The Gilmore Music Library has thousands of rare published works, including both books and scores. They are cataloged in Orbis.
Here are a few highlights. The links will take you to the descriptions in Orbis.
- Theorica musice, by Franchinus Gaffurius, a theory treatise published in 1492.
- A partbook for a set of masses by Pierre de la Rue, published in 1503 by Ottaviano Petrucci, the famous pioneer of music printing.
- Gioseffo Zarlino, Istitutioni harmoniche, the most influential theory treatise of the 16th century. The library has two copies of the second edition (1573), one of which is signed on the title page by Claudio Monteverdi.
- Most of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach that were published during his lifetime, including all four parts of the Clavier-Übung (the Partitas in the editions of 1726 and 1731, the Italian Concerto and French Overture, the chorale preludes of Clavier-Übung III, and the Goldberg Variations), as well as the canonic variations on Vom Himmel Hoch.
- Leopold Mozart, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule (1756), the most important 18th-century treatise on playing the violin, written by the father of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Some of these items are shelved across the street, at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. To study them, please consult the Beinecke Library directly.