Bach Family Autographs Online

Source: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - PK

Have you ever seen Johann Sebastian Bach's Art of the Fugue in the composer's own handwriting? How about the St. Matthew Passion or the Well-Tempered Clavier? With the Bach Digital database, you have all this and more at your fingertips.

If you're not familiar with this resource, Bach Digital is a detailed database that includes links to digital reproductions of works and sources relating to Johann Sebastian Bach. Around 80% of known autograph manuscripts by J. S. Bach are housed today at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. With additional contributions from the Bach-Archiv Leipzig and the SLUB Dresden, around 90% of all Bach autograph manuscripts are in Bach Digital.

A second phase of the project included early manuscript copies of Bach's works, such as the copy of Bach's Cello Suites which was made by Anna Magdelena Bach (see image). Now, the third phase of the project is underway. This time, the focus is on four of the Bach sons: Wilhelm Friedemann (1710-84), Carl Philipp Emanuel (1714-88), Johann Christoph Friedrich (1732-95), and Johann Christian (1735-82). For this project, the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg has joined as a partner. Together, the Bach sources in Berlin, Leipzig, and Hamburg constitute around 80% of surviving primary sources for the Bach sons.

Sources documented in Bach Digital are also cataloged in RISM. Bach Digital is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The most recent issue of Bibliotheksmagazin: Mitteilungen aus den Staatsbibliotheken in Berlin und München has a nice article about Phase III of the project Bach Digital.


Image: A page from J. S. Bach's Cello Suite in G (BWV 1007), in the hand of Anna Magdalena Bach (RISM ID no. 467026901). In Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – PK (D-B), Mus.ms. Bach P 269. Permalink: resolver.staatsbibliothek-berlin.de/SBB0001DAD700000000

Category: Electronic resources



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All news entries are by the RISM Central Office staff unless otherwise noted. Reuse of RISM's own texts is permitted under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License—though please note that image credits and permissions are usually separate and noted at the bottom of each post. If authorship is attributed to someone else (indicated at the start of an entry and/or by a name following the word "Contact"), please contact the individual authors.