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Music: Manuscripts and Rare Editions

A research guide for finding music in various formats in the Yale University Library, and for beginning research on music.

Manuscripts at Yale

In Quicksearch Books+

Music Library Special Collections

  • Descriptions of music special collections
  • Some highlights
  • Policies and procedures
  • Online exhibitions (include digital images of mss. and editions),
  • Digitized treasures with links to other online collections

Music in the Beinecke

Catalogs Beyond Yale

Archival Collections

RISM: International Repertory of Musical Sources (Catalogs)

International Project to document musical and textual sources about music to about 1825 

  • Series A/I - Printed Editions of Music by Individual Composers
  • Series A/II - Manuscripts, 1600-1800
  • Series B/I - Printed Collections of Music, for 1500-1550 and 1601-1610
  • Libretti (incomplete)
  • Treatises (incomplete)
  • Lists individual works within collections, gives musical incipits, has a variety of search fields
  • US-NH = Yale Music Library
  • US-NHub = Beinecke Library
  • US-FAy = Yale University, Lewis-Walpole Library, Farmington
  • Search for the library abbreviations used in RISM, Grove, and other sources.
  • Gives address and other information
  • 13,000+ citations for libretti in the Schatz Collection at the Library of Congress
  • Available through the University of Virginia Library's online catalogue, Virgo
  • Click on "Guest" at the login screen
  • Include keywords such as "operas," "librettos," or "micfilm 1182" to find records
  • Note the reel number
  • The Schatz Collection microfilm is held at the Yale Music Library, Microforms, Reel 1904 (400 reels)
  • Request microfilm from staff; read in the SML Microtext Room

For an overview of RISM content, in printed volumes and other formats, see this page.

Article on Important Sources of Music

Boorman, Stanley, et al. “Sources, MS.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.

Related Guides and Websites