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What is a primary source?
Primary sources are the evidence of history: original records or objects created by participants or observers at the time historical events occurred or even well after events, such as in memoirs and oral histories.
Primary sources for music may include
- Letters and diaries of musicians and others
- Manuscripts and early printed editions of scores
- Marked-up scores used for early performances
- Reviews of first and early performances
- Sound recordings, including recording-session masters and outtakes
- fFlm footage of performances, rehearsals, and people involved in creating the music
- Ethnographic films and folklore collections
- Musical instruments and equipment of all kinds.
Music Primary Sources
Beethoven-Haus Bonn Digital Archives
The Digital Archives contain unique music manuscripts, first editions, letters and pictures from the museum's and library's collections of the Beethoven-Haus.
Historic American Sheet Music
A project of Duke University, Historic American Sheet Music features more than 3000 individual pieces of American sheet music published between 1850 and 1920. All pieces in this collection are drawn from the David M. Rubinstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Juilliard Manuscript Collection
Comprising 140 autograph manuscripts, sketches, engraver's proofs, and first editions, this magnificent collection was donated to the school by Juilliard Board Chairman Bruce Kovner in 2006.
Music Treasures Consortium
The Music Treasures Consortium provides online access to the world's most valued music manuscripts and print materials, held at the most renowned music archives, in order to further research and scholarship.
Sheet Music Consortium
A group of libraries working toward the goal of building an open collection of digitized sheet music using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting.