About this Collection
Among the thousands of rare books in the Music Division’s custody, there is an exceptional group of musical scores assembled under the Library of Congress classification M1490. This classification comprises approximately 400 musical imprints and, in a few instances, copyist manuscripts containing instrumental and vocal music that were printed or created before 1700. In 2008, about twenty-five percent of these early musical treasures were selected for digitization.
The musical genres represented among these initial selections include partbooks for sixteenth and seventeenth-century masses, motets, magnificats, hymns, madrigals, chansons, airs, villanelles, canzonets, etc., offering a varied and significant cross-section of the sacred and secular musical repertory composed by both renowned and obscure composers of the Renaissance and early Baroque. This online presentation of pre-1700 musical scores is intended to serve as a truly unique resource for scholars, performers, and early music lovers alike.