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Music History

Resources for courses and research in music history

Manuscripts and Facsimiles of Scores

Facsimiles on the Worldwide Web

British Library


  • Over 15,000 scans of manuscripts from libraries.  Manuscripts are listed alphabetically, but you can use the "Category Walker" to narrow down the results.

Library of Congress

  • Several of the digital collections of the United States Library of Congress Music Division include music manuscripts.

Loeb Music Library

  • Harvard University's Loeb Music Library has digitized some of its many music scores and libretti, viewable online or downloadable as .pdfs.

The Morgan Library & Museum

  • Many of the precious manuscripts held by this New York City landmark have been digitized and made available online.

National Library of Austria


Primary Sources in the Music Collection

In OneSearch, after limiting to "Library Catalog" and "Music Collection" as the Library Location, You can add specific keywords to find primary sources in the collection, for example:

facsimile -- for reproductions of original handwritten manuscripts or early printed music

correspondence -- the Library of Congress subject for letters of specific people is "correspondence."

interview -- many composers and performers have been interviewed by members of the popular press and by scholars.

There are several collections of primary source reading excerpts (translated into English) for music history:

Source Readings in Music History, 2nd edition, by Oliver W. Strunk and Leo Treitler

Music in the Western World: A History in Documents, by Piero Weiss and Richard Taruskin

Music through Sources and Documents, by Ruth Halle Rowen

Source Readings with a Topical Focus:


Keeping Time: Readings in Jazz History, 2nd ed., by Robert Walser

Reading Jazz, by David Meltzer

Reading Jazz: A Gathering of Autobiography, Reportage, and Criticism from 1919 to Now

Music Education:

Music Education: Source Readings from Ancient Greece to Today, 4th ed., by Michael L. Mark

American Music

Music in the U.S.A.: A Documentary Companion, by Judith Tick and Paul Beaudoin

Readings in Black American Music, by Eileen Southern

Music Theory and Philosophy:

Contemplating Music: Source Readings in the Aesthetics of Music, by Carl Dahlhaus and Ruth Katz

Music in European Thought, 1851-1912, by Bojan Buic

The Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Music

Other Collections of Source Readings:

Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music, by Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner

Greek Musical Writings, by Andrew Barker

Modernism and Music: An Anthology of Sources, by Daniel Albright

Readings in the History of Music In Performance, by Carol MacClintock

The Routledge Reader on the Sociology of Music, by John Shepherd and Kyle Devine

Women in Music: An Anthology of Source Readings from the Middle Ages to the Present, by Carol Neuls-Bates.