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    Read the documentation

    Learn about the database structure, download data for analyses, and contribute to the database through the addition of manuscript tonaries.

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    Explore differentiae from 159 manuscripts

    Search for differentiae using a variety of facets.

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    Browse manuscript tonaries

    Explore tonaries for each manuscript in the Differentiae Database.

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Differentiae Database


The Differentiae Database provides basic analytic tools for the cross-manuscript study of differentiae and a standardized means for identifying differentiae in manuscript indices. To date, the database includes differentiae from 159 manuscripts, which are fully indexed in the Cantus Database

The database began as a standardization project for the differentia field in the Cantus Database. The online database was created as part of Rebecca Shaw's master's thesis, completed at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia (June 2019). 

There are two main intended uses of the Differentiae Database:

  1. Researching differentiae, tonaries, antiphoners, antiphons, psalms, etc.
  2. Indexing any manuscript that contains differentiae

See the About page and its subsidiaries for more information on the project and how to use the database. If you would like to contribute to the database, please see the Contribute page and Contact the site administrator.


Images for the unique differentia in each manuscript are included in the database when possible, according with the manuscript's digitization status and each library and archives' rules concerning the use of their images (i.e., their Creative Commons license). As more manuscripts are digitized and permissions are acquired, more images will be made public. All differentiae for each manuscript were indexed in consultation with digital or microfilm images.


If you are interested in earlier stages of this project, see the following:

Shaw, Rebecca. "Differentiae in the Cantus Manuscript Database: A Cross-Manuscript Analysis." Master's thesis, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. June, 2019.*

Shaw, Rebecca. "Differentiae in the Cantus Manuscript Database: Standardization and Musicological Application." In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Digital Libraries for Musicology (DLfM '18). ACM, New York, NY, USA (2018), 38-46.  https://doi.org/10.1145/3273024.3273028.

Shaw, Rebecca. "Standardizing a Crowdsourced Field." Presented at Machine-Reading and Crowdsourcing Medieval Music Manuscripts, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York (October 2017). https://www.esm.rochester.edu/machine-reading/

*As part of this thesis, several visualizations and interactive tables, graphs, and maps were created with data from the Differentiae Database and the Cantus Manuscript Database. To view/use these supplementary components, see Analyses.


 Database created with the support of:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Killam Laureates

Compute Canada