Database last updated 20/1/2018

FWF project no. P 28353-G26

FWF project no. P 24075-G23

FWF Austrian Science Fund

Universitt Salzburg


This project, Music printing in German speaking lands: From the 1470s to the mid-16th century, focuses on early printed music north of the Alps as a general phenomenon. The characteristic feature of the project is that it takes the technical challenge of printing notes and staff-lines together as its starting point. Unlike other studies that focus on a specific musical genre or printing centre, this project examines all kinds of printed sources containing musical notation: theoretical and pedagogical books containing musical examples, broadsheet and pamphlets with music, printed liturgical books, tablatures for all kinds of instruments, printed polyphonic music, hymn books, humanistic dramas with musical choruses, and so on. The broad perspective will provide a comprehensive insight into the varieties of musical production during the late fifteenth and first half of the sixteenth centuries, and will lead to a better understanding of the influence and role of music printing in cultural history.

The project rests upon two principal pillars. The first is the database. The current version of this database was developed as part of the preceding FWF project, which covered the first four decades of the 16th century. The existing collection of data will be enlarged considerably by checking single copies in original and by continuing the process of recording specific typographical data and detailed descriptions of individual copies over the enlarged period of investigation. Future plans include the addition of images of the title page and a page containing music printing for each edition listed in the database, and the development of a cartographic visualization tool in cooperation with colleagues from the department of Geography and Geology at Salzburg University.

The second pillar of the project consists in the on-going evaluation of data from the preceding project and in this current extension. Investigations will focus on music printing in the Reformation and the age of confessionalisation, networks within the music publishing industry, the exchange of knowledge and techniques, development of new printing techniques, both within and beyond the German speaking territories. Moreover, special areas of interest will include the interrelation between liturgical books, printed plainchant traditions, the political uses and implications of various sources, and printing privileges. We are happy to hear from other researchers working on related areas. Please get in touch if you have information for or questions about the project (see the ‘Contact’ section).

The project Music printing in German-speaking lands, funded by the FWF, is based at the University of Salzburg, Austria. It began in February 2016 as an extension of the project Early music printing in German-speaking lands. We are grateful to the FWF for their support, to the staff of the initial project, Dr. Elisabeth Giselbrecht, and Dr. Dr. Grantley McDonald, and to the former advisors, Prof. Stanley Boorman, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Birgit Lodes, and Dr. Armin Brinzing.