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loden letters foto: Ans Brys

Hendrik van den Keere (1540-1580), Grande musicque

Printing was also a revolutionary development in the world of music. The Ghent type founder Hendrik van den Keere supplied Christophe Plantin with 44 sets of punches and matrices. Plantin used the ‘Grande Musicque’ type set to print choral music.

Punches for music printing

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Antwerp was a world-famous centre for music publishing. Christophe Plantin was among those involved, and produced some fine publications. What is less well known is that the museum has also preserved the equipment that was used for this kind of printing. It too forms a unique collection. 

The 44 sets of Hendrik van den Keere

Everything in printing started with the making of a punch, the most creative part of the process. On a rod, the designer-engraver cut a letter, number, punctuation mark or musical note. Matrices were then made from this punch. One of the leading ‘type cutters’ in Plantin’s time was the Parisian Robert Granjon. Hendrik van den Keere from Ghent purchased Granjon’s typefaces and supplied Plantin with 44 sets of punches and matrices, enough for twelve musical type sets in all. Plantin ordered the ‘Grande musicque’ set to print choir books.

Museum Plantin-Moretus

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