Category Archives: Source studies

Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale and Institut du Monde Arabe announce their collaboration

New York. — January 17, 2023 — Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM) has entered a three-year collaboration with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris (IMA, Arab World Institute) that aims to increase public engagement, advance global cultural understanding, and connect diverse communities by highlighting and sharing the Institute library’s holdings on music from the Arab world. RILM, which documents and disseminates music research worldwide, supports this initiative by drawing on its comprehensive digital resources to create blog posts about a selection of Arabic music literature. Each post is enhanced with an expertly curated bibliography. 

The bibliographic references stem from one of the richest and most exhaustive resources of global music research, RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, which contains 1.5 million bibliographic records from relevant writings on music published from the early 19th century to the present in over 170 countries and in more than 140 languages.

Blog posts are published on both institutions’ websites: RILM’s Bibliolore at https://bibliolore.org/ and the Institut du Monde Arabe’s Bibliographies page at https://www.imarabe.org/fr/ressources/bibliographies and the IMA News page at https://www.imarabe.org/fr/actualites.

Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM), New York: RILM is committed to the comprehensive and accurate representation of music scholarship in all countries and languages, and across all disciplinary and cultural boundaries. It publishes a suite of digital resources aimed at facilitating and disseminating music research. Its flagship publication is RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, the international bibliography of writings on music covering publications from the early 19th century to the present, now available in an enhanced version that includes the full text content of over 260 music journals. RILM Abstracts is available on the EBSCOhost platform along with RILM Music Encyclopedias, a full-text repository of a wide-ranging and growing list of music reference works, and the Index to Printed Music, a finding aid for searching specific musical works contained in printed collections, sets, and series. Distributed worldwide on RILM’s own platform are the continually updated music encyclopedia MGG Online, RILM Music Encyclopedias, and the  Dizionario Enciclopedico Universale della Musica e dei Musicisti (coming in mid-2023). RILM is a joint project of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres (IAML); International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM); the International Musicological Society (IMS); and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM). www.rilm.org

Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris: The Institut du Monde Arabe was founded to create strong and durable cultural ties while cultivating constructive dialogue between the Arab world, France, and Europe. This cross-discipline space is the central place for the development of cultural projects, in collaboration with institutions, creators and thinkers from the Arab world. The Institut du Monde Arabe is fully anchored in the present. It aims to reflect the Arab world’s current dynamics. It intends to make a distinctive contribution to the institutional cultural landscape. No other organization in the world offers such a wide range of events in connection with the Arab world. Debates, colloquia, seminars, conferences, dance shows, concerts, films, books, meetings, language and culture courses, and large exhibitions all contribute to raising awareness of this unique and vibrant world. https://www.imarabe.org

For more information, please contact:

Michael Lupo
Marketing & Media
Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale
365 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3108  •  New York, NY 10016-4309
mlupo@rilm.org  •  Phone 1 212 817 1992  •  www.rilm.org

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Filed under Africa, Asia, Europe, Literature, Musicology, RILM news, Source studies, Theory, Uncategorized, World music

Izabrana dela iz Hrenovih kornih knjig / Selected works from the Hren choirbooks

Hren

The Hren choirbooks comprise six large, well-preserved codices from the early seventeenth century; they are now held at the Narodna in Univerzitetna Knjižnica in Ljubljana (SI-Lnr MSS 339–44).

Hren choirbooksIn 2017 the Slovenska Akademija Znanosti in Umetnosti inaugurated the series Izabrana dela iz Hrenovih kornih knjig/Selected works from the Hren choirbooks with an edition of Annibale Perini’s Missa “Benedicite omnia opera Domini” and Pietro Antonio Bianco’s Missa “Percussit Saul mille”, two works whose sole source is the Hren Choirbooks.

Both works are parody Masses: the model for Perini’s Mass is Ruggiero Giovannelli’s motet Benedicite omnia opera Domini, while that for Bianco’s Mass is the motet Percussit Saul mille by Giovanni Croce.

Above, the statue of Tomaž Hren at the Stolnica Svetega Nikolaja, where the books originated; below, Croce’s Percussit Saul mille, the basis of the Bianco work.

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Filed under New editions, New series, Renaissance, Source studies

Biblioteca Digitale

The Biblioteca Digitale of the Conservatorio di Milano was founded in 2007 through the efforts of then-President Francesco Saverio Borrelli, who envisioned the creation of a digital repository of images of the conservatory’s historical documents, searchable and viewable via the online catalog of Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale, Lombardy.

As of 10 November 2011 the Biblioteca Digitale occupies an area of ​​about 5.1 terabytes for a total of 832 papers and 110,419 images

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Filed under Resources, Source studies

Collectionner la musique / Collecting music

Launched in 2010 by the Fondation Royaumont following its acquisition of the library of the pianist François Lang (1908–1944), the Brepols series Collectionner la musique/Collecting music  is devoted to exploring the history of music collecting.

The first volume, Collectionner la musique: Histoires d’une passion seeks to define music collecting in all its forms through profiles of some of the great European collectors and analyses of outstanding collections dating from the 16th century to the present—including those of João IV of Portugal, Padre Martini, and Henry Prunières. Further volumes will be devoted to the musician as collector and the learned collector.

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Filed under New series, Reception, Source studies

Motet database catalog online

Developed by Jennifer Thomas of the University of Florida’s School of Music, Motet database catalog online indexes manuscripts and printed anthologies of motets produced between 1475 and 1600 and contains about 33,000 motet and Mass Proper appearances. Each part of each motet is indexed as a separate record; the total number of records stands at 50,040.

The database allows scholars the flexibility to investigate the motet and its many contexts from multiple vantage points simultaneously by enabling sorting on various fields separately and in combination, a type of inquiry that is not possible on a large scale with printed books. Users can also search for specific words or groups of words, for particular names, or for many items in combination. Scholars with specific questions can isolate the data that will best serve their needs.


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Filed under Renaissance, Resources, Source studies

The magrepha mystery

The magrepha of ancient Hebrew ritual has been variously described as a percussion machine, signal gong, bell, tympanum, kettle drum, or hand drum—but also as a pneumatic organ, water organ, steam organ, composite woodwind instrument, pipework, or controllable siren. For centuries, scholars were unable to reach a solution that squared with ancient texts.

In “The magrepha of the Herodian temple: A five-fold hypothesis”, Joseph Yasser settled the matter by showing that the earliest sources mention the magrepha as a shovel for removing ashes and describe the thunderous sound caused when it was thrown to the floor at a particular point in the service; this sound apparently symbolized the vengeful actions of an angry God, aligning the ritual act with passages in Ezekiel. Later sources unmistakably characterize the magrepha as a type of wind instrument with multiple openings, each producing multiple sounds; Yasser’s proposed reconstruction is shown above.

The article appeared in A musicological offering to Otto Kinkeldey upon the occasion of his 80th anniversary, a special issue of the Journal of the American Musicological Society (vol. 13, no. 1–3 [1960], pp. 24–42; the issue is covered in our recently-published Liber amicorum: Festschriften for music scholars and nonmusicians, 1840–1966.

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Filed under Antiquity, Curiosities, Instruments, Source studies

Alphabetical impressionism

Bach’s use of a musical motive based on his name, B–A–C–H, is well known, and several other composers have used it in tributes to the Baroque master. As connoisseurs of French chamber music also know, Ravel made similar use of the technique of deriving musical material from a composer’s name in his Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Faure and Menuet sur le nom d’Haydn.

Far less known is the further use of this technique by both Debussy and Ravel in more enigmatically titled pieces. For example, several of their works bearing the words hommage or tombeau include musical material derived from the honoree’s name. Such formerly puzzling titles, which have led the curious on wild-goose chases in their attempts to understand what on earth the music had to do with the named composer, may now be understood as sly references to uses of this technique.

This according to “Widmungsstücke mit Buchstaben-Motto bei Debussy und Ravel” by Paul Mies, an essay included in Festschrift für Erich Schenk (Studien zur Musikwissenschaft: Beihefte der Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich, vol. 25 [1962], pp. 363–368); this journal issue dedicated to the Austrian musicologist Erich Schenk (1902–74) on the occasion of his 60th birthday is covered in our recently published Liber Amicorum: Festschriften for music scholars and nonmusicians, 1840–1966.

Below, Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin, one of the works discussed in the article.

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Filed under Curiosities, Impressionism, Source studies

Mangled Mozart

Mozart’s Entführung aus dem Serail was first performed in London at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 24 November 1827. Stephanie’s libretto was translated into English and quite freely adapted, and one C. Kramer made numerous and inexplicable changes to the score, editing Mozart’s music, substituting his own numbers for some of the original ones, and adding entirely new numbers. None the wiser, audiences and critics received the mangled work with great enthusiasm.

This according to “The first performance of Mozart’s Entführung in London” by Alfred Einstein (1880–1952) in Essays on music (New York: W.W. Norton, 1956), a collection of his writings issued as a memorial volume; the book is covered in our recently published Liber Amicorum: Festschriften for music scholars and nonmusicians, 1840–1966.

Above, a nineteenth-century engraving depicting a production of the opera in London—perhaps the one that Einstein described. Below, Twyla Tharp and Milos Forman imagine the opera’s premiere in Amadeus.

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Filed under Classic era, Curiosities, Dramatic arts, Opera, Performance practice, Reception, Source studies

Follow the drinking gourd

In 2008 the technology and publishing executive Joel Bresler created the multimedia website Follow the drinking gourd to share his research into the origins and history of the U.S. song, which was popularized by The Weavers and has been recorded some 200 times and reprinted in over 75 songbooks.

While providing ample documentation of the song’s reception history, this unusual resource probes persistent questions regarding the song’s provenance—not least, whether there is any basis for the idea that it was sung by African Americans during the Underground Railroad era. The site presents discussions by authoritative folklorists exploring such questions, and concludes with an invitation to collaborate by supplying further documentation.

Above, the first known publication of the song (Austin: Texas Folklore Society, 1928).

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Filed under Ethnomusicology, North America, Reception, Resources, Source studies

Mozart's flyswatter

Franz Niemetschek’s legendary report that La clemenza di Tito was composed in 18 days was not seriously challenged until 1960, when Tomislav Volek published important archival materials relating to the chronology of the opera’s composition. Physical evidence from the autograph manuscript, including the remains of a fly squashed on the paper (probably by the composer in the heat of August), contributes to discrediting the hypothesis that Mozart’s work had begun before he signed his July 1791 contract for the opera.

This according to “The chronology of Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito reconsidered” by Sergio Durante (Music & letters, 80, no. 4 (Nov 1999): 560–594), where the evidence is described thus:

“On folio 114 of the autograph . . . a thick black spot in the shape of a cross is found. . . . On direct and close examination, the centre of the spot proves to host the remains of a fly (a kind of evidence not often found in music sources!). After a long reflection, my best guess is that the fly was smashed under the loose bifolium at the very time of composition, after it had unduly annoyed Mozart at work; he also provided a witty ‘service’ to the insect by marking a cross over it (‘requiescat’!); in any case, such was the force and determination of the action, combined with the gluing action of the ink, that the corpse is still stuck on the page after two hundred years of musicological investigations.” (p. 574)

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Filed under Animals, Baroque era, Curiosities, Nature, Science, Source studies