The name of the Dutch musician and papal singer Ghiselin Danckerts (Tholen, about 1510 – Rome, 1567) has very soon entered in music historiography thanks to the treatise Sopra una differentia musicale sententiata that, although remained manuscript, from the early seventeenth century to today has maintained a notoriety in debates and studies on Renaissance music theory. However, his musical production was so far limited to three motets, one madrigal and two canons. The meagre catalogue of Danckerts' works seems now destined to expand thanks to the discovery of an unknown manuscript source of sacred polyphonic music, which has been discovered and recognized by the Author as an autograph by the Dutch musician, thanks to a comparison with his hand on the aforementioned treatise and other documents from the archive of the papal chapel . The absence of concordances of the works included in the manuscript into the printed and manuscript sacred music of his contemporaries colleagues, and the presence of deletions and rewrites, not always interpretable as corrections to possible errors, but rather as real compositional rethinking, lead to believe that the pieces – all anonymous, except for a Magnificat signed by Danckerts – can be attributed, at least in part, to the Dutch composer. The article is also accompanied by newly found biographical datas on Danckerts, including the will and inventory of its goods. The knowledge of this exceptional manuscript contributes to shedding new light on different aspects of Renaissance polyphony, such as counterpoint on plain-chant or compositional processes, but also on the liturgical practice of the papal chapel outside the official ceremonies, and on that repertoire composed of some of its most outstanding members, which, for reasons still to be investigated, was not copied in Sistine Codices.
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