Bibliography Commission

By Day, David | Fontes Artis Musicae, October-December 2010 | Go to article overview

Bibliography Commission

Day, David, Fontes Artis Musicae

The Bibliography Commission hosted three sessions at the 2010 Moscow conference. The first session entitled Research on Music Copyists from the eighteenth and nineteenth Centuries took place on Monday June 28th. Three papers offered differing perspectives on copyists research including landmark studies from Dresden, a bibliographic overview of copyist information provided in published catalogs, and a report on a prototype system to index copyists hands.

Dr. Ortrun Landmann, though now in retirement, attended the conference to share insights gathered from a distinguished career devoted to the study of music manuscripts with a special focus on the Saxony Court at Dresden. Landmann's professional contributions include years as the RISM specialist in Dresden and as the subject specialist of the music manuscript collection at the Sachsischen Landesbibliothek in Dresden. She has published extensively on the music history of the Dresden Court. She has also produced a number of descriptive catalogues (both print and electronic) dealing with the Dresden music manuscripts and copyists. Landmann's presentation, titled "The Dresden Music Copyists of the Saxon Court ca.1720ca.1840" drew upon the research that the author presented in a digital publication in 2009, Uber das Musikerbe der Sachsischen Staatskapelle. Drei Studien zur Geschichte der Dresdner Hofkapelle und Hofoper anhand ihrer Quellenuberlieferung in der SLUB Dresden [On the Musical Heritage of the Saxon Court: 3 Studies on the History of the Dresden Court Orchestra and Opera, Based on SLUB Dresden's Original Source Documentation], accessible at

Landmann began by noting that the time frame of her research is limited to the years for which manuscript scores survive in good supply in Dresden. Major fires in 1760 associated with the Prussian invasion resulted in the loss of most sixteenth and seventeenth century resources including many of the compositions of Heinrich Schutz. Records that enable the documentation of employment of full-time and parttime copyists date from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Landmann provided an overview of the organization and evolution of the scribal school associated with the court. She noted how the apprentice system of training new copyists and the blending of French, Italian, and Bohemian writing styles led to a distinctive and refined style associated with Dresden. This combined with the importance of Dresden as a center for musical creation resulted in a wide distribution of Dresden manuscripts throughout major European cities and beyond. Landmann commented on the importance of paper mill identification and its role in distinguishing locally produced manuscripts. Both local and foreign produced papers were used at the court; therefore the detailed documentation of the court copyists and ability to recognize specific hands provides a more reliable means of identification.

Beginning in 2009, Landmann participated in a project to post on the Internet more than 300 specimens of the Dresden copyists. It is anticipated that this resource will enable a more extensive reconstruction of the distribution of Dresden sources throughout the world.

Dr Landmann's presentation was followed by two student presentations, both of which were funding by a Mentoring Environments Grant from Brigham Young University. Briana Hurst, an undergraduate music major in oboe performance from Brigham Young University presented an overview of her work on a bibliography of collection catalogues and composers' thematic catalogues that document music copyists. She began by stressing the value of research on music copyists. Studies in compositional process require autograph manuscripts but frequently involve copyists as some composers regularly relied on copyists to complete certain levels of a composition, such as the orchestration. Source studies and the preparation of scholarly editions obviously require access to both holograph materials and copyists' resources. …

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Bibliography Commission


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