RISM - International Inventory of Musical Sources

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Music has always been a part of humankind's life. Prior to the invention of recording technology, one had to play music oneself, or have it played. This was not possible without notes, which, since the 16. century, one could buy already printed, or - cheaper still - copy them by hand.
Many printed and hand-written notes have been handed down and are preserved today in libraries, archives, private collections etc. For the researcher these sources are valuable documents for learning which music was preferred and when. The researcher assesses these documents with the goal of setting down musical history as precisely as possible. The musician, on the other hand, uses old notes to perform unknown music in addition the familiar (Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Haydn etc.).

However, science and practice are preceded by information on the sources. This is the function of RISM - the International Inventory of Musical Sources. It has working representatives in more than 30 countries, whose employees search for and painstakingly describe printed and hand-written music in the museums and archives of their country. Findings are supplied to the central editing office in Frankfurt, where they are EDP-memorized and published as CD-Rom or in internet - partially also in book form.

RISM Internationales Quellenlexikon der Musik e.V.
Sophienstraße 26
60487 Frankfurt am Main
Phone +49 (0) 69 706231
Fax +49 (0) 69 706026