Keeping the score

Music in the Library

Sample exhibiton image

Renaissance music

Portrait of Orlando di Lasso

Portrait of Orlando di Lasso from the Bassus part book of his Livre de chansons nouvelles a cinc parties avec deux dialogues a huict (Paris: Adrian le Roy & Robert Ballard, 1571). MR280.c.55.3

The sixteenth century saw a great expansion in the printing of music, especially after the technical problems of printing words and music at the same time had been overcome by the development of movable music type. The Library’s choice editions from this period encompass motets and masses for the Catholic Church; psalms and hymns for the reformed Churches; madrigals and chansons for the court and home; and instrumental music, often in the form of tablature for keyboard, lute or guitar. The printing of music led to new patterns of transmission spreading from the major centres of music printing, of which the earliest were Venice and Antwerp. Rome, Paris and London developed later.