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Lights and Rain

Today I got to use the ultraviolet light at the library. Holy Smokes does that make things clearer! The music fragments in the Findern MS look different in person than they do in the facsimile even under normal light, which is perhaps no surprise, as the pages were photographed to provide high contrast for the texts (which it does quite well), not accuracy for whispy little staff lines. But when you stick an ultraviolet light on them, they really pop out.

So one of the surprises is that there are some words on the musical fragment page. On the left it says something like: Firt Horn, or Funt Horn. (Anyone want to make a guess on that?) And then on the right it says something like faing, saing, sains— I'm just not really sure. But of course, at a glance I want to read it as "First Horn" and "Sing" because it's a page of musical notes. But then, first glance is so seldom correct.

The ultraviolet contraption has two ultraviolet lights on either side of a magnifying lens. So you hold the light with one hand and peer through the lens, then, there's your page— bigger, and weirdly crisp and sharp. I was able to take the little point and shoot camera that my mom gave me this year, and just plop it on top of the magnifying lens. The pics are fabulous. Way better than the ones that I paid the library (cough cough) amount of money for three years ago. (Sad really how a cheap camera bought this year, beats an expensive one from four or five years ago.) It is a little like juggling though—ultraviolet light, manuscript page that keeps wanting to close, and itty bitty hard to hold camera.

It rained, so no pics really. I had all my electronics in my backpack, and put my backpack in it's own little rain fly, and then covered the whole thing over with the poncho of death. (Photo of the poncho of death is below.)

Erin is transcribing a 12th century medical text that no one knew existed before last April. (Is that cool or what?) The manuscript is at Sidney Sussex College, that's one of the "old" colleges. The library where she is at just has one table, so the librarian sits at one end (which is his desk), and she sits at the other end.

Today's Pics:
(As always, click on the thumbnails to see a larger version.)

What's that thing on the left?
What's that thing on the left?
So one of the things that's important in reading medieval music is to know which line is C . (You get to pick any one you want.) So there's a mark on the left here that's really faint. Is it a cleff mark to show where C is, or is it just swirls in the grain of the paper? flyspecks?

Same thing under ultraviolet
Same thing under ultraviolet
In person this looked clearer, but even in this photo, you can see that there is clearly an inked loop on the left between the two lines, and there seems to be one above it as well.

 

Sydney Sussex College Court
Sydney Sussex College Court
Where Erin spent the day.
Rain Poncho of Death
Rain Poncho of Death
I can put all my electronics, my backpack, books, spare clothing, and a kitchen chair under the poncho, and no one would ever know.
Erin Looking up Latin Abbreviations
Erin Looking up Latin Abbreviations
We were very, very good. We came back and worked til bedtime.
Rick Steve's is my Guide
Rick Steve's is my Guide
So Rick Steve's (the travel guru) says to buy a portable clothesline with velcro rings on the ends. I brought my Woolite, and am road testing the new line. So far, so good.