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Music Manuscripts from the Staats- und Stadtbibliothek Augsburg to the Mid-17th Century

Colored Augsburg city arms on parchment (D-As Tonk Schl 200a)

Starting November 2020, the Bavarian State Library will catalog and digitize ca. 80 music manuscripts from the dawn of music notation to the mid-17th century owned by the State and City Library of Augsburg (Staats- und Stadtbibliothek Augsburg; RISM library siglum: D-As). This two-year project, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), will allow, for the first time, comprehensive, musicological documentation of these sources and enable them to be made available online at no cost. In addition to having a record in the online catalog and complete, high-quality scans of the sources, part of the digitization process will also involve documenting the watermarks present on the paper using the latest thermographic technology.


The music manuscripts of the State and City Library of Augsburg, founded in 1537, hold a significant place among the Renaissance collections preserved by the city. They mainly originated in the monasteries and abbeys of Augsburg. Of particular importance are the music materials from the former Benedictine and Imperial Abbey Sankt Ulrich und Afra with its major collection of large-format choirbooks, including Magnificats by Orlando di Lasso, which are richly decorated illuminated manuscripts.

The cultural significance of Augsburg and its civic musical life at the time of Emperor Maximilian I is reflected in the "Augsburger Liederbuch," which contains a compilation of motets, chansons, and songs from the early 16th century. The volume bears the bookplate of the Herwart patrician family and preserves pieces, some unique to this source, by highly regarded and important composers of the time, such as Ludwig Senfl, Heinrich Isaac, Jacob Obrecht, Josquin Desprez, and Alexander Agricola.

The results of the project will be included in the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) database and the Watermark Information System (WZIS).







Category: Library collections

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