Austrian National Library
The Music Department of the Austrian National Library is a modern reference library and the guardian of a priceless collection of autographs. It is Austria’s largest music archive. Music manuscripts, sheet music, opera libretti, musicological texts, audio recordings and the legacies of important Austrian composers are stored, preserved and made accessible to the public.
The music manuscripts (about 51,000) include, among others, autographs of works by Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss and Anton Bruckner. These constitute the most important holdings. Large format choir books document the liturgical practice of the Middle Ages, while a large amount of performance material, inclusive of that from the Viennese Court Chapel, the historical theatres and church archives, provide sources for the study of music up to the present day. The manuscripts can be accessed online via the Catalogue of the Music Collection.
The printed music holdings of the Department total some 130,000 shelf numbers, material, ranging across the entire history of western music. However, thanks to a statuary book deposit requirement on Austrian publishing houses, the Music department features as the central, most important National Musical Archive. Printed music can be accessed via the Catalogue of the Music Collection; for publications from 2000 onwards the Catalogue from 1992 onwards should be consulted online.
The textbook collection numbers about 8,000 volumes.
It can be accessed via the catalogues, and provides source materials for music theatre past and present with an emphasis on baroque opera.
The photogram archive, set up by Anthony van Hoboken, comprises a collection of some 69,000 photo facsimiles. These enable scholars to study original manuscripts not held by the Department of Music. All items are listed in a printed catalogue.
The Music Department holds the personal legacies of composers and interpreters, as well as archival material relating to corporate bodies. The bequests of Anton Bruckner, Alban Berg and Hans Pfitzner are of particular interest, together with those of numerous other composers of the 20th century. The collections are accessible via the Catalogue of the Music Collection, from 1997 onwards in NAK (Catalogue of Manuscripts, Autographs and Legacies).
The microfilm collection of the Music Department (some 2,000 items), includes not only photo material from the department’s own holdings (film of valuable original manuscripts for study purposes), but also microfilm publications (especially catalogue material) from music libraries world-wide.
The history of western music – and particularly that of Austrian music – is ‘sound’ documented via some 18,000 gramophone records and compact discs, and about 4,000 tape recordings. For audio materials the Catalogue of the Music Collection is available online for consultation.
A specific body of literature belonging to the main Austrian National Library collection (about 70,000 volumes of special musical interest), is also stored in the Music Department. Reference books, catalogues and biographies are available from the open shelves in the reading and catalogue rooms.
Terms of usage
• The Library Card issued by the Austrian National Library provides access to the collection in accordance with the Library Regulations.
• The Department of Music is principally a non-lending library.
• Only limited use of original manuscripts is permitted, and that only by prior appointment. Permission is dependant on the credentials (scholarly standing and declared purpose) of the applicant, on the condition (state of repair) of the material and on copyright regulations.
• A reader may not place more than 5 orders for material per day.
• The waiting time for delivery of orders is about one hour.
• A copy of the library regulations in both German and English is available in the reading room.
The open shelves of the reading room contain the most important reference works (music lexicons and encyclopaedias, work lists, composer monographs, basic music literature, standard works on category and genre, musical instruments etc.). There is also free access to the collected works of certain composers, and to periodicals dealing with the history of Austrian music.
From new printed publications readers are allowed to make their own copies, if no copyright law is violated. In all other cases copies must be ordered from the library staff. Copy-work takes two days to execute (calculated from the date of the original order). Copies can also be made from microfilm, microfilm duplicates or microfilm enlargements. Within certain limits copies from photographs can also be made.
• Microfilm and microfiche readers
• Watermark readers
• CD-ROM research
• Internet access
The holdings of the library are identified online through the Catalogue of the Music Collection, which may be used on internet.
• Specialist titles can be researched online via the main catalogues of the Austrian National Library.
• Printed music published from 2000 onwards is catalogued online in the Catalogue from 1992 onwards.
• Legacies and archive materials acquired after 1997 are listed in the Austrian National Library’s Catalogue of Manuscripts, Autographs and Legacies (NAK).
Its own holdings apart, the Department of Music offers access to bibliographies in specific subject areas, and to library catalogues world-wide. The most important of these are:
• RILM (Répertoire international de la littérature musicale = International Repertoire of Music Literature. An international bibliography of musicological literature, including details of journals, yearbooks, conferences reports etc.) [online].
• RISM (Répertoire international des sources musicales = International Repertory of Musical Sources. An international presentation of printed and manuscript sources of music with reference to location) [book-form catalogue and online].
The information service of the Department of Music offers help and advice on use of the local catalogues.
The creation of the Department of Music was a result of a rationalisation of the holdings of the former Imperial Library. It took place over a long period of time. As early as 1653 valuable musicalia was acquired on the purchase of Albert Fugger’s music library. Gottfried van Swieten (‘Präfekt’ – or library supervisor from 1777 until 1803) was, in his day, particularly active in extending the Imperial Music Collection. Later, in 1826, an important – indeed, a decisive phase arrived – when Präfekt Graf Moritz von Dietrichstein began the transfer of the Court Orchestra Archive to the Imperial Library, a mammoth task only brought to completion in the present century.
From 1920 to 2005 the Music Department was located in the fourth floor
of the Albertina building. In these latter years the work of the
Department has developed on two fronts: on the one hand, it plays an
archival role as guardian of a uniquely valuable historic music
culture; on the other, that of a modern, thoroughly up to date research
library accessible to the public.
In 2005 the Music Department moved to the new premises in the Palais Mollard (Vienna 1, Herrengasse 9).