Gautier de Coinci’s Miracles de Nostre Dame

Links to online sources for Gautier’s magnum opus.

Gautier involved in book-making
Gautier involved in book-making

Recently I very much enjoyed Tony Hunt’s book on Gautier de Coinci‘s exuberant but meaningful use of punning rhymes, anaphora and other rhetorical tricks in the poems that make up his Miracles of Our Lady. These features were much derided by earlier commentators and the secular thrust of twentieth-century studies of medieval French literature led to the neglect of Gautier’s work and its exclusion from canons it ought to be in: for example, it is rarely listed among French narrative poems with interpolated lyrics set to music, probably, as Hunt alleges, because it’s not proper secular courtly literature (for my impatience with these categories, see my earlier post).

Despite the large bibliography on Arlima, Gautier’s work deserves to be even better studied not just by literary scholars but also by by musicologists, because he not only includes songs with notated music in many sources, but also uses musical as fact and metaphor centrally within several miracles. He also seems to have been a serious precursor to Guillaume de Machaut in terms of overseeing the collection of his work and taking an interest in ordering it and making books. This very interesting-looking collection of essays is awaiting me in a local non-borrowing library just as soon as I can get down there (I’m currently rather immobile while on crutches with a sports injury — the perils of sabbaticals!). But in aid of making the study of Gautier a little easier (given the huge source base), I’ve decided to write this post and try to get the manuscripts all together. I’ve used the listings in the editions by Koenig (text) and Chailley (music), a list on Musicologie Médiévale by Arturo Tello, and some additional general web searching. Musicologie Médiévale (which everyone who’s read this far down should join!) also has a link to Kathryn Duys’s list of manuscripts with the songs in them in a chapter in the essay collection just mentioned (log-in required). The beauty of a blog is that I can update it as my own work on Gautier progresses; and anyone reading this can send me updates and corrections too!

Luckily, many of the MSS are online now, some in old black-and-white microfilm uploads, but others in newly done digital colour images. The manuscripts listed below are colour-coded into those that have musical notation, space for musical notation that was never entered, the songs’ verbal texts only or lack the songs entirely. I’ve added a ball-park century dating from Duys. Arlima’s good listing of primary and secondary sources only has links through the libraries’ home pages and/or to Arlima’s own manuscript inventories, not to images themselves. They’re a bit hard to aggregate on Gallica because of variant spellings of Coinci, Coincy, Coinsi, Coinsy, Courci…(*sighs deep medievalist sigh*) so here’s a list with links where they exist. Please submit corrections, questions, and updates via the comment box below!

A — Blois, bibl. mun.34. 13thC; no musical notation. Some images. (VI)

B — Brussels, Bibl. roy. 10747. 13thC; has musical notation. DIAMM description. Link to complete colour images online. (V)

C — GB-Lbl Harley 4401. 13thC; has musical notation. BL listing and some images. (XI)

D — F-Pa 3517-3518. 13thC; has musical notation. DIAMM description. Link to complete colour images here (vol. 1) and here (vol. 2). (IV)

E — F-Pn fr. 817. 15thC; no musical notation. There were black-and-white microfilm images but these now give ‘access denied’ message (if you can get the document, let me know!). (XVII)

F — F-Pn fr. 986. 13thC; has musical notation.Black-and-white microfilm images. (XIII)

G — F-Pn fr. 1530. 13thC; has musical notation. Black-and-white microfilm images. (VIII)

H — F-Pn fr. 1533. 13thC; musical notation envisaged but not completed. Black-and-white microfilm images. (IX)

I — F-Pn fr. 1536. 13thC; has musical notation. DIAMM description. Black-and-white microfilm images. (X)

K — F-Pn fr. 1613. 13thC; no musical notation. No images. Duys excludes this MS from a list of Gautier’s songs, since she notes that the song is not by Gautier. It is, however, listed in Koenig’s text edition of the Miracles.

L — F-Pn fr. 22928. 14thC; has musical notation. Colour images. (II)

M — F-Pn fr. 2163. 13thC; has musical notation. Black-and-white microfilm images. (XVI)

N — F-Pn fr. 25532. 13thC; has musical notation. DIAMM description. Black-and-white microfilm images. (III)

O — I-Rvat pal. lat. 1969. 14thC; musical notation envisaged but not completed. No images. (VII)

R — Russia, St. Petersburg, Fr. F. v XIV9. 14thC; has musical notation. DIAMM description. No images.

S — F-Pn n.a.f. 24541. 13thC; has musical notation. DIAMM description. Colour images. (I)

T — Besançon, bibl. mun. 551. 14thC; musical notation envisaged but not completed. Some images.

a — Brussels, Bibl. roy. 9229-30. 14thC; does not contain the songs.

d — La Haye, Bibl. roy. 71-A-24. 14thC; does not contain the songs.

e — Neuchtel, 4816. 15thC; no musical notation. (XVIII)

f — F-Pa 3527. 14thC; musical notation envisaged but not completed. No images. (XIV)

g — F-Pa 5204. 14thC; does not contain the songs. No images.

h — F-Pn n.a.f. 6295. 13thC; musical notation envisaged but not completed. No images. (XII)

i — F-Pn n.a.f. 4276. 14thC; does not contain the songs. No images.

l — F-Pn fr. 818. 13thC; does not contain the songs. Black-and-white microfilm images.

m — F-Pn fr. 1546. 13thC; does not contain the songs. Black-and-white microfilm images.

n —  F-Pn fr. 1807. 13thC; does not contain the songs. Black-and-white microfilm images.

o — F-Pn fr. 2193. 13thC; musical notation envisaged but not completed. Black-and-white microfilm images. (XV)

p — F-Pn fr. 19166. 13thC; does not contain the songs. Black-and-white microfilm images.

r — F-P Ste-Geneviève 586. 14thC; does not contain the songs.

s — Tours 948. 14thC; no musical notation.

t — F-Pn fr. 23111. 13thC; no musical notation. Black-and-white microfilm images.

v — Florence Laur. 45, Ashb 53. 13thC; no musical notation. Catalogue listing here.

x — F-Pn fr. 15110. 13thC; does not contain the songs. Black-and-white microfilm images.

8. Lille 130. 14thC; does not contain the songs. No images.

10bis. GB-Lbl Egerton 274. 14thC; has musical notation. DIAMM information. BL inventory and some images.

18. F-Pn fr. 375. 13thC; does not contain the songs. Black-and-white microfilm images.

26. F-Pn fr. 24300; no musical notation. Black-and-white microfilm images.

32. Rennes 593. 14thC; does not contain the songs.


See the essay and appendices in: Krause, Kathy M., and Alison Stones, eds. Gautier de Coinci: Miracles, Music, and Manuscripts. Turnhout: Brepols, 2006.


  1. Thanks for this!
    What I find particularly curious in the case of the scholarly reception of Gautier’s songs is that there is no reason for the past/present lack of musicological interest in them. According to your list, 12 of the Gautier MSS have music, 6 have space for it, and only 8 don’t have music.
    So even with the narrow, but sadly common view, that music is only music when it has notes attached to it, Gautier’s songs should have fallen within the scope of musicologists!

    1. In this case the lack of generic fit (vernacular poetry not ‘courtly’ lyric-interpolated narrative) seems to trump the presence/absence of notation. Also, I think the fact that many are deliberately obvious contrafacta discounted him from being a proper (i.e. original) author.

  2. Thanks for this super useful post. I have quick question, please: does anyone know offhand how many of these Gautier manuscripts also contain polyphonic motets?

    I’m particularly interested in Arsenal 3517-8, ‘D’ (or ArsB if you’re from the polyphony side of the tracks). It’s got 10 motets in it, and I was wondering how typical this is in the broader context of the Gautier sources. As ever, a firm monophony-polyphony divide means most of the things I’ve read so far either focus just on Gautier and the songs or just on the motets.

    1. Off hand I have no idea, but if I ever end up doing more stuff on these sources, I’ll make sure I keep tally. And I say: down with the polyphony/monophony divide!

  3. Kathy says:

    I don’t know if you ever got a copy of our “Gautier de Coinci: Miracles, Music, and Manuscripts” but if you’d like one of your own, it is on sale on the Brepols site for a very reasonable price! (I do not have any more copies of my own.) The detailed manuscript lists in the back will answer many questions about the contents; however they were compiled by a literary scholar/codicologist (myself) and an art historian/codicologist (Alison Stones) and so we may not have paid as much attention to the issue of polyphony vs monophony as that would only arise in manuscripts that excerpt one or more of Gautier’s songs to include in a “songbook” or some sort. There is an article in the volume, however, by Barbara Haagh which should tell you more.

    1. Yes, thanks I do indeed have a copy of your book — I just haven’t had a chance to update the blogpost with the information from it quite yet. I’m currently working flat out on unrelated topics, so I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to do so, but would hope to do that at some point. For the moment, the main point of this page was just to aggregate the links to digital surrogates of the MSS, as well as provide a basic open online sigla list for anyone wanting it.

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