Printed Music Datasets

Sheet music, whether printed or manuscript, has been the primary form in which music exists (at least before the development of recording). It is one of the most numerous and useful categories of data for statistical analysis. The datasets typically take one of the following forms:

  • institutional and composite library catalogues, either historical editions or current (generally online) catalogues;
  • sheet music catalogues, either for individual publishers, or composite catalogues of music publications (often for a particular genre, territory or period);
  • online sheet music repositories, containing images of actual publications, together with other information;

Sheet music retailers, either new or second-hand, are also worth investigating for rare and unusual items.

Dataset Comments
Portuguese Royal Library (1649)1 Catalogue of 951 items of printed music and manuscripts, including about 3,000 works, held in the Portuguese Royal Library destroyed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Available at Google Books
British Library Manuscripts Catalogue (1842 & 1906)2 Manuscripts 239 in 1842, 2,500 by 1906. Available at archive.org
Library of Congress Music Catalogues (1908-14)3 1,000 newly acquired Operas, 5,000 Orchestral scores, 6,000 Librettos. Available at archive.org
RCM Catalogue (1909)4 10,000 items of printed music in the Royal College of Music library. Available at archive.org
Boston Library (1910)5 50,000 items of printed music in the A A Brown collection. Available at archive.org
British Library Music Catalogue (1912)6 30,000 items printed before 1800. Available at archive.org
Stationers Hall  (1640–1818)7 Over 5,000 items registered with the London Company of Stationers.
Thompson & Thompson (1787)8 800 items of music published by Thompson & Thompson. Available at Google Books
Hofmeister (1829–1900)9 330,000 items of newly published music in the German market. Available online at Hofmeister XIX
Peters Library Catalogue (1894)10 5,000 works published by Peters, plus other books. Available at archive.org
Novello Orchestral (1904)11 Orchestral scores: 5,012 works by 1,337 composers. Available at archive.org
Pazdírek (1904–10)12 Listing of all printed music worldwide: around 750,000 works by perhaps 80,000 composers. 19 vols. Available at archive.org
British Library Online Catalogue Catalogue of the British Library’s 1.5 million music items
Christ Church Library Music Catalogue Music library of Christ Church, Oxford, including an important collection of early printed music.
Copac Composite catalogue of UK national, specialist and academic libraries.
DIAMM European polyphonic manuscripts pre-1550 – over 14,000 images
Karlsruher Virtueller Katalog Meta-search engine for European libraries and book trade sites
Library of Congress Online Catalogue Holdings of the US Library of Congress – 5.6 million music items
RISM Over 1,000,000 items of printed music and manuscripts pre-1800. Also incipit search for many items.
WorldCat Composite catalogue of many large libraries – ‘2 billion items’, though excludes several large European national libraries.
Choral Public Domain Library Scores of vocal and choral music – over 26,000 scores
IMSLP Over 400,000 music scores of more than 120,000 works by over 15,000 composers. Also includes some recordings, books on music, etc.
Cite this article as: Gustar, A.J. 'Printed Music Datasets' in Statistics in Historical Musicology, 12th July 2017, https://www.musichistorystats.com/resources/datasets/printed-music/.

 

  1. Craesbeeck, P. 1649. Primeira parte do index da livraria de musica do muyto alto. Lisbon.
  2. Madden, F. & Oliphant, T. (eds), 1842. Catalogue of the Manuscript Music in the British Museum. London: British Museum.
    Hughes-Hughes, A. (Ed.), 1906. Catalogue of manuscript music in the British museum (3 vols). London: British Museum.
  3. Sonneck, O. G. T. 1908. Dramatic Music: Catalogue of Full Scores. Washington: Government Printing Office.
    Sonneck, O. G. T. 1912. Orchestral Music Catalogue Scores. Washington: Government Printing Office.
    Sonneck, O. G. T. & Schatz, A. 1914. Catalogue of opera librettos printed before 1800 (2 Volumes). Washington: Government Printing Office.
  4. Barclay Squire, W. 1909. Catalogue of printed music in the library of the Royal College of Music. London: Royal College of Music.
  5. Brown, A. A. 1910. Catalogue of the Allen A. Brown collection of music in the Public library of the city of Boston. Boston.
  6. Barclay Squire, W. (Ed.), 1912. Catalogue of printed music published between 1487 and 1800 now in the British Museum (2 vols). London: British Museum.
  7. Arber, E. 1875. A transcript of the registers of the Company of Stationers of London, 1554–1640, A.D. London: E. Arber
    Briscoe Eyre, G. E. (Ed.), 1913. A transcript of the registers of the Worshipful Company of Stationers, from 1640–1708, A.D. London: Worshipful Company of Stationers.
    Kassler, M. 2004. Music Entries at Stationers’ Hall, 1710–1818. Abingdon: Ashgate.
  8. Thompson, S. A. & Thompson, P. 1787. A catalogue of vocal and instrumental music. London: St Paul’s Church Yard.
  9. Hofmeister, F. 1829–1900. Musikalisch-literarischer Monatsbericht. Leipzig: F. Hofmeister
  10. Vogel, E. 1894. Katalog der Musikbibliothek Peters. Leipzig: C.F. Peters.
  11. Rosenkranz, A. (Ed.), 1904. Novello’s catalogue of orchestral music. London: Novello.
  12. Pazdírek, F. (Ed.), 1904–10. The Universal handbook of musical literature. Practical and complete guide to all musical publications (19 vols). Vienna: Pazdírek & Co.