Printed Music to 1550: A Report from the Central Office II

For those who are interested in early music prints, watch out! After revising the entries from the RISM B/I series to 1550 (see report) and related A/I entries, all of the remaining A/I entries to 1550 have now been revised. Some of them now have exact years and in other cases new copies have been found and added. An example of a revised entry is S 2807. Just try to compare it with the old entry in the printed A/I volume and you will see the improvements and differences.

Or look at the second oldest print in the A/I series, dating from 1498: M 1738. Latin teachers and students will probably know this printed Scaenica progymnasmata (also called Henno), which only has four small woodcuts of printed music notation (see image), but musicians might not have heard of it. This imprint is especially interesting because it has so many reprints (to M 1748).

External projects and secondary literature
For a part of the entries, the “Catalogue of early German printed music” (VDM 16) was very helpful. This is a project under the direction of Prof. Andrea Lindmayr-Brandl (University of Salzburg, Austria).

But also specialized literature, like an article by Roysten Gustavson about the “Einzeldrucke” of Ludwig Senfl (cited in the catalog as GustavsonS 2013) and bibliographies about different publishers were used to improve the entries. With more and more literature references, the RISM catalog offers a faster introduction to the material and research discourse.

In the future you will also find numbers that reference the projects VD 16, VD 17, and VD 18, which focus on German imprints from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. These retrospective national bibliographies are not limited to music and they can be helpful to classify a music print in its wider context. Just think of the numerous printers who published just a few music prints.

B/I from 1551
The revision of the B/I entries beginning from 1551 has also begun now. From 1551 to 1599 there are ca. 1,100 entries (with a lot of A/I duplicates) and from 1600 to 1700 there is around the same amount. The first part is now the focus of editing work.

Information concerning any mistakes, new copies, digitized copies, and other details such as important literature is most welcome! Just send an email to: or

Image: Daniel Megel, Scenica progymnasmata (Basel: Bergmann, 1498). A/I: M 1738. RISM ID no. 990040426. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (D-Mbs) 4 Inc.c.a. 1542 n, available online.



Category: New at RISM

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