People are unearthing Renaissance music manuscript doodles and they’re pretty spicy

12 October 2020, 14:26 | Updated: 12 October 2020, 15:26

People are unearthing bizarre medieval music transcriptions
People are unearthing bizarre medieval music transcriptions. Picture: Twitter / @roobeekeane

By Sian Moore

Scribes in the 16th century clearly had too much fun with these *ahem* questionable illustrations…

Renaissance music transcriptions contained some of the most elaborate, ornate illustrations.

But it seems the scribes of bygone centuries also liked to experiment with their manuscripts, as Twitter user @roobeekeane recently discovered.

And by experiment, we mean draw the most bizarre illustrations we’ve possibly ever seen. No, really.

Warning: some of this content may be deemed NSFW…

Read more: People are turning pop songs into medieval ‘Bardcore’ bops >

Look, we get it. Scribes just wanted a way to jazz up a music manuscript, right?

What’s the harm in elaborately transforming a bog-standard letter ‘K’ into an illustration of a human and a bird performing some acrobatic move, while *looks closer* said bird defecates on the human’s back?

And surely there’s rational thinking behind drawing the letter ‘M’ as a man projectile vomiting while a pig has a sniff?

Read more: The medieval ‘Shame Flute’ was used to punish bad musicians in the Middle Ages >

“In the pig's defense, it doesn’t always eat vomit,” reassured one Twitter user in response.

A wild Renaissance painting shows music written on a pair of buttocks. And someone’s recorded it. >

Curious for more? Of course you are.

We’re thinking these are depicting the letters ‘A’ and ‘K’...

And how about a 16th-century Dr. Seuss-style illustration? 10 points if you can guess what it’s supposed to be.

16th century Dr. Seuss
Picture: Cambrai Chansonnier

This letter ‘E’ is either a human-eating demonic creature, or, a really inventive monster-themed diving board...

Cambrai Chansonnier
Picture: Cambrai Chansonnier

The letter ‘F’ for “I’m about to faint if I stay in the headstand any longer”?

Cambrai Chansonnier
Picture: Cambrai Chansonnier

The illustrations are from the song book Cambrai Chansonnier, which was made for the pleasure of aristocratic local Zeghere van Male.

We’ve picked some of the more bizarre drawings, but there are even more pictures from the manuscript here.

The Renaissance period was, after all, a time of great art revival...