30,000 items of rare materials

Printed music and music in manuscript, books and periodicals, primarily from the 1500–1800s. The oldest manuscript is a folded sheet of church music from the middle of the 12th century.

 

Extensive collection of older material

The rare materials consist of different collections and works organised by genre, such as orchestral music, songs, chamber music, literature and liturgy. Today the rare collections include around 30,000 items, as well as a collection of about 15,000 letters.

The rare materials include printed and handwritten scores and sheet music, books, periodicals and manuscripts primarily from the 1500–1800s. The oldest manuscript is a folded sheet of church music from around 1150. Among the most valuable is a Haydn symphony in autograph, No. 49, a four-page rough draft for Mozart's opera Clemenza di Tito and some Beethoven drafts. 

Research resources

It is the breadth and scope of the collections, rather than individual, unique objects, that makes the library an indispensable resource for studies of primarily the European music of the 18 th and early 19th century. The library has a very large collection of 18th century publications from the German/Dutch music publishers Hummel.

Since 2011, new works added to the collection of rare materials are assigned a serial number and are searchable via the online catalogue. All the individual collections has an inventory of its content either available online in the archival register or in paper form at the library. Some works can be found via the digitized card catalogues for music and theatre.

Visit the collections

You can only borrow material from the collections of rare materials for studying in the reading room. It is also possible to order copies of the material at the lending desk or by contacting the Department of rare materials.

sample collection is available for those who wish to familiarise themselves with musical notation from the 18th century.