The Project "RePIM – Repertorio della Poesia Italiana in Musica, 1500-1700"

Giovanna Casali

Thursday, February 1, 2024

The following guest post is by Giovanna Casali (Università di Bologna, Italy):

On 16 November 2023, a study day entitled “Due gemelle nell’aria e nel sembiante”. Archivi e repertori della lirica poetica e musicale del Cinque-Seicento was held at the University of Bologna, more precisely at its Department of Cultural Heritage in Ravenna, to mark the inauguration of the new website of “RePIM - Repertorio della Poesia Italiana in Musica, 1500-1700,” which can be accessed here.

The original project – begun in 1977 and realized in printed form in the 1980s by Lorenzo Bianconi and Antonio Vassalli – aimed at compiling an incipit index of 16th and 17th century Italian poetry set to music by systematically examining contemporary volumes of poetry in order to identify the authors of the poems who are as a rule not named in the musical sources. Subsequently, the project came to be supervised by Angelo Pompilio and the scope of the investigation was expanded in an effort to produce a bibliographical index as complete as possible to facilitate research into poetry set to music in the period 1500–1700. RePIM offers in a single information system both musical and literary information regarding the composition of Italian secular music in the 16th and 17th centuries and contains the bibliographical description of all musical sources (printed and partly also in manuscript), the bibliographical description of the poetic sources consulted, the analytical description of all musical compositions and the corresponding poetic works in the literary sources.

With respect to the bibliography of musical sources, RePIM refers to the information contained in historical repertories (E. Vogel, Bibliothek der gedruckten weltlichen Vocalmusik Italiens aus den Jahren 1500-1700, Hildesheim, G. Olms, 1962, and E. Vogel, A. Einstein, F. Lesure, C. Sartori, Bibliografia della musica italiana vocale profana pubblicata dal 1500 al 1700, Pomezia, Staderini-Minkoff, 1977, Il Nuovo Vogel), which have been bibliographically updated and also supplemented by some handwritten musical sources. A total of 3,559 music sources are listed. During the cataloging process, the text incipits were expanded to include the first two verses for all the compositions accessed directly or in reproduction (ca. 2,500 items).

In terms of volumes of poetry, the bibliography mainly cites printed editions and was compiled on the basis of repertories and printed catalogs as well as the online catalogs of academic libraries. The resulting bibliography makes no claim to completeness regarding the poetry published in the 16th and 17th centuries overall, and should better be understood as an extensive repertory that substantially represents the lyrical production of the period. A total of around 1,500 literary sources are listed.

For each edition identified, a list of all traceable exemplars and, if available, a link to an online reproduction (approx. 4,500) is given.The bibliographic description also contains links to the RISM Catalog and to the catalog entries of the individual copies.

Research into authorship allowed for the identification of the poets of 20,764 texts, i.e. about 37% of the 55,538 compositions recorded altogether.

An outstanding novelty of RePIM as compared to earlier repertories is the complete transcription of the texts of 13,700 pieces of music (mainly from the period between 1580 and 1620) as well as 6,000 texts from volumes of poetry.

The information system has been realized by converting the content of RePIM into RDF format, which can be downloaded from the Zenodo open science platform. This was achieved by identifying reference ontologies that served as the basis for the conceptual model with explicit semantics. This approach sought to maximize the interoperability of the dataset while maintaining the definition of domain-specific concepts. It is hoped that the publication of RePIM as a Linked Open Data (LOD) resource will lower the barriers to accessing the data.

The project was initiated at the Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo of the University of Bologna, then continued at the Dipartimento di Beni Culturali of the same university (Ravenna branch), and is still in progress. Financial support was provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Istituto di Studi Rinascimentali in Ferrara. The web application for the consultation of the data is hosted by I Tatti - The Harvard University Center.

Image: Tarot cards of Musica and Poesia

Share Tweet Email

Category: New at RISM

Browse the news archive by category below or use the search box above.


Top posts

- Joseph Bologne’s “L’Amant Anonyme”
- The Public Domain in 2023
- Scott Joplin and the St. Louis World’s Fair
- The Vienna State Opera in 1955
- Elizaveta, Elisabeth, and Elizabeth

Featured posts

- A Word about RISM
- Chopin Heritage in Open Access
- Sarah Levy
- Discovering Vivaldi Sources
- Finding Unica in RISM

Send us your news

Share your news with RISM and reach an international community of scholars, musicians, librarians, and archivists. Find out more here.


All news posts are by RISM Editorial Center staff unless otherwise noted. Reuse of RISM’s own texts is permitted under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. In all other cases, please contact the individual author.