TALBOT MANUSCRIPT

The Talbot Manuscript was compiled at the end of the seventeenth century by James Talbot, Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge University. It is probable that he was intending to publish the work as a book, presumably as a means of promotion at work, but for political reasons that promotion was denied to him, and he ceased working on it.
The most interesting (or, at least, widely known) part of the manuscript is a collection of notes about musical instruments, totalling 241 pages with writing on them. The manuscript is now at the library of Christ Church, Oxford, where a previous librarian has compiled the various parts of it into 11 sections. There are, in fact, a number of sections as compiled by Talbot, but they don't reflect the order of the librarian. The librarian's order is as follows.

 

Section 1

Harpsichord

Section 2

Organ

Section 3

Organ

Section 4

Stringed Instruments

Section 5

Instrument Notes

Section 6

Instrument Information Acknowledgements

Section 7

Wind Instruments

Section 8

Instrument Notes

Section 9

Instrument Notes

Section 10

Tablature and Fingerings

Section 11

Tablature and Fingerings


Two articles concerning Talbot and the manuscript can be found at this website. They are:
Talbot, Mersenne and Praetorius : the uses - and abuses - of documentary sources, paper given at the Bowed String Instrument Symposium co-organised by the Viol da Gamba Society, EUCHMI and the Early Music Forum of Scotland, Edinburgh, June 2000.
The Talbot manuscript - better as it is than the book it never was?, paper given as a post-graduate seminar, Department of Music, University of Edinburgh, February 2005, and in an altered form as a seminar at the Department of Music, Oxford University, November 2005.