Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica. 10(1988)1(1-11)

[p.1] Church Music and Musicians in late mediaeval Malta

Stanley Fiorini

The Maltese legends centred on the figure of Count Roger have it that the Count banished the Muslims from these islands and, among other achievements, reconstructed the cathedral and established in it canonries and benefices. [1] It is well known that events did not quite happen that way. The process of re-Christianization was a slow one and the people long remained, in their large majority, Muslims; an Italo-Byzantine exiled in Malta for decades in the mid-twelfth century moans that his co-inhabitants were ‘sons of Agar the godless’; [2] in 1175 Bishop Burchard describes the island as infested with Sarraceni; and as late as 1241 it is patently clear from Abate Giliberto’s census that the population was in its great majority Muslim. [3] Yet the administration entrenched by Roger I in 1127 was undoubtedly Latin. Besides government functionaries, soldiers, and merchants, the establishment also included the Church and particularly the Mdina cathedral. Admittedly, the earliest document relating to the cathedral building does not antedate 1299, [4] but long before, the presence of an active church is in evidence. The see of Malta is already mentioned in 1156, Bishop Johannes of Malta, albeit absent from the island, is active in 1168, and Johannes Zafarana Maltensis Canonicus is documented in 1244. [5] If the Maltese cathedral had its canons by 1244, then this is a sure sign that the Divine Office used to be sung then. In fact, a somewhat later reference to a Cantor of the Cathedral confirms this. [6]

More than two centuries had to pass from these very early indications of musical activity at the cathedral for more solid evidence to come to light. This evidence comes in the form of receipts for payments to various individuals whose employment by the cathedral was necessitated by its liturgical services. Reference is made to the organists, the choir-masters, and the scripturi or copyists that produced the liturgical books. The object of this note is to present what evidence has been gleaned on this activity up to around 1540.

The cathedral appears to have employed a cleric, on short-term contracts, to teach cantus firmus, probably to be interpreted as plain chant, to its chapter and clergy, certainly from 1515 onwards. Originally these tended generally to be foreigners but by 1530, only Maltese are encountered. In 1515 Don Andriotta Scavuni was paid ten tari per month in haviri recto scola di canto fermo in decoracioni dicte [p.2] ecclesie cathedralis. [7] In 1517 one encounters Mastro Canturi Don Nicola Catalano, [8] in 1523 the Maltese Don Domenico Vella, [9] and in 1527-28 Don Andrea de Federico nicknamed ‘huayne’ (little eye), also Maltese, [10] who were all paid at the same rate; in 1533 Venerabili Misser Joan Aloysi Scagluni, canturi conducto ad insignari lo clero, was paid twice as much for six months. [11] Thereafter, several references to work by the Maltese Padre Petro Callus of the Augustinians are encountered. He taught chant to six clerics for a whole year starting in July 1535. [12] Callus must have made quite a bit of money giving private tuition in canto fermo to clerics who were willing to pay for individual attention. Thus, in November 1535, Callus bound himself by contract to teach cantus firmus to Don Antonio Vitali for a fee of 24 tari; lessons were to take place every day during sext and vespers at the master’s convent; [13] a similar contract was signed the following March in favour of Don Francesco Falca. [14] Twelve years later, Callus was still active in this field. [15] Between 1537 and 1539 Don Simuni Ferriolu is described as

Mastro di scuola Jn choro dicte cathedralis per insignarj li yaconj et altri che havissiro bisognu cantarj et diri tucto quillo fachissi bisogno in lo officio di dicta cathedralj ecclesia. [16]

It is being suggested here that cantus firmus refers to plain or Gregorian chant, one of the accepted meanings in contemporary literature. [17] Of interest also in this context is the somewhat later reference to canto Gregoriano e (canto) figurato which seminarians were expected to practise according to the rulings of the diocesan synod of 1590. [18] It is clear that canto figurato is here used in opposition to canto Gregoriano. This is a clear allusion to polyphonic music. [19]

Going back to cathedral choir-masters, the last mentioned Ferriolu was for a long time in the 1530s also one of the organists at the cathedral. Evidence for the existence of an organist there, however, antedates this by several decades. The earliest reference found to date, in fact, goes back to 1494 when Venerabili Frati Joannes (de) Rapi(s) occupied that position; he was paid an annual salary of 10 uncie, often [p.3] being remunerated in kind. [20] Soon after this de Rapis died and in April 1496, Don Lorenzo Vagnolo signed a contract with Bishop Valguarnera binding himself to play the cathedral organ as necessary for an annual salary of 6 uncie. [21] Just two months later, another contract was signed with Don Nicola de Virmiglia who appears to have replaced Vagnolo and whom he bound himself to teach; [22] perhaps Vagnolo’s performance turned out to be not of the highest calibre.

From 1515 onwards for the next thirty years or so, the scene became dominated by Don Lorenzo Caxaro, one time Vicarius Generalis of the diocese. [23] In spite of his standing in the church and right from the start, his position as organist was challenged both from abroad as well as from within; the question of salaries appears to have been the issue. It was discussed in the town-council whether Caxaro, who was being paid 10 uncie annually, should be replaced either by the Sicilian Honorabili Mastro Petro Fauczuni, who was demanding 12 uncie, or by the Maltese deacon Ximuni Ferriolu, very much Caxaro’s junior, who was prepared to accept only 5 uncie. [24] Caxaro managed to hold on; [25] he was further paid an extra uncia annually to pay the bellows-blower, [26] who in 1514 is known to have been Cola dili Nasi nicknamed di Santu Paulu. [27] A second attempt to dislodge Caxaro was made by Petro Falsuni’s faction in the town-council in 1522. [28] Falsuni’s expertise in dismantling and reconstructing the organ, which was then badly in need of repairs – menzo guasto – was again appealed to. It appears that the post was in fact given to Fauczuni but for some unstated reasons he could not take up the position, [29] so that Caxaro in effect for a second time managed to remain ensconced, only with a difference; Ferriolu made a second come-back for the post and this time managed to secure a joint position with Caxaro. [30] The situation was formalized in 1524 when they were given an eight-year contract, [31] whereby a total of eleven uncie was to be divided between them, 6 to the senior Caxaro and 5 to the junior Ferriolu,

‘obligati insolidum a sonari accordari et fari accordari li organi’. [32]

[p.4] The much needed repairs to the organ referred to in 1522 were carried out, under Caxaro’s supervision, by a mastro organista brought over from Sicily for the purpose. [33]

The rivalry between Caxaro and Ferriolu is very much in evidence in 1532. Ferriolu’s appointment to a canonry was taken as a pretext to dispense with his services, particularly since Caxaro simultaneously offered to start accepting only 10 uncie for his unaided services instead of the 11 previously paid to both organists jointly. [34] The situation did not last long; within the year Ferriolu re-appears demanding equal shares with Caxaro. [35] The tussle went on. The following year Caxaro and Ferriolu reverted to the original 6:5 ratio of payment, [36] but thereafter Caxaro emerges as the sole victor. One can say that Ferriolu got removed by being promoted to choir-master in 1535, as discussed earlier, and not without a reason. In that year Caxaro appears as joint organist with his natural but illegitimate son Salvo; [37] no doubt, Salvo was being groomed for the place all along, which explains why the good vicar general was holding on so desperately to the post.

But then the cathedral organ was silenced. In 1537 it again badly needed seeing to. This time it is clearly stated that Petro Fauczuni from Sicily, who had shown keen interest in being employed as organist twenty years earlier, was employed to effect the necessary repairs. Six uncie worth of tin were brought by Fauczuni himself from Palermo for the purpose; [38] the money covered also the insurance. Other material, including copper wire (filu di ramu sive ferru) was obtained later. [39] A contract was drawn up on 16 April 1538, whereby Falzuni bound himself to fix the instrument for an overall fee of 15 uncie. [40] Several payments were made to Falsuni, [41] including ones for work on the ‘bancuni di contrabaxu et canducti [p.5] dilo organi, ‘per factura et conczatura dili registri’, [42] per fari la caxa sive bancuni dilo organi grandi’, [43] as well as for ‘pelli per li organi’, [44] which were skins used either to reinforce the bellows or to make the wind-chest air-proof. The terminology used suggests that a fairly large organ was then in use.

The example set by the cathedral was followed by other churches. The earliest recorded instance of installation of an organ outside the mother church, noticed to date, is that of Sancta Maria Jesu at Rabat, which was purchased in 1548. [45] The organist in the 1550s is known to have been none other than Mastro Petro Falsuni; he died in Malta in February 1560. [46] It is not unlikely, however, that the Augustinians, for example, who provided teachers of music for the cathedral earlier on, also had their own organ. It is further known that in the 1620s the Dominicans at Rabat needed to replace the organ that had been wrecked during the corsair incursion of 1551, [47] so that it is very likely that an organ had been installed there for some time before that year.

Besides musicians and teachers of music, the cathedral also employed a number of men, versed in letters, in the production of her liturgical books. The most prolific period in this respect, as well as the earliest encountered to date, is the decade 1527-1538. Liturgical books must have been in use all along, [48] but after 1527 and in keeping with the general trend of renovation at the time, [49] it appears that a whole new set of liturgical books was being commissioned then. Various names of copyists are recorded, including both local and foreign scripturi or scribes. Don Petro La Cruchi, probably a Sicilian, was commissioned to copy various psalters [p.6] in 1528, [50] whereas one particular psalter was entrusted to Frati Joanni Xebiras of the Augustinians. [51] It is hardly surprising to learn that Xebiras was an expert both at writing Latin inscriptions (he was commissioned to produce a marble plaque marking the advent of L’Isle Adam in 1530), [52] and at painting; he was employed to paint the dial of the cathedral clock in 1533. [53] In 1535 Don Victorio (de) Manueli was brought over from Trapani and worked here for more than two years, copying an antiphonario. It appears that he spent an initial period of three months in Malta in 1535; record of payment of rent in this connexion is extant, [54] and so are his receipts for various payments. [55] Two contracts were subsequently signed in 1536 and in 1537, in this regard. [56] Thereafter, payment of two years’ rent was effected on his behalf in 1537, [57] and several other payments for his work, that is termed completed in August 1537, were also made that year. [58] Other work was entrusted to local copyists, both members of the Order and Maltese; among the former one finds the French knight Fra Matheus Arsemole who, in 1536, copied a ‘graduale’ for the cathedral. [59] Among work produced by Maltese copyists one finds various antiphonarii and a psalterium copied by Clerico Joannes Bartolo in 1537, [60] and a graduale produced by Frati Joannes Antoni ManJuni of the Dominicans in 1538. [61] It is recorded that the parchment skins were obtained by ManJuni through Magnifico Anfrano Camogi of Palermo; he was paid for the horse he had to hire between Licata and Palermo to fetch the skins. [62] Camogi is mentioned on more than one occasion obtaining skins for this purpose. [63] Several purchases of parchment skins are recorded during this period, [64] some explicitly stated to have been produced locally; two payments were made to Frati Matheo dilo Episcopo of the Conventuals in 1529 for the preparation of these skins. [65] A [p.7] somewhat later contract for the copying of a liturgical book is particularly interesting insofar as it is explicitly stated that the text was according to the Gallican Rite. [66] This rite, which was in use also in Sicily, [67] was banned from the Maltese diocese by Duzina in 1575. [68]

The binding of the books was also done locally by the two De Cachi priests – Don Antonello, [69] and Don Leonardo. [70] In one other instance a layman, Antonellu Lazu, is mentioned as doing this work. [71]


Grateful thanks to Rev. Can. John Azzopardi, Curator of the Cathedral Museum, for his generous and valuable assistance, and to Dr. Hugo Agius Muscat for stimulating conversations on the subject.

Since the writing up of this note, Can. J. Azzopardi kindly brought to my attention his work ‘La Cappella Musicale della Cattedrale e i suoi Rapporti con la Sicilia’, Musica Sacra in Sicilia tra Rinascimento e Barocco (1985) 47-67, which surveys the musical activities at the cathedral to present times. The two papers can be viewed as complementary to each other.


Document I

Authorization of salary payment to Frati Joannes de Rapis and three receipts.

MCM ACM Misc.36 (23.1.1494) 65,66.

f.65 xxiij o Januarij XIIJ e Jndictionis m o cccclxxxxiiij Nuy don michelj fauczunj vigariu generali di lo Reverendissimo Signurj episcopu di la citatj di Malta Juffre de sguanes Joannes de Nava nardu calava et paulu vaccaru iuratj civitatis predicte comandamo a vuj honorabili perj caruana yconimo et procuraturj di la ecclesia catedralj sancti pauli dicte civitatis ky di li fratj Joannj rapj organista salariato per sonarj li organj uncj x ponderís sive uncj dechj et su pro salariu di lu presentj anno incomenczandu di lo primo Jornu presentis mensis Januarij perfina alo principiu [p.8] di ginnaro proxime sequenti li qualj dinarj chi darriti di terczu in terczo more solito richipendu da ipsu solito more apoca de recepto et a cautela vj ficimo farj lu presentj comandamentu di nostrj proprij manu subscriptu et confirmatu.

+ Nos Donnus michael de falsono vicarius generalis confirmamus
+ (vacat)
+ Ego goffridus de sguanes Juratus confirmo
+ Ego leonardus calava Juratus confirmo
+ Eu paulu vaccaru Joratu confirmu
+ Ego Johannes de Nava Juratus confirmo.

xxvj o Januarij Eu fratrj Johannj derapis confessu havirj richiputu di paulu zurkj pro partj et nomine di Misser Perj caruana unczi ij et unaltra uncza per manu di Misser raynerj calava et tarj x di notarj paulu lu qualj mj donau xiiij pulinj di fruxunj et cussj su contentu di lu primu terczu ky mi divia la ecclesia di Santu Paulu per lu meu salariu unc(iarum) x anno quolibet Et perky satisfiatj accussi faczu la presentj manu propria.

xix o marcij

Eu fratrj Johannj de rapis confessu haviri richiputu per manu di lu nobili misser perj caruana comu procuraturj di la matrj ecclesia unczj ij et tarenj x et uncza una per manu di fratrj Johannj Antonj pro partj di lu supradictu misser perj li qualj unczj iij et tarenj x su di lu secundu terczu di lu meu salariu di sonarj li organj a Sanctu Paulu arraxunj di unczj x pro annu et perky sta cussi la veritatj faczu la presentj manu propria.

f. 65v (vacat)

f.66 xxiij o septembris XIIIJ e Jndictionis

Eu fratrj Johannj de rapis confessu havirj et richiputu di lu nobili misser perj caruana per manu di cola bindinu unczi ij dicu uncj duj et tarenj xviij di lu mastru di la scola li quali richippi alu misi di Jungnettu (sic) passatu lu quali mastru dila scola divia uncza j alu dictu misser perj la qualj uncza richippi eu et dectilu di tarenj xij alu dictu misser perj rumasiru mj poy trj florinj supradictj et tari sey di trj palmj et menczu di carisia ky mj vindiu notarj paulu et tarj xvj li quali appi di ximunj so figlu et cussi haiu lu complimentu di tuctu lultimu terczu che su unczi iij et tarj x dicu unczi trj et tarj dechj.

Document II

Notarial deed for salary payment to Don Laurenczo de Vagnolo

NAV Not. G. Zabbara R494/1(III) (19.iv.1496) 48.

f.48 d.c. xviiij o eiusdem Salarium


pro donno laurenzo de vagnolo contra Ecclesiam cathedralis melite

Testamur quod nobis Notario et testibus Jnfrascriptis convocatis et serio presentibus Jn presencia Reverendissimi dominj Episcopi melitanj videlicet Jaymi de Valguarnera apud palacium sive residencie melite Jbidemque existentibus Magnificis Juratis eiusdem civitatis melite videlicet Magnifico Johanne de la habica Magnifico Antonio gact desguanez Egregio laurenczo de falczono Reverendissimus dominus Episcopus Jpse et Magnifici domini Jurati Jpsi constituerunt Jn Salarium et pro salario donnj laurencij de vagnolo ad opus sonandj organa cathedralis ecclesie melitane Juxta solitum tempus ad racionem de unciis sex ponderis generalis et pecunie usualis Regnj Sicilie pro quolibet singulo anno declarantes quod Jam Jncepit servire a principio mensis marcij primo preterito presente dicto donno laurencio et acceptante ac se obligante servire ad racionem predictam ad beneplacitum dictorum dominorum Episcopi et Juratorum et accipere salarium de tercio Jn tercium ut est solitum. Unde etc. Testes Egregius Andreas de falczono Magister michael de ferriolo et paulus zurky.

Document III

Notarial deed appointing Don Nicola de Virmiglia as cathedral organist, stipulating the salary and, inter alia the condition to instruct the cleric de Vagnolo in organ playing.

NAV Not. G. Zabbara R494/1(III) ( 51v-52.

f.51v Eodem Locacio Organiste

Pro ecclesia cathedrali melite contra Donnum Nicolaum de Virmigla


Testamur quod Reverendissimus dominus don Jaymus de Valguarnera Episcopus melitanus et Magnifici Domini Juratj civitatis et Jnsole melite videlicet Magnificus Antonius Gact desguanes Nobilis laurencius de falsono et nobilis manfridus de caxaro tamquam yconomus cathedralis ecclesie melitane conduxerunt Venerabilem donnum nicolaum de virmigla presentem et se locantem etc. ad sonandum organa dicte cathedralis ecclesie anno uno continuo et completo incipiendo a crastina die primo madij per uncias aurj decem ponderis generalis solvendas detercio Jntercio Jta et prout solitum erat solvj quondam fratrj Johannj de Rapis predecessorj organista eiusdem donnj nicolai cum condicione quod dictus donnus nicolaus teneatur seque promisit et se obligavit quod eodem salario docere et instruere prefatum donnum clericum laurencium de vagnolo ad sonandum dicta organa durante dicto anno et cum reservatione quod si venerit frater antonius de Castro Johanne dictu pericunj ad licteras eiusdem Reverendissimi domini Episcopi Jam sibi transmissas quod eo casu dictus donnus nicolaus debeat se abstinere a dicta locacione et cedere Jpsam conducionem dicto fratri/Antonio et [p.10] recipere salarium solitum pro rata temporis servitii promictentes dicti contrahentes etc. ad invicem promiserunt omnia habere etc., Obligantes dicti conducentes bona et redditus dicte ecclesie cathedralis dictus vero locator personam suam obligando etc., Unde etc.

Testes Nobilis paulus de vaccaro nobilis orlandus de burdino Egregius Notarius paulus de bunello et alij etc.

Document IV

Notarial contract whereby Frati Petru Callus of the Augustinians binds himself to teach cantus firmus to Don Antonio Vitali for a fee of 24 tareni.

NAV Not. Brandan Caxaro R175/1 (15.xi.1535) 187.


Testamur quod presens coram nobis Venerabilis Frater Petrus Callus ordinis heremitarum sancti Augustini civitatis meliveti sponte promisit convenit et se similiter obligavit venerabili donno Antonio vitali presenti etc. ipsum donnum Antonium instruere et docere cantum firmum ad omnem examinacionem interrogacionem et responsionem Jntonarj et cantarj li gr..... et cognoscere omnes tonos cantus quo supra donnus Antonius tenetur quotidie accedere ad conventum dicti ordinis Jn hora de menso giorno et vesperj ad habendam lectionem dicti cantus pro qua causa dictus donnus Antonius promisit solvere dicto de callus stipulanti etc. tarenos xxiiij e quibus alias habuisse(?) dictus de callus a dicto donno Antonio presente etc. tarenos sex Ratos(?) etc. alios tarenos sex promisit solvere Jn festo pascatis resurrectionis dominice primo venturo Reliquos tarenos duodecim cum fieret(?) doctus bene cognoscere cantum Jntonare sine aliqua excepcione etc. Que omnia etc.

Et Jta Juraverunt testes Reverendus donnus lucas bartalus Reverendus donnus laurencius caxaro clericus petrucius de falsono.

Document V

Authorization for payment to the cathedral steward for expenses of various items relating to the repairs of the cathedral organ.

MCM ACM Mandati M4 (7.ii.1539) 237.

Die vij o februarij XIJ e Jndictionis 1539 Nuj don luca bartalo vicario generali diocesis meliventane sede vacante et Jnfrascriptj Juratj notabilis civitatis et Jnsule meliveti Commandamo a vuj nobilj andrea manduca olim yconomo et procursturj dila cathedralj ecclesia sanctj pauli che de quillo restantj debiturj digiatj darj pagarj [p.11] et assignarj a mastro Joannj comu massaro de dicta ecclesia tarj vintj sey grana dechj ponderis dichimo tr.xxvj gr. x ponderis et su per Jornj octu de dicto mastro Joannj che adJutao alo dicto mastro petru de farj lu contrabaxo delo organj et asittarj et lavurarj li formj et posarilj et per farj li scalj novj et conczarj lu travo dilo crucifixo et per sectj Jornatj a francisco dusj che mjnava lu organj et per chova per dicto organj et scalj et per chira per dicto organj et per ligna per farj focu per soldarj li cannolj dilo organj et a mastro vicenso bruges per uno catanaczo et a vostra cautela vj havemo facto farj lo presentj comandamento de nostri proprij mano subscripto et confirmato luqualj rechipiritj cum apoca de recepto more solito unde etc.

+ Ego donnus lucas barthalus vicarius quo supra confirmo
+ paulu dili nasi Juratu confirmu
+ Michelj falsunj Juratu confirmu
+ salvo cumbo Jurato Confirmo
+ leonardus Calava Juratus confirmo

die viij o februarij XIJ e Jndictionis 1538

Eu mastro Joannj calleya massaro dila catedralj ecclesia sanctj pauli per la presentj confesso havirj reciputo de vuj nobili andria manduca olim yconimo et procuraturj di dicta catedralj ecclesia tarj vintj sey grana dechj dilj qualj piglaj partj per Jornj otto ho servito in dicta ecclesia et lo resto pagaj adiversj partitj ad opo di dicta catedralj ecclesia come contenj ut supra per cautela vostra et per non sapirj scrivirj a cautela vostra vj fichj farj la presentj per mano di alberto muscato dico tr.xxvj gr.x

[1] J. Cassar Pullicino, “Norman Legends in Malta”, M(edieval) Malta: Studies on Malta before the Knights, (A.T. Luttrell, ed.), (London, 1975), 96-103.

[2] A. Pertusi, ‘Le Isole Maltesi dall’Epoca Bizantina al Periodo Normanno e Svevo (Secc.VI-XIII) a Descrizioni di esse dal Sec.XII al Sec.XVI’, Byzantinische Forschungen 5(1977)289.

[3] A.T. Luttrell, ‘Approaches to Medieval Malta’, MM, 32,38.

[4] Text in H. Bresc, ‘Malta dopo il Vespro Siciliano’, Melita Historica, 6(3)(1974) 318.

[5] A.T. Luttrell, ‘Le Origini della Parrocchia a Malta’, Italia Sacra, Pievi e Parrocchie in Italia nel Basso Medioevo, (Roma, 1984) 1191-2.

[6] Text of 29.vii.1274 in V. Laurenza, ‘Malta nei Documenti Angioini del R. Archivio di Napoli’, A(rchivio) S(torico di) M(alta) 8(1)(1936-7) Doc.XL p.36:’ + Ego Alexander Malte ecclesie Cantor predictis interfui et me subscripsi’.

[7] M(useum of the) C(athedral,) M(dina), A(rchives of the) C(athedral,) M(dina), Mandati M1 (1.viii.1515) 28.

[8] Ibid. (26.iii.1517) 75. Contract in acts of Notary Pietro de Alaymo (untraced) signed on 1st January.

[9] Ibid. Mandati M2 (22.x.1523) 42.

[10] Ibid. ff.274, 409: ‘Don Andria de federico dicto huayne ... Don Andria auoyne’.

[11] Ibid. Mandati M3 (22.viii.1533) 53.

[12] Ibid. (26.viii.1535) 236. Ibid. Mandati M4 ( 50, (25.ii.1536) 91.See also Ibid. Mandati M4 (6.ii.1539) 239.

[13] N(otarial) A(rchives) V(alletta), Not. Brandan Caxaro R175/1 (15.xi.1535) 187 Document IV.

[14] Ibid. (7.iii.1536) 240v-241.

[15] G. Wettinger and M. Fsadni O.P., L-G ħanja ta’ Pietru Caxaru, (Malta, 1983) 35.

[16] MCM ACM Mandati M3 (3.vii.1538) 597. See also ff. 454, 485b, 635, and Ibid. Mandati M4 (20.iv.1539) 207.

[17] The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Stanley Sadie, ed.) Vol.III (1980) s.v. ‘Cantus Firmus’.

[18] Text in R. Valentini, ‘Scuole, Seminario e Collegio dei Gesuiti in Malta: 1467-1591’, ASM, 8(1)(1936-7) 22-23.

[19] The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Stanley Sadie, ed.) VoI.VI (1980) s.v. ‘Figural, figurate, figured’.

[20] MCM ACM Misc(ellanea) 36 (23.i.1494) 65, 66 = Document I.

[21] NAV Not. G. Zabbara R494/1(III) (19.iv.1496) 48 = Document II. See also Document III.

[22] Ibid. ( 51v-52 = Document III.

[23] MCM ACM Mandati M1 (25.ii.1515) 20. N(ational) L(ibrary of) M(alta), Univ(ersità) 12 (3.ii.1516) 134v.

[24] Caxaro is first encountered in November 1515 when he was being paid 10 uncie “per sonarj et farj sonarj lo organo dila dicta ecclesia Juxta contractum in actis Notarij Jacobi de Fauczono: MCM ACM Mandati M1 (24.xi.1515) 26. NLM Univ. 12 (3.ii.1516) 134v.

[25] MCM ACM Mandati M1 (30.x.1516) 27v, (12.x.1517) 61, (7.ix.1518) 30, 34; (7.xii.1519) 85

[26] Ibid. (7.ix.1518) 30, (5.xii.1519) 87, (7.v.1521) 401.

[27] Ibid. (27.x.1514) 51.

[28] NLM Univ. 12 (26.ii.1522 ab Inc.(=1523)) 314v.

[29] Ibid. (30.xii.1524) 375v.

[30] MCM ACM Mandati M1 (8.iv.1522) 320, (11.iv.1522) 316; Mandati M2 (22.iv.1523) 34, (23.iv.1523) 36, ( 38.

[31] NLM Univ.12 (30.xii.1524) 375v.

[32] MCM ACM Mandati M2 (10.iv.1524) 101, (l.iv.1525) 8, (11.iv.1525) 6, (10.iii.1526) 383, (21.iii.1526) 381, (15.iii.1527) 86, (30.vii.1527) 258, (1.iii.1528) 421, (29.iv.1528) 407, (1.v.1528) 403; Misc.36 (12.iv.1529) 600; Mandati M2 (29.i.1530) 454, (6.v.1530) 446, (1.iii.1531) 473, (28.iii.1531) 471.

[33] MCM ACM Mandati M2 (29.iv.1528) 407: ‘per pagar Jpso Reverendo (Don Laurenczo Caxaro) la sua rata alo Mastro Organista lo quali alo presenti concza dicti organi per loro portato serio de Sichilia per conczari dicti organi’. Ibid. Misc.36 (10.ii.1529) 587: ‘(pagamento) per fari lu ponti per li organi et tanta colla ad opu di dicto organo’.

[34] MCM ACM Mandati M3 (14.iv.1532) 7.

[35] Ibid. (18.iv.1533) 79: ‘11 uncie Donno Laurenczo Caxaro et Donnu Ximunj Ferriolo insolidum a omni unu la mitati’.

[36] Ibid. (15.iv.1534) 143.

[37] Ibid. (16.ii.1535) 361: ‘Tonno Lorenzo Caxaro et so figlo Salvo obligati insolidum a sonari li organi et farj minarj li mantichi’. Ibid. Mandati M4 (11.iv.1536) 79, (13.x.1543) 284, (11.xii.1543) 266. See also G. Wettinger, ‘Concubinage among the clergy of Malta and Gozo ca. 1420-1560’, Journal of the Faculty of Arts, 6(4)(1977) 171, where reference is made to the contract of employment of the Caxaros, father and son, as in the acts of Not. Brandan Caxaro (NAV R175/1 (24.vii.1535) 142v).

[38] MCM ACM Mandati M4 (20.ix.1536) 18. Ibid. Mandati M3 (18.ii.1537) 475.

[39] Ibid. Mandati M3 (5.v.1537) 456.

[40] Among the several payments to Falzuni (cf. Footnotes 41-44) reference is often made to this contract variously described as in the acts of Notary G. Buttigieg or in those of Notary Brandan Caxaro; unfortunately, it could not be traced in either.

[41] MCM ACM Mandati M4 (10.vii.1536) 40, (6.ix.1536) 22. Ibid. Mandati M3 (8.i.1538) 695, (l.iii.1538) 671, (10.vii.1538) 591.

[42] Ibid. Mandati M3 (30.xi.1538) 496 and Mandati M4 (5.i.1539) 245. See also Mandati M4 (7.ii.1539) 237 = Document V.

[43] Ibid. Mandati M3 (25.x.1538) 511.

[44] Ibid. (11.vii.1538) 587.

[45] Archivum Provinciale O.F.M. Malta, Ms.1 f.61: ‘Jtem li organi custaro uncj trenta in tempore guardianus (Bernardini) di malta. 1548’. Access to this document has been kindly provided by Rev. Fr. George Aquilina O.F.M.

[46] Archivum Archipresbiteri Cathedralis Melitae, Liber Baptizatorum, Confirmatorum, Matrimoniorum et Defunctorum I (26.ii.1560) 779.

[47] M. Fsadni, Id-Dumnikani fir-Rabat u fil-Birgu sa 1-1620, (Malta, 1974) 45.

[48] Some biblical and liturgical texts of paramount historical interest and which must have been in use at the cathedral well before the period under discussion, are still extant and rightfully jealously guarded in the cathedral museum. Prominent among these is the Codex Evangeliorum Melitensis, a XII-century codex of the four gospels on parchment with miniatures and a very fine silver cover bearing an image of Saint Paul not unlike that on the famous retable at the same museum. It is possibly identified with the liber ‘Sancti Pauli’, referred to in NLM Univ.11 ( f.249v, on which solemn oaths used to be taken, as was certainly the practice in later centuries. This codex has been studied, in the context of the Codices Siciliani Normanni, by the German scholar Valentino Pace in his work ‘Untersuchungen zur Sizilianischen Buchmalerei’ (pp.431-496 of an unidentified journal); this unfortunately incomplete reference has been kindly provided by Can. J. Azzopardi, Curator of the Mdina Cathedral Museum. Of extreme interest to the musicologist are two Antiphonaria written in the rare Aquitanian (as opposed to Gregorian) notation.

[49] The sources being utilized in this study are a particularly rich fount of information on activities at the cathedral at the time; a lot can be deduced particularly on artistic activity. This point will be elaborated in the critical study accompanying the full publication of this material.

[50] MCM ACM Misc.36 (12.ii.1528) 526, (3.iv.1529) 594.

[51] Ibid. Mandati M2 (12.ix.1530) 437; Mandati M3 (31.viii.1535) 226.

[52] Ibid. Mandati M2 (27.x.1530) 724.

[53] Ibid. Mandati M3 (30.viii.1533) 51.

[54] Ibid. (27.x.1535) 202.

[55] Ibid. (18.vii.1535) 260, (6.viii.1535) 250, (31.x.1535) 200, (22.xii.1535) 182. Ibid. Mandati M4 (14.xi.1535) 9.

[56] NAV Not. Brandan Caxaro R175/2 (20.ix.1536) 64v, (30.vii.1537) 225v.

[57] MCM ACM Mandati M3 (15.ii.1537) 477, (18.viii.1537) 422.

[58] Ibid. Mandati M4 (11.ii.1536) 96; (10.iii.1536) 87, 89; (13.iv.1536) 77, (30, iv.1536) 69, ( 46, (25.viii.1536) 30, (20.ix.1536) 16, (30.ix.1536) 15. Ibid. Mandati M3 (5.i.1537) 483, (20.iii.1537) 467, (12.iv.1537) 461, ( 440, (4. viii.1537) 426.

[59] Ibid. Mandati M4 ( 52, (20.viii.1536) 32.

[60] Ibid. Mandati M3 (15.ix.1537) 406, (15.xi.1537) 386, (28.xii.1537) 373, (27.iv.1538) 605, (23.xii.1538) 486.

[61] Ibid. (28.viii.1538) 543, (29.x.1538) 509.

[62] Ibid. (26.i.538) 689.

[63] Ibid. (12.x.1537) 389, (2.xi1537) 388: ‘Jn la felici chita di pallermo per accactarj trenta tuzani di pergamenj ad opu de li libra di San Paolo’. Camogi was an agent for various Maltese transactions in Sicily: NLM Univ.13 (15.iii.1537) 134v-135, MCM ACM Mandati M4 (8.11.1539) 233.

[64] MCM ACM Misc. 36 (10.ii.1529) 587: ‘cento pelli agnellini’, (27.iii.1529) 593: ‘pellj per farj pargamyna’, (12.xii.1535) 184: ‘doi tozani di pargamena’, (5.v.1535) 313: ‘32 fogli di parchimina’, (11.iii. 1537) 471: ‘tri tuzani di pargamina’, ( 438: ‘quatro tozani di pargameni’, (3.xii.1538) 494: ‘cinque tuzane de pergamina’. See also Ibid. Mandati M4 ( 58.

Ibid. (l6.iv.1529) 604: ‘cento pergamini seu loru factura per fari scriviri li libri di Santu Paulu’, (26.iv.1529) 610.

[66] G. Wettinger and M. Fsadni O.P., loc. cit.

[67] C.A. Garufi, Usi Nuziali nel Medio Evo in Sicilia (Palermo, 1897) 33.

[68] NLM Libr. Ms.643 p.401 et passim.

[69] MCM ACM M2 (22.11.1527) 176: ‘conczau certi libri’, (30.iv.1530) 450: ‘conczatura seu ligatura di uno previario’; Misc.36 (21.i.1529) 523: ‘mastria et ligatura di uno missali et di autri tri libra’.

[70] MCM ACM Mandati M3 ( 137: ‘ligatura di uno missali di parchimina’, (31.viii.1535) 228: ‘ligatura di uno gradualj et uno collectario (5.v.1535) 313: ‘32 fogli di parchimina per lo salterio’, ( 434: ‘factura et ligatura di uno antiphonario’, ( 442: ‘ligatura di uno graduali novo di parchimina’, (5.i.1537) 485: ‘libro antiphonero have facto, la ligatura di detto libro, le tavuli et la pelle di detto libro’ (3, xii.1538) 494: ‘cinque duzane di pergamena’, (ca.viii.1538) 565: ‘ligatura di processionarij’. Ibid. Mandati M4 (24.i.1535) 3, ( 54, (4.iii.1539) 221.

[71] MCM ACM Mandati M2 (6.iv.1528) 417.