CAO in Cantus Index

Corpus Antiphonalium Officii (CAO) compiled by René-Jean Hesbert (6 vols., Rome, 1963-1979) has been the basis of our catalogue of Latin chant texts since the Cantus Database began in the late 1980s. CAO indexes and provides full texts of the chants found in twelve of the earliest Office antiphoners. These are identified by the sigla CGBEMV and HRDFSL as follows:

Sources representing the Roman / secular / cathedral cursus include:

  • C:  Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 17436 (ninth century, from Compiègne) [RISM: F-Pnm lat. 17436] MMMO:
  • G:  Durham, Cathedral Library, B. III. 11 (eleventh century, from northern France) [RISM: GB-DRc B. III. 11]
  • B:  Bamberg, Staatsbibliothek, lit. 23 (eleventh or twelfth century, from Bamberg) [RISM: D-BAs lit. 23]
  • E:  Ivrea, Biblioteca Capitolare, 106 (eleventh century, from Ivrea) [RISM: I-IV 106]
  • M:  Monza, Basilica di S. Giovanni Battista - Biblioteca Capitolare e Tesoro, C. 12/75 (eleventh century, from Monza) [RISM: I-MZ C. 12/75]
  • V:  Verona, Biblioteca Capitolare, XCVIII (eleventh century, from Verona) [RISM: I-VEcap XCVIII]


Sources representing the monastic cursus include:

  • H:  Sankt Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, 390-391 (“Hartker antiphoner”; early eleventh century, from St. Gall) [RISM: CH-SGs 390-391] CantusDB: and
  • R:  Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, Rh. 28 (thirteenth century, from Rheinau) [RISM: CH-Zz Rh. 28]
  • D:  Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 17296 (twelfth century, from St. Denis) [RISM: F-Pnm lat. 17296] MMMO:
  • F:  Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 12584 (twelfth century, from St. Maur-les-Fossés) [RISM: F-Pn lat. 12584] MMMO:
  • S:  London, The British Library, add. 30850 (eleventh century, from Silos) [RISM: GB-Lbl add. 30850]
  • L:  Benevento, Biblioteca Capitolare, V 21 (late twelfth century, from San Lupo) [RISM: I-BV V. 21]



CAO identifies chant texts with 4-digit numbers, including letter-suffixes for some genres. In the Cantus numbering system, in order to accommodate the growing repertory of chants found in later sources for the Office and additionally those sung in the Mass, leading zeroes have been added to Hesbert’s assignments (i.e., CAO 1234 = Cantus 001234). See:


CAO and Cantus Index

One of the aims for the Cantus Index is to preserve a digital, searchable version of Hesbert’s CAO (vols. 3 and 4). See the full list of CAO chants here.

Additional responsory verses not included in CAO are connected with their CAO Responds, but have suffixes beginning with “z” to distinguish them as “non-CAO” verses; see, for example, Cantus 006082za, where multiple non-CAO verses have been assigned suffixes “za”, “zb”, etc.

Textual variants (see guidelines) are connected with their base chants with a shared Cantus ID plus “.1”, “.2”, etc., and if they have been included by Hesbert as footnotes to his records this is indicated in the “Source” field; see, for example, Cantus 003421.2.


Author: Debra Lacoste (March 11, 2023); Last Update: DL (October 6, 2023)