Musical Sources: Past and Future

An International Conference Celebrating 70 Years of RISM

7–9 October 2022, Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz (Germany)

Founded in 1952 by representatives of the International Musicological Society (IMS) and the International Association of Music Libraries (IAML), the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) has long set the standard in the field of musical source studies. Over the course of seven decades, RISM’s publications have targeted a variety of source types—printed anthologies as well as editions by a single composer, music manuscripts of all sorts, writings about music and theoretical treatises—all in all covering an astonishing range both chronologically (from ancient Greece up to contemporary manuscripts) and geographically (from the Arabic world to Ibero-American sources and the music of South Korea). Along the way RISM has also anchored itself in the digital world, and its work today is primarily focused on maintaining and further enriching our freely accessible database (searchable through the RISM Catalog and RISM Online) of about 1.4 million records describing music manuscripts and printed editions.

Our 70th anniversary conference is meant as a forum for discussing the state of musical source research, pondering the lessons of the past, and outlining some perspectives for the future. We have contributions pertaining specifically to RISM that focus on our own history, examine material falling into the traditional coverage of the project, and bring new sources to light. But our conference is equally a platform for presentations that call attention to potential new paths yet to be discovered, treat other types of musical sources that fall outside of RISM’s usual scope, and explore geographic areas where RISM is underrepresented. We invite participants to reconsider what we regard as “musical sources” and to scrutinize the diverse methods used for studying them in both the past and the foreseeable future.


Friday, October 7

18:00 Official Opening of the Conference

Video on YouTube

  • Reiner Anderl (Darmstadt/Mainz), President of the Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz
  • Pia Shekhter (Gothenburg), President of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres
  • Cristina Urchueguía (Bern), Secretary General of the International Musicological Society & President of the Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften
  • Klaus Pietschmann (Mainz), President of the International RISM Association
18:30 RISM Lecture: Musical Sources in Mexico

Video on YouTube

  • Lucero Enríquez (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Drew Edward Davies (Northwestern University), Analía Cherñavsky (Universidade Federal de Integração Latino-Americana)
    From Data, Understanding the Past, Orienting the Future

Saturday, October 8

9:00 Fragmenta, Codices, Libri

Chair: Nicole Schwindt (Trossingen)

  • Fiona Baldwin (University College Dublin)
    How Medieval Trash Became Musical Treasure: Virtual Encounters with Notated Liturgical Fragments in Marsh’s Library, Dublin
    Video on YouTube
  • Anne-Zoé Rillon-Marne (Université catholique de l’Ouest, Angers)
    A New Look at an Old Book: Investigating the Making of I-Fl MS Pluteus 29.1
    Video on YouTube
  • Nicolò Ferrari (University of Manchester)
    Complex Codices: Describing the Syntax of Late Medieval and Early Modern Music Manuscripts
Coffee break
11:00 Special Challenges

Chair: Andrea Lindmayr-Brandl (Salzburg)

  • Luigi Collarile (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis FHNW / Bern University of the Arts)
    Lost Music Books by the Venetian Publisher Giacomo Vincenti (1554–1619): New Data, New Perspectives
  • Anne Piéjus (IReMus – Institut de recherche en musicologie / Bibliothèque nationale de France)
    Scattered Music Sources in the Literature of the Modern Period: What Prospects for Integration into RISM?
  • Emilio Ros-Fábregas (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Institución Milá y Fontanals de Investigación en Humanidades)
    The Digital Platform Books of Hispanic Polyphony IMF-CSIC and RISM: Perspectives on Collaboration
  • Stephen Rose (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    Musical Heritage in Local Archives: RISM and the Challenges of Decentralised Vernacular Repertories
  • Boris Voigt, Daniel Tiemeyer, Ulrike Roesler, Severin Kolb (Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar der Universität Heidelberg)
    The Concept of “Work” in Franz Liszt’s Compositional Practice: Reflections from the Perspective of a Source-Based Catalogue
14:30 Beyond Europe

Chair: Stefanie Acquavella-Rauch (Mainz)

  • Sven Gronemeyer (Max Weber Stiftung, Bonn / La Trobe University, Melbourne), Zeynep Helvacı & Ralf Martin Jäger (both University of Münster)
    New Perspectives: The Indexing and Cataloging of Non-European Music Manuscript Sources Using the Example of 19th-Century Ottoman Music Manuscripts
  • Ali Tüfekçi & Güneş Çetinkaya Şerik (both Istanbul Technical University Turkish Music State Conservatory)
    Digitization of the Cultural Heritage of Turkish Music
  • Wantana Tancharoenpol (Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok)
    Thai Musical Sources in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek
  • Edgar Alejandro Calderón Alcántar (National Conservatory of Music, Mexico / Faculty of Fine Arts of Michoacán University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Mexico)
    The Ancient Conformation of an Eighteenth-century New Spain Music Archive: A Methodological Perspective of Musical Documentation
    Video on YouTube
Coffee break
16:30 New Source Types

Chair: Jonathan Gammert (Mainz)

  • Inja Stanović (City, University of London), Eva Moreda Rodríguez (University of Glasgow)
    Early Recordings have RISM: Redefining Early Recordings as Sources for Performance Practice and History
  • Francesco Finocchiaro (“L. Campiani” Conservatory, Mantua)
    The Musical Documents of the Silent Film Era
  • Valentina Bertolani (University of Birmingham / Carleton University)
    Bespoke Objects and Instruments as Crucial Material Sources for 20th- and 21st-Century Music

Sunday, October 9

9:00 Historical Perspectives

Chair: Thomas Betzwieser (Frankfurt am Main)

  • Paul Allen Sommerfeld (Library of Congress)
    Report from the Water Closet: Richard S. Hill and RISM’s Foundational History at the Library of Congress (US-Wc)
    Video on YouTube
  • Andrea Hartmann & Steffen Voss (both RISM Deutschland e.V.)
    The Early Years of the Two RISM Working Groups in Germany
    Video on YouTube
  • Armin Brinzing (Bibliotheca Mozartiana, International Mozarteum Foundation)
    RISM Past and Future: Some Thoughts from the Viewpoint of Collaborators and Libraries
    Video on YouTube
  • Sara Taglietti (Ufficio Ricerca Fondi Musicali, Milan)
    “RISM Resources: What Exists and Where it is Kept”: The State of the Art in Italy Among OPACs, Card and Printed Catalogues, and New Discoveries
    Video on YouTube
Coffee break
11:00 The Digital Turn

Chair: Laurent Pugin (Bern)

  • Thomas Schmidt (University of Manchester)
    The Changed Role of Catalogues of Music Sources in the Digital Age
    Video on YouTube
  • Marcin Konik (The Fryderyk Chopin Institute, Warsaw)
    Integration of Digital Tools for Music Data
    Video on YouTube
  • Sandra Tuppen (The British Library / RISM (UK) Trust)
    Using RISM Metadata to Track Posthumously Published Single-Composer Prints Before 1650
    Video on YouTube
  • Frans Wiering & Mirjam Visscher (both Utrecht University)
    Mining the RISM Data for Music-Historical Insight
    Video on YouTube
12:30 Close


Series A/I; series B, volume VIII, parts 1 and 2; series C
Series B (except for volume VIII, parts 1 and 2)
Series A/II CD-ROM (1995-2008)
Series A/II subscription database (2002-2006)
Series A/II subscription database (2006-present)
Congress report (2010)