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Music 220 -- Seminar in Research Methods and Bibliography -- Dr. Partow Hooshmandrad

What is RISM?

"RISM" stands for Repertoire International des Sources Musicales (or International inventory of musical sources).   It's an ongoing scholarly project to catalog all the primary source materials, in libraries worldwide, relating to music. It gives detailed descriptions of music manuscripts, early printed editions of music, and early treatises on music.

The RISM is an international collective undertaking with the aim of comprehensively documenting surviving music sources anywhere in the world.

The RISM keeps track of what is in existence and where it is kept.

In many countries, independent national working groups in libraries and archives catalogue historical music sources: music prints, music manuscripts and libretti as well as writings about music (of a theoretical nature). The results are coordinated, summarised and published by the RISM.

The online-catalogue offered here contains around 700,000 references almost exclusively to music manuscripts. These records pass on to posterity the works of some 25,000 composers. The sources are preserved in the libraries and archives of 32 countriues.

This online-catalogue contains data on Series A/II: Music manuscripts after 1600, which was previously published as a CD-ROM or an Internet databank. You can search portions of RISM here:

RISM’s databank is the most comprehensive accessible documentation in the area of music manuscripts hitherto, and it will grow constantly through regular updates.

RISM: Article in Grove Music Online

RISM : Repertoire internationale des sources musicales

International inventory of musical sources.

Established in 1952, RISM is an ongoing inventory of the universe of musical literature created prior to 1800.

  • pre-19th century books on music

  • manuscript treatises on music

  • theoretical writings from a variety of sources on music

  • printed music

  • printed music collections

  • music in manuscipt form.

Citations include a complete description of the material, and the library/archival location at which these unique resource materials can be found.

RISM is currently administered as a joint production of the RISM Zentralredaktion at Frankfurt/Main, Germany, and the U.S. RISM Office at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

RISM Contents at the Madden Library

RISM: Series A

  •  REF ML113.I6 v.A1  (v.1-12)
    Einzeldrucke vor 1800 = Printed Music before 1800. 12 volumes (v.10 missing)

RISM: Series B

  •  REF ML113 .I6 v.BI:1
    Recueils imprimés XVIe-XVIIe siecles = Music collections published 1500-1701.
  •  REF ML113 .I6 v.BII
    Recueils imprimés XVIIIe siecle = Music collections published 1701-1800.
  •  REF ML113 .I6 v.BIII (3 volumes)
    Theory of Music from the Carolingian Era up to 1400.
  • Pt. 1: Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark France, Luxembourg, Netherlands
  • Pt. 2: Italy
  • Pt. 3: up to 1500 in Germany
  •  REF ML113 .I6 v.BIV (2 volumes)
    Manuscripts of Polyphonic Music, 11th-early 14th century.
  •  REF ML113 .I6 v.BIV (2 volumes)
    Handschriften mit mehrstimmiger Musik des 14., 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts = 14th - 16th Century Music Manuscripts Located Throughout Europe.
  •  REF ML113 .I6 v.BIV:5
    Manuscrits de musique polyphonique: XVe et XVIe siecles, Italie: Catalogue
  • REF ML113.I6 v.BV:1
    Tropen- und Sequenzen-handschriften = Manuscripts of Tropes and Sequences.
  •  REF ML113 .I6 v.BVI6 (1 AND 2)
    Ecrits imprimés concernant la musique = Comprehensive Bibliography of Writings on Music Printed Before 1800.
  • REF ML113 .I6 v.BVII
    Handscriftlich überlieferte Lauten- und Gitarrentabulaturen des 15. bis 18. Jahrhunderts = Descriptive Catalog of Pre-1820 Manuscript Music for Lute, Guitar and other Plectoral Instruments.
  • REF ML113. I6 v.BVIII (1 and 2)
    Das Deutsche Kirchenlied: kritische Gesamtausgabe der Melodien = German Hymns: Complete Catalog of Melodies.
  • REF ML113. I6 v.BIX:1
    Hebrew Notated Manuscript Sources up to circa 1840: A Descriptive and Thematic Catalogue.
  • REF ML113. I6 v.BIX:2
    Hebrew Writings Concerning Music in Manuscripts and Printed Books from Geonic Times up to 1800.
  • REF ML113. I6 v.BX
    The Theory of Music in Arabic Writings (c. 900-1900): Descriptive Catalogue of Manuscripts in Libraries of Europe and the USA.
  • REF ML113. I6 v.BXI
    Ancient Greek Music Theory: A Catalogue Raisonne of Manuscripts.