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Print and manuscript sources of Renaissance music (1400–1600)

General resources for music manuscripts

  • DIAMM: Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music
    • Database for inventories, descriptive information and images (or links to online images) of many Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts
    • Includes the Census Catalogue and RISM (see below) entries for many sources
    • Includes music manuscripts of polyphonic music up to c. 1550, as well as English music manuscripts for 1550-1600
    • One of the most important online catalogues for music manuscripts
  • Hamm, Charles, and Herbert Kellman, eds. Census-Catalogue of Manuscript Sources of Polyphonic Music, 1400-1550. 5 vols.  Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler-Verlag, 1979-1988. (CC)
    • ML136 I545 1979
    • Authors included entries for known manuscript sources of polyphonic music in mensural notation 1400–1550
    • Includes bibliography of scholarly articles for each source with a list of composers, genres, and numbers of pieces; bibliography includes articles containing complete inventories
    • System of manuscript abbreviations is widely used (with RISM, they are the two main standards for music manuscripts)
    • Many of the entries can be found on DIAMM
  • Microfilms of Renaissance Manuscripts
    • List of microfilms available at McGill for specific Renaissance manuscripts
    • Organized based on the CC (Census Catalogue)
    • See CC under Manuscript Resources of this guide for more details
  • Hamm, Charles, and Jerry Call. "Sources, MS; IX, Renaissance Polyphony." In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, 2001. 
    • ML100 G8863 2001 (print copy of The New Grove Dictionary of Music)
    • Annotated bibliographies for selected sources
    • Discussion of sources based on date, region, and genre
    • Notes on dating and provenance, analysis of fascicle structure, problems of paleography and notation, and relationships between groups of sources
    • Updated notes on the Census Catalogue (CC) sources; useful for pairing with CC
  • RISM B IV, 5.  Bridgman, Nanie, ed. Manuscrits de Musique Polyphonique, XVe et XVIe siècles: Italie. Munich: Henle, 1991.
    • ML113 I6 v. B IV, 5 
    • Descriptions and inventories, with codified incipits (beginning of each piece) of polyphonic music manuscripts of the 15th and 16th Centuries found in Italian libraries
    • The system of manuscript abbreviations (“RISM sigla”) is widely used (with the Census Catalogue, it is one of the two main standards for music manuscripts)
    • Contains index of incipits (beginnings of pieces) using numerical code
  • IDEM: Integrated Database for Early Music
    • Focuses on manuscripts of music from the Low Countries up to 1800
    • Includes images and inventories of music manuscripts

Location and contacts

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Marvin Duchow Music Library
Elizabeth Wirth Music Building
3rd floor - 527 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1E3
Subjects: Music

Resource key

  • McGill users only
  • Open access resource
  • Free resource
  • In-library use
  • Catalogue record

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