Bavarica in music materials


The music collection contains valuable items from the collecting activities of the Wittelsbach dukes, as well as music autographs by important Bavarian composers.

Further information about the music collection
Musical treasures of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek  (objects of the collection available on bavarikon)

The Bavarian rulers and music

Since the foundation of the court library, the Wittelsbach dukes and kings collected music autographs and precious manuscripts in a targeted manner. With the appointment of Orlando di Lasso as court musician in 1556 under the rule of Duke Albrecht V, Munich became one of Europe's most important centers of music. This is evidenced by the famous collection of around 2,200 sheet-music prints from the 16th and 17th century.

Printed sources of polyphonic music (1501 – 1700) from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek 
(digital collection)
Printed sheet music of the 16th and 17th century with music for several voices 
(project of the Department of Music)

Further information about the music collection – History of the collection

Printed sheet music of the 16th century on bavarikon:
Pierre Attaingnant (printer): Chansons
Ottaviano Petrucci (printer): Frottole

Tablatures and voice books

The collection of music materials of the Bavarian dukes includes handwritten tablatures and voice books from the 15th to the 17th century. In 1538, Duke William V acquired the music collection of the Augsburg city councillor Johann Heinrich Herwart. Further tablatures and voice books were formerly owned by the church and came to the library in the course of the secularisation. The collection includes, in addition to ecclesiastical vocal works, predominantly worldly genres such as chansons, songs and madrigals, as well as intabulations for organ and lute.

In a project supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) the music manuscripts have been indexed online, digitized and made available on the Internet since December 2015.

Manuscript tablatures and partbooks  (digital collection)
Manuscript tablatures and partbooks  (project of the Department of Music)

Tablatures and voice books on bavarikon:
Buxheim Organ Book

Collection of the court music ensemble

The Munich court had a court music ensemble of its own since the beginning of the 16th century. This ensemble was the starting point for the development of today's Bavarian State Orchestra. The music collection of the court music ensemble was incorporated in the holdings of the court library, i.a. the unique collection of a total of 75 choir-book manuscripts in the folio format, some of them with excellent illuminations. In 1860, the holdings of orchestra and church music kept by the artistic directorate of the court music ensemble were likewise transferred to the court library. 

Choir books and manuscripts written in choir-book notation

Choir books from the Renaissance on bavarikon:
Cipriano de Rore: Rore codex
Choir books of Petrus Alamire

Historical scores of the Bavarian State Opera

The historical scores from the court and national theatre have been preserved at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek as well since 1922. The opera library is classified as for "Staatstheater".

Historical Scores of the Bavarian State Opera  (subject catalogue)

Collectio musicalis Maximilianea

One example for the targeted purchasing policy of the Wittelsbach rulers in the field of music is the "Collectio musicalis Maximilianea". The court music director Johann Kaspar Aiblinger was sent on a journey through Italy in 1833 in order to expand the holdings of the court library. On behalf of Maximilian II he acquired an extensive collection of copies of predominantly liturgical vocal music, the majority of which was composed by representatives of the Roman School.

Music collection of the Counts of Toerring-Jettenbach

One of the most important noble families from Bavarian high nobility is the Toerring family, which has been documented since the 12th century. The Counts of Toerring-Jettenbach's music collection comprises 79 music manuscripts and 25 music prints from the period 1591 to 1820. The collection contains valuable evidence of the cultivation of music at the electoral and royal courts in Munich.

The Counts of Toerring-Jettenbach's music collection  (on bavarikon)

Music manuscripts from churches in Munich

In 2006, the German province of the Jesuit order gave the collection of music manuscripts and choir books kept in the church of St. Michael in Munich to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek as a present. The collection comprises a total of 1,270 music manuscripts and 138 sheet-music prints of performance materials. St. Michael used to be a center of church music for a long time and also served as performance location of the Munich court music ensemble. Among others, Orlando di Lasso, Caspar Ett and Franz Lachner were active there.

In 2013 a further important collection of sacral music could be acquired: the 900 music manuscripts of the Munich Theatine church St. Kajetan. The collection includes polyphonic spiritual vocal music of the 15th to the 18th century and complements the Hauber collection, which had been preserved in the court library already since 1821.

Haydn collection Hauber

Johann Michael Hauber (1778 – 1843) was the provost of the Theatine church St. Kajetan. He collected historical music manuscripts. The court library took over part of Hauber's music collection already in 1821. It comprises around 450 music manuscripts and sheet-music prints, among them 196 autographs and handwritten copies of works of Johann Michael Haydn.

Libretto collection Her

The painter Christian Her (1815 – 1892) was originally from Augsburg and was educated at the Academy of Fine Arts. He collected opera text books, libretti of oratories and ballets, predominantly from Munich, Vienna and Berlin. This collection of around 5,700 libretti forms a unique source basis for researching the history of the opera, literature and culture from the 17th to the 19th century.

Libretto Portal

Libretto collection Her and further libretti  (project of the Department of Music)

Collection of sheet music from Sachrang

Peter Hueber from Sachrang (1766 – 1843), known as "Müllner Peter", was a universal scholar, musician and above all composer of innumerable songs. Carl Oskar Renner immortalised him in his novel "Der Müllner-Peter von Sachrang", and in the year 1978 the Bayerischer Rundfunk broadcasting station broadcast the film "Sachrang – Eine Chronik aus den Bergen" (Sachrang – A chronicle from the mountains). The extensive collection of sheet music compiled by the Müllner Peter has been preserved by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek since 1938. In addition to his own compositions, the collection includes also works by Georg Augustin Holler, composer and Munich city music director from 1773 to 1814 ( 7312 – 7622).

"The treasure of sheet music held by Müllner Peter" – The Sachrang musical collection  (on bavarikon)

Collection of popular songs in the personal papers of August Hartmann

The Munich researcher of popular songs and librarian August Hartmann (1846 – 1940) published collections of popular songs, Christmas carols and popular plays together with the schoolmaster Hyazinth Abele, who was in charge of noting down melodies. His personal papers contain source collections and notebooks with song texts (Hartmanniana).

Music autographs

In this collection group, personal papers and music autographs by famous musicians are preserved, whose life and work is connected to Munich and/or Bavaria, for example materials from Hugo Distler, Max Reger, Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Karl Amadeus Hartmann and Josef Rheinberger. The personal papers of Carl Orff contain also the large-format score of the famous "Carmina burana", written in his own hand.

Apart from this, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds the world's largest collection on Richard Strauss: around 65 music autographs and around 2,000 letters and documents written in his own hand.

On Richard Wagner, the library's collection offers numerous printed works and manuscripts, letters, first and early imprints of works and musical sources from the historical performance materials of the Bavarian State Opera, among them the scores of "Tristan und Isolde" and "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg" used in the respective premieres of the works.

The collection on Hans Pfitzner includes a large number of Pfitzner manuscripts and documents. The Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books preserves several hundred letters to and from Pfitzner in addition.

Further information about personal papers from the field of music

Musical treasures of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek  (on bavarikon)

Current collecting activities

In the field of music, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek acquires new publications comprehensively, but it is predominantly owed to the law on mandatory deposits that one specimen of every publication of sheet music issued by a Bavarian publisher is archived by the library. This is applicable to large volumes of classical and contemporary music and Bavarian popular music alike.