Teleri (telerib) wrote,


When I was a kid, I (sort of) learned to write italic calligraphy. By "sort of," I mean I remember how the letters are supposed to look and can generally draw them, but not with the elegance or consistency of an actual calligrapher. (My godmother can; it's always nice to get mail from her. It's so pretty!)

Well, I took it into my head a few months back that, since I'm all into medieval music and suchlike, it would be good to learn to notate that music in a period style. Four lines and bunches of square (sometimes diamond!) dots. Even I can do that. The "Liber Usualis," the Big Catholic Book of Chant, is available online, and gives amazing clear instruction on reading the neumes (like when you see the stack of two dots, one over the other, you always play/sing the bottom one, then the top one).

Well, that's cool and all, but what about the lyrics there? Those are not dots. And, as a well-rounded Scadian, shouldn't I know something about the writing style of my period?

So I got me a how-to book and a set of felt-tipped pens to start practicing. Picking a font to learn was not as straightforward as I'd thought - no fewer than four (Unical, Half Unical*, and Insular Majescule and Miniscule) appear in different Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. While Insular Miniscule looks the most "Anglo-Saxony" to me, it also looks much harder to do - 4-5 pen strokes per letter instead of 2-3. That's leaning me to the Unicals.

It's kind of funny; there's nothing wrong with Unical. It's simple and bold and attractive, and was used in the Vespasian psalter, which is well-loved by lyre people. But it's an all-caps font, no lower-case letters. SO I FEEL LIKE I'M SHOUTING.

*Carolingian miniscule actually shown, but the book claims it's a conscious revision of Half Unical and they're mostly the same.
Tags: sca
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