RISM (Repertoire International des Sources Musicales) is an ongoing scholarly project to document the existence of printed and manuscript music before 1800. It gives detailed descriptions of music manuscripts, early printed editions of music, and early treatises on music.
There are three series in RISM:
A = Inventories of musical sources from 1600-1800, in manuscript and printed editions, organized by composer
B = Bibliographies of materials organized by particular topic
C= Directories of music libraries around the world
We've organized the RISM description by type of contents inventoried below.
***All RISM volumes are shelved at Reference ML113 I67***
Parts of RISM are searchable online--see links provided.
The RISM Series A/II Database contains bibliographic records of music manuscripts written after 1600. The records include information in standard bibliographic categories as well as graphical images of over 780,000 music incipits. The Music manuscript database is linked to three other databases providing additional information to specific content: Composer, Library Sigla and Bibliographic Citations. (occasionally, these databases include information from other RISM series too.) The database can be searched from hyperlinks in the Music manuscript database, or directly from a database search menu.
The RISM Composer Database contains more than 29,500 composer names taken mostly from RISM series A/I and A/II. The composers are researched in standard music dictionaries as well as in local special literature.
The RISM Libraries Sigla Database identifies more than 7,150 libraries worldwide that hold music materials relevant to RISM series. All libraries are identified by name and RISM siglum. Other information provided may include the addresses.
The RISM Bibliographic Citations Database contains references for all thematic catalogues and other secondary sources cited in the RISM A/II Music Manuscripts Database.
Another RISM A/II database freely available online is Music Manuscripts (1600 to 1800) in British and Irish Libraries
C -- Directory of music research libraries
For any given manuscript, you can expect to see the folowing data in RISM:
Description of the manuscript
Text incipit, music incipit (first line of text, first few bars of the music)
Brief bibliography (articles about this manuscript)
Library that owns the manuscript (abbreviations are used; see the library's full name in the list at the front of the volume). ***Note that library sigla in RISM are not the same as listed in Grove, and are case-sensitive when searching. Our RISM siglum is US-U.
Early Printed Editions
For any early printed edition of a musical work, you can expect to see the following data in RISM:
Bibliographic citation (including a full transcription of the original tite page)
Libraries that own a copy of the edition (abbreviations are used; see the libraries' full names in the list at the front of the volume)
RISM entry number (you may see this number included in other authors' citations of this edition)