About the Collections

With holdings of nearly three-quarters of a million items, the Sibley Music Library is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent research libraries devoted to all aspects of the study of music. Materials are assigned either to the circulating collections or to the Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections, which includes rare books, archival collections, the Eastman School of Music Archives, and the Eastman Audio Archive.

The circulating collections include scores, books, journals, microforms, and audio and visual recordings. Some of these formats, such as current periodicals, recordings, and microforms, circulate for use primarily within the Library. Scores and books are loaned for use; the precise loan periods are specified under “Circulation Policies.”

The Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections include scores, books, and journals, as well as manuscripts, sheet music, and various archival collections. Notable items or collections include:

  • 11th-century Reichenau/Rochester Codex, and the 12th-century Admont/Rochester Codex (MS 494) both containing significant theoretical treatises by Aribo, Guido of Arezzo, and others.
  • Oskar Fleischer collection of manuscripts illustrating musical notation from the 10th to the 16th centuries.
  • Petrucci’s printing of Josquin’s Masses, and a number of Palestrina’s sacred works printed by Gardane.
  • Orlando di Lasso’s complete Magnum opus musicum (1604).
  • Autograph manuscript of a Trio-sonata by Purcell.
  • Sketches from Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.
  • Autograph songs by Schubert, Brahms and Fauré.
  • Nearly 60 letters in the hand of Berlioz, forming a special collection within a large collection of musical correspondence.
  • Rare Wagner scores, including the publication of Tannhauser lithographed by the composer.
  • Debussy’s holograph short score of La Mer.
  • Holographs by American composers Copland, Diamond, Harris, Hovhannes, Read, Rogers, Sowerby, Thomson, and of course, Howard Hanson.
  • Library of the critic Arthur Pougin (1834-1921), some 3,000 volumes on French theater and opera including rare almanacs, and writings of Guerre des Bouffons.
  • Henry Krehbiel’s library of several hundred books on folklore and folk song anthologies, and the oil portrait of Mozart by Johann Heinrich Tischbein.
  • Performing editions from the extensive libraries of violinist Jacques Gordon and composer/pianist Ferruccio Busoni.
  • Oscar Sonneck’s working library, including preliminary materials relating to his development of the Library of Congress classification for music in 1904.
  • Sheet music collections numbering some 80,000 pieces.
  • A comprehensive collection of editions of “Home Sweet Home,” occasioned by the autograph score of Sir Henry Bishops Clari, or the Maid of Milan containing this air.
  • Publishers’ collections including the rental stock (mainly operas) of Schott-Freres (Brussels) and the last copies forming the Archives of Carl Fischer, and first editions of composers Friedrich Kuhlau and Carl Nielsen amassed for their thematic catalogs issued by Dan Fog (Copenhagen).
  • Photographic portrait studies of composers and musicians by Leveton and Lou Ouzer.