Archeologists have found a 15th century song engraved on a stone in Brittany


Archaeologists have revived a melody from the XV th century found on a slate plate unearthed during excavations of the Convent of the Jacobins in Rennes. The soprano Dominique Fontaine explains us how.

It was through the voice that prayer was expressed

„It seemed to us very special.. studying these graffiti closely, we saw that this shale plate Included … a musical score!“

Four lines made of diamond-shaped notes (see box) that will identify a Gregorian chant of the XV th century, which unlike the current theory, is not transcribed on five lines. A decoding made by Dominique Fontaine, soprano of the musical ensemble Ad Lib , in Rennes, one of the rare psalmist choirs (the equivalent of a choirmaster) specialized in ancient religious music.


In the Middle Ages, the carved nib makes it possible to write notes that look more like steno signs before they are reproduced in a square format filled with ink. The template of the notes indicated the rhythm to follow. Later, to save the ink, one no longer fills the body with notes. Then, over time, the copyists begin to round them out for efficiency.