Database last updated 4/5/2017

FWF project no. P 28353-G26

FWF project no. P 24075-G23

FWF Austrian Science Fund

Universitt Salzburg

Verzeichnis deutscher Musikfrühdrucke (c. 1470–­1550)
Catalogue of early German printed music

1. Fundamentals of the database

The database aims to bring together information on all books with printed staves and/or music notation that were published in German-speaking lands from c. 1470 to 1550. It is designed to provide codicological descriptions of these editions based on a physical inspection of at least one extant copy. In cases where it was not possible to view a physical copy, the information is provided from the major bibliographical sources (RISM, ISTC, GW, VD16, etc.) or from digital images. In the descriptions, particular emphasis is given to the technicalities of music printing. An edition is defined as the summary of all copies produced in the same print run. It is characterised by a distinct title page, a colophon, and a specific collation (i.e. the structure of the book). If editions are dated to the same year and have mostly the same contents, but there are variants in the title page, colophon, or collation, they are designated as separate variant editions with the additional designations (a), (b), etc. in the title. Editions that share more than 50% of their content are listed as related editions. Liturgical books are related by genre and liturgical use, and hymn books are related by title and printer. All known extant copies are listed with the edition. Lost copies are included in the list of copies, while ghost copies are mentioned under further details. Links to digital copies are given wherever they are available.

2. Organisation of the database

The database is organised in four levels: the search level, where one can search using a number of different parameters; the level of search results, giving brief descriptions of all listed editions; the edition level, with summary information based on an autopsy copy; and the copy level, with a separate description of the inspected exemplar.

3. Transcription conventions

The identity of an edition is closely linked to the collation, the contents of the title page, and the colophon; therefore, diplomatic transcriptions of the latter two elements are given. The original spelling, abbreviations, punctuation, and special characters are retained as far as possible. In addition, there are diplomatic transcriptions of privileges, when they occur, and of many paratextual elements. Line breaks are represented by two vertical lines. In cases where there is no title page, a diplomatic transcription of the first words of text is given. For sets of partbooks the transcription of the tenor title page is given first, followed by the title pages of the other partbooks.

4. People, times, and places

All of the people who participated in the production of an edition are listed in the database. These include printers, publishers, authors, editors, dedicatees, and further contributors (mostly authors of paratexts). If any of these names are uncertain or have been deduced from the context, they appear in square brackets. In the internal structure of the database the names are linked to standardized data sets (Integrated Authority File, GND). The name data sets include alternative spellings.

The year and specific date of publication is taken from the edition whenever possible. If a print lacks this information and the date is either approximate or has been deduced from other sources, it is given in square brackets. In these cases, this information is usually taken from standard bibliographical works. The same applies for the location of publication. Anglicized place names are used. In the internal structure of the database the place names are linked to their exact geographic coordinates. The location data sets include German and Latin names as well as alternative spellings.

German-speaking areas are defined to include not only modern-day Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland, but also the border territories which lie outside the current country boundaries. In the north, it includes Low German-speaking areas but not Dutch-speaking ones. In the east, Silesia has been included as well as individual locations where there was a large German-speaking community, such as Lanškroun / Landskron (Bohemia) and Moravské Vlkovice / Fulnek (Moravia). Editions from Kraków (where German was then one of the official administrative languages) are cited only when there is German text within the book. Latin books from Kraków are not considered.

5. Types of sources

There are eight categories of sources. Broadsheet/pamphlet includes all sources consisting of a single sheet only, whether unfolded (broadsheet) or folded into a smaller format (pamphlet). Humanist books cover collections of odes, school dramas, and grammar books. Hymn books are defined as liturgical song books in the vernacular, produced after the beginning of the Reformation, and intended for private or congregational use. Liturgical books include works intended for the use of the clergy (Roman Catholic or Protestant) or the choir during divine services. Polyphonic music books cover all publications that are more extensive than a pamphlet and contain a number of pieces of polyphony, whether sacred or secular. They do not include dramas with a number of polyphonic choruses or odes, which are classified as humanist books. Hymnals that include a small number of polyphonic pieces in addition to the mainly monophonic repertoire are not designated as polyphonic music books but as hymn books. Tablature books contain music for various instruments, notated in the tablature particular to keyboard, plucked, or bowed instruments. Theory books are defined as pedagogical music treatises intended for students or professional musicians indiscriminately. Sources that do not fit into the above categories, such as books containing individual devotional or exegetical songs, or graphic works that include legible musical notation, are included under the category Other. If an edition references a certain confession, this is given in the category confessional identity. Prints are distinguished between Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Swiss Reformed (Zwinglian), Evangelical (i.e. Protestantism in Strasbourg), Bohemian Brethren, and Calvinist. For uninspected copies the confessional identity listed is taken from RISM B/VIII.

6. Autopsy copy & inspected copies

The project team attempts to inspect as many exemplars as possible, but at least one physical extant copy of each edition printed after 1500. Most of the descriptions of fifteenth century sources are based on the research of Mary Kay Duggan. The inspected print is designated as the autopsy copy and is referred to by the library's RISM siglum and its shelfmark. The autopsy copy should be complete and undamaged; where this is not possible the information is supplemented from a second autopsy copy. The physical examination of the autopsy covers various aspects. The collation of the copy is given. Where there are no signatures, the collation is taken from the GW or library catalogues. Measurements are taken of the page with the largest printed area (width and height). If the measurements of the text and music pages are significantly different, this is noted. The printing technique used for the music is indicated: woodcut, single impression from type, multiple impression from type (both double and triple), as well as more unusual cases such as the use of individual pieces of music type set within a block of text, or empty staff lines. The notation type(s) used in an edition are specified: square notation, Hufnagel notation (i.e. 'Gothic' chant notation), mensural notation, or tablatures of different kinds. Measurements of the width and height of the first full-length staff in the edition, unless otherwise indicated, are given. In prints using single or multiple impression the height of the minim or virga(s) is also given. Measurements are, in most cases, rounded to the nearest 0.5 mm. Brief descriptions of the printer's mark and any illustrations are included. All copies that have been inspected are designated by an asterisk. Information about the copy includes location, shelfmark, condition, binding, manuscript or stop press additions or corrections, provenance, and any further comments. The contents of composite volumes are listed.

7. Additional information

The vdm database focuses on the physical aspects of music prints; therefore, only basic descriptions of their musical contents (e.g. repertoire, composers explicitly named in a print, etc.) are included. Each edition in the database has a specific vdm number assigned according to the order in which it was entered. Catalogue references to major bibliographies are given where they exist. These include RISM, VD16, ISTC, RELICS, GW, etc. Finally, selected secondary literature that explicitly refers to the edition is listed.


The following catalogues and bibliographies have been consulted:

RISM Series A/I: Individual Prints before 1800. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1971−2012.

RISM Series B/I and B/II: Recueils imprimés XVIe−XVIIIe siècles, ed. François Lesure. Munich: Henle, 1960.

RISM Series B/VI: Écrits imprimés concernant la musique, ed. François Lesure. Munich: Henle, 1971.

RISM Series B/VIII: German Hymns (DKL), ed. Konrad Ameln. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1975−1980.

Amiet, Robert. Missels et bréviaires imprimés. Supplement aux catalogues de Weale et Bohatta. Paris: CNRS, 1990.

Benzing, Josef and Helmut Claus. Lutherbibliographie. Verzeichnis der gedruckten Schriften Martin Luthers bis zu dessen Tod. Baden Baden: Heitz, 1966.

Brednich, Rolf Wilhelm. Die Liedpublizistik im Flugblatt des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts. Baden-Baden: Koerner, 1975.

Catalogue de la bibliothèque de F. J. Fétis acquise par l‘Etat belge. Bologna: Forni editore, 1877.

Estreicher, Karol Józef Teofil. Bibliografia Polska. Kraków: W Druk. Uniw. Jagiellonskiego, 1870–1908.

Hubert, Friedrich. Die Straßburger liturgischen Ordnungen im Zeitalter der Reformation nebst einer Bibliographie der Straßburger Gesangbücher. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1900.

Metzger, Heinz Dietrich. Gesangbücher in Württemberg. Bestandsverzeichnis. Stuttgart: Metzler, 2002.

Probst, Manfred. Bibliographie der katholischen Ritualiendrucke des deutschen Sprachbereichs. Münster: Aschendorff, 1993.

Proctor, Robert. An Index to the Early Printed Books in the British Museum. Part II. MDI–MDXX. Section I. Germany. London: Kegan Paul, 1903.

Renaissance Liturgical Imprints: A Census (RELICS database):

Schanze, Frieder. “Gestalt und Geschichte früher deutscher Lied-Einblattdrucke.” InNiveauNischeNimbus. Die Anfänge des Musikdrucks nördlich der Alpen, ed. Birgit Lodes, 369-410. Tutzing: Schneider, 2010: 369−410.

Teramoto, Mariko, and Armin Brinzing. Katalog der Musikdrucke des Johannes Petreius in Nürnberg. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1993.

Wackernagel, Philipp. Bibliographie zur Geschichte des deutschen Kirchenliedes im XVI. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt am Main: Heyder & Zimmer, 1855. Reprint Hildesheim: Olms, 1961.

Wackernagel, Philipp. Das deutsche Kirchenlied von der frühesten Zeit bis zu Anfang des XVII. Jahrhunderts. Mit Berücksichtigung der deutschen kirchlichen Liederdichtung im weiteren Sinne und der lateinischen von Hilarius bis Georg Fabricius und Wolfgang Ammonius, 5 volumes. Repr. Hildesheim: Olms, 1964.

Weale, William Henry James. Bibliographia liturgica: Catalogus missalium ritus latini ab anno MCCCLXXV impressorum. Ed. Hanns Bohatta. London: Quaritch, 1928.

Worstbrock, Franz Josef, ed. Deutscher Humanismus, 1480−1520: Verfasserlexikon, 2 volumes. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2005−2015.

Zahn, Johannes. Die Melodien der deutschen evangelischen Kirchenlieder aus den Quellen geschopft und mitgeteilt, 6 volumes. Repr. Hildesheim: Olms, 1963.

Union catalogues of Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.