Music and Performing Arts Library Special Collections

About the Collections

The Special Collections area at the Music and Performing Arts Library at the University of Illinois (MPALSC) is home to a unique collection of scores, rare books, recordings, pedagogical materials, and other materials used for scholarly inquiry and performance by students and faculty at the School of Music, the University of Illinois, and researchers throughout the world. Included in the collection are first edition scores of works by Francesco Geminiani and Robert Schumann, numerous facsimile editions of original manuscripts such as the Codex Squarcialupi, extensive runs of 19th century music periodicals such as Cäcilia eine Zeitschrift für die musikalische Welt, and primary reference resources such as the Histoire génerale de la musique by François-Joseph Fétis. The MPALSC holds the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Renaissance polyphonic music microfilms in the world, forming the core of the distinguished Musicological Archives for Renaissance Manuscript Studies. We also hold the source materials for the Hymn Tune Index.

The MPALSC works collaboratively with the Sousa Archives and the Center for American Music, University Archives, and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library to provide access to valuable resources while providing the best possible stewardship of its holdings. The primary aim of this distributed archives policy is to ensure preservation of valuable resources, encourage discovery of historical materials, and facilitate performance of unique musical works. The practical outcome is that materials are housed in the best location, i.e., published editions are generally held at MPAL/MPALSC, manuscripts may be held at either MPAL, RBML, or SACAM, and archival papers and materials are held at the SACAM/University Archives, depending on the item and the larger subject area or collection to which it belongs.