical imitation of legal documents, this essay contends that the musical setting of the Fayrfax copy illustrates the surprisingly wide range of devotional interest and degree of formal reinterpretation this work could inspire as it circulated in manuscript form. The musicality of the Fayrfax copy would have redefined the materiality of this documentarily-inspired work for early modern performers and audience members, offering them the opportunity to witness the creation of Christ’s charter not just as a visually effective but also as an aurally verifiable and devotionally affective performance guaranteeing mankind’s salvation.
Noonan, Sarah, "A Translation of Body and Form: Setting the Short Charter of Christ to Music in BL Additional MS 5465" (2014). Faculty Scholarship. 192.