Dating: 18th century
Dimensions (cm): 160,8
Inv. no.: MNMC2005
Lecterns were used to place and support choir books, which were large, to allow reading from some distance.
Usually, the Choir was divided into two different sections and these were always placed on opposite sides of the Church, which allowed the two-part Chant to be sung as a ‘question/answer’ performance. Giving as an example with a Psalm chant, each group sang only a small part of a verse, in turn. The verses of the Psalms were (even without music), always divided into two ‘hemistiches’ (one of two divisions in a line of verse).
The Choral group knew the majority of the chants and texts by heart, from singing them so often. The book was used mainly a support for the chant which was already known by heart. However, it was also used to support the responding chant during which a solo singer alternated with the choir.
Therefore, the lecterns placed in front of and in the middle of the two groups allow the reading by both parts of the group.
Usually, Lecterns were made of wood and pyramid-shaped, which allowed more than one book to be placed on it. There are two marvellous pieces in Guimarães: one in the Alberto Sampaio Museum and the other is deposited with the Martins Sarmento Society.
This piece is made of iron and it would be lined with leather and cloth/fabric in order to not damage the book and to prevent it from falling.