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Liber Usualis

Website: Liber Usualis

The Liber Usualis is the practical guide to chants for the Christian liturgical year. Although often considered to be ancient, it was first published in its present form in the middle of the nineteenth century. Some further accretions have occurred in recent decades. The Liber contains two cycles for the Christian year: one for the Ordinary (feasts whose liturgical needs are held in common) and one for the Proper of the Saints (feasts that are individualized in their liturgical requirements). Texts (in Latin) and music were widely paraphrased in liturgical music of the Renaissance. This version is searchable. [Fig = f. 113 of CU Add 03056: two bars from the Cosens Lute Book.]

Part-books and Choir Books

Early Music [Anthologies] Online

Website: Early Music Online

These 327 printed anthologies, held in the British Library (London), were originally microfilmed for the RISM AI project. Because of its heavy coverage of sixteenth-century prints (a high proportion of which were anthologies), it contains many real treasures--large numbers of madrigals, much of the early printed music for lute, and numerous prints in which almost all the works are by an important composer (Buus, Croce, Rore, Willaert. Seventy-seven volumes contains chansons. A smattering of treatises (Diruta's Il Transilvano, for example) can also be found here.

Bologna Partbooks (secular music)

Website: Bologna Partbooks

The holdings of the Biblioteca della Musica of Bologna are particularly rich in partbooks of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Among the 339 prints found here (served by the same library but originating in the Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo of the University of Bologna) many secular items and some sacred vocal music can be found.

German chant and choir books

Webstie: German chant and choir books

This website serves mainly south German liturgical resources from the fifteenth century. It currently holds more than 200 items.

Munich Choir Books (mainly 16th century)

Website: Munich Choir Books

Under the musical direction of Orlando the Bavarian court (Munich) reached a peak of activity much of which resulted in the development of a substantial collection of choir books. The layout of parts in a large-format choir book enables singers to see their parts while standing around the book. The origins of this tradition can be traced to c. 1400. The 199 choir books in this digitized collection contain sacred (Isaac, Josquin, Senfl) and secular music as well as fragmentary works and an anonymous Tractatus de musica. Holdings from local monasteries and private collections have been included.

The Trent Codices (Fifteenth-Century Polyphony)

Website: The Trent Codices

Tenor part for an anonymous Kyrie a 3 for the Proper of St. Anthony, c. 1450-55, Sopraintendenza Beni Librari e Archivisti Provincia Autonomo - Trento, Tr93. f. 103v.

This important collection of anonymous music of the fifteenth century is quite uniform in presentation, with most works employing a choir-book layout. Paper texture is well captured in the digitizations, which are highly consistent graphically. The number of titles is 1863. Few titles are attributed. Those that are come mainly from Guillaume Dufay (105 titles), Gilles Binchois (52), and John Dunstaple (30). The originals are preserved in the Castello di Buonconsiglio, Trent (IT).

Printed Polyphonic Works of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

Website: Printed Polyphony of the 16th-17th Centuries

Similar to Early Music Online, but representing printed music in the Bavarian State Library and not limited to anthologies. It emphasizes music for voices. 1371 publication titles can be found. These include numerous early collections of chansons, madrigals, psalms, masses, motets, hymns, sacred songs, and early instrumental music (sonatas, balletti et al.). Titles in Latin, German, French, Italian, Spanish et al. Some items are of foreign origin (e.g. Purcell's Orpheus Brittanicus (London, 1698), Schmelzer's Arie per il balletto a cavallo (a horse ballet given for the wedding of emperor Leopold I and Princess Margherita of Spain, Vienna, 1667).


Opera in Italy, Austria, and Germany (1770-1830)

Website: Opera in Italy and Germany (1770-1830)

This site contains an array of resources for the study of operas (most unavailable in modern editions) that were contemporaneous with the life of Beethoven (1770-1827), who was notoriously frustrated in his attempts to succeed in the world of opera. Its holdings include 483 manuscripts, reproductions of printed libretti for every work listed, and an extensive metadata apparatus for basic information on composers, performances, and sources. Its reach is broader than the title suggests, for works performed in France, Austria, and elsewhere beyond Italy and Germany are found. In cases in which an included opera has an anterior antecedent, metadata is also given for the pre-existing opera, even when its predates the new work by as much as a century. This enables a reader to trace some of the long tendrils of gestation that might otherwise be found only in a critical edition. The manuscript sources used in Opera come from libraries in Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Vienna, and Weimar. Wolf-Dieter (romance languages) and Wolfram Steinbeck (musicology) are the project leaders.