Musicological Archives for Renaissance Manuscript Studies

Collection Information


Musicological Archives for Renaissance Manuscript Studies


Music and Performing Arts Library /  and School of Music 4006


The Archives were founded by Charles Hamm and Herbert Kellman in 1968.  Herbert Kellman has been the director since 1975.

When acquired

Archives project began in 1968, and is ongoing.


The purpose of the Archives is to aid and stimulate research on the polyphonic music of the Renaissance (1400-1600), particularly research on the original manuscripts and printed sources containing that music. Such research is basic to the understanding of this repertory, and to the realization of modern editions, performances, and recordings.

Microfilms of the 1,600 manuscripts of the period 1400-1550, described in the Census-Catalogue, microfilms of many manuscripts of the period 1550-1600, and microfilms  of the majority of printed anthologies of the period 1500-1550 are available in the Music and Performing Arts Library.

There are additional materials housed in the Archives office (MB 4006).  These include files for the 1,600 surviving manuscripts of polyphonic music (excluding "simple polyphony" and tablatures) composed between 1400 and 1550 containing a detailed table of the manuscript's contents, and unpublished research notes or papers on significant aspects of the source or its contents contributed by scholars from throughout the world; a comprehensive bibliography of all scholarship pertaining to the sources of Renaissance music; an online compilation of titles and composers of all 25,000 works found in the 700 surviving manuscripts and printed books of music containing one or more compositions by Josquin des Prez; and an online compilation of titles and composers of all 22,000 works found in the 550 surviving printed anthologies of the period 1501-1550 (listed in RISM B, vol.1).

Access/Finding Aids/Bibliography

Census-Catalogue of Manuscript Sources of Polyphonic Music,1400-1550, 5 vols., ed. Herbert Kellman (vol. 1 with Charles Hamm).  Stuttgart, 1979-88. (MPAL REF ML169.8 R36v1)

The five-volume Census-Catalogue of Manuscript Sources of Polyphonic Music consists of entries for the 1600 surviving manuscripts, listing composers and genres; physical details; scribes; owners; provenances and dates; and bibliography. It includes all microfilms in the Archives as well as all known extant Renaissance polyphony written between 1400-1550.

In addition to these texts, there is a card catalogue of many of the microfilms located on the fourth floor. 

The resources of the Archives are available to any scholar or student coming to the campus of UIUC.  For further information, or other correspondence, contact:

Herbert Kellman
Professor Emeritus of Music and Medieval Studies
Director, Renaissance Archives
School of Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1114 West Nevada Street, Urbana, IL 61801
fax & phone: 217-367-8511

Index terms

Renaissance Music

See also:

The Polyphonic Office Hymn from 1400 to 1520: A Descriptive Inventory, Tom Ward. American Institute of Musicology, 1980. (MPAL REF ML169.8 R36v.3)

The Treasury of Petrus Alamire: Music and Art in Flemish Court Manuscripts 1500-1535, ed. Herbert Kellman. Ghent, 1999.  (MPAL ML170 T74)

The Contents of Anthologies of Printed Music, 1500-1550, edited by Howard M. Brown, completed by Herbert Kellman. Munich, forthcoming.

The Sources of the Works of Josquin des Prez, ed. Herbert Kellman. Vol. 1 of The New Josquin Edition, Utrecht, forthcoming.