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MUS 390: European Art Music I: Scholarly Editions

Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Music

Scholarly Editions

Scholarly editions are researched and prepared by musicologists to represent the composer's original intentions as accurately as possible. Such editions are often called urtext editions. When searching for complete works in the catalog, be aware of the German (Sämtliche Werke), Italian (Tutte le opere), French (Oeuvres Complètes), and Latin (Opera Omnia) versions of the term.

Complete Works (M3s)

A number of editions of composers' complete works published in the nineteenth century are considered to be corrupt, as they had been taken from unreliable sources or modified by editors who interpolated their own interpretations and ideas. Inexpensive editions published by companies such as Dover and Kalmus, as well as many scores on downloadable websites, are reproductions of these older editions.

These editions have since been replaced by new complete editions. When researching complete editions, look out for terms such as "Neue Ausgabe Sämtliche Werke" (new edition of the complete works). These editions are likely to reflect the latest research and are more likely to be used for recent recordings.

Finding specific items in complete works can sometimes be tricky, depending on how the works are cataloged and by whom, and may require searching in reference books or online sources such as Oxford Music Online (New Grove).

Publishers specializing in urtext editions include G. Henle Verlag‚Äč and Bärenreiter.

The following is a list of complete works editions in the Music Library representative of the period you are studying. Please note, however, that not all of these sets are complete. 

  • Binchois, Giles
  • Byrd, William
  • Des Prez, Josquin
  • Frye, Walter
  • Gabrieli, Giovanni
  • Gesualdo, Carlo
  • Goudimel, Claude
  • Holborne, Anthony
  • Lasso, Orlando di (Lassus)
  • Monteverdi, Claudio
  • Obrecht, Jacob
  • Ockegham, Johannes
  • Palestrina, Giovanni
  • Rore, Cipriano de
  • Schütz, Heinrich
  • Sermisy, Claudin de
  • Victoria, Tomas da     

Complete works editions are shelved in alphabetical order in the M3 section. These volumes are for in house use only and do not circulate except by special permission.

Collected Editions (M2s, M5s)

Collected editions, also referred to as historical sets and monuments of music, are series of volumes devoted to a specific nationality, genre, or historical period.

Some of the most important sets relevant to this assignment are:

  • Das Chorwerk (Choral Music): M2 .C6325
  • Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich (Austrian Music): M2 .D36
  • Hortus Musicus (Chamber Music): M5 .H6
  • Musica Britannica (British Music): M2 .M638
  • Das Musikwerk: M2 .M94512
  • Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era: M2 .R238
  • Recent Researches in the Music of the Renaissance: M2 .R2384

Finding Individual Pieces in Collected Editions and Complete Works

Although the contents of some of these series can be found by searching WestCat, others cannot.  To find the contents of those that are not listed in the catalog, check the "Works" section of entries in Oxford Music Online and/or a reference book. The following titles contain indexes to find individual pieces in collected editions and complete works:

  • Heyer, Anna Harriet. Historical sets, collected editions and monuments of music:  a guide to their contentsChicago: American Library Association, 1980. [REF. ML113 .H521980]
  • Hill, George and Norris Stephens. Collected editions, historical sets and series and monuments of musicBerkeleyCA: Fallen Leaf Press, 1997. [REF. ML113 .H551997]
  • Charles, Sydney Robinson. A handbook of music and music literature in sets and seriesNew York: The Free Press, 1972. [REF. ML113 .C45

For specific works, it is sometimes necessary to look through the index or table of contents of a particular volume.