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.

Circulating Collections

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.”

Ruth T. Watanabe Special Collections

Lord_Danby My Lord Danby, his book, Manuscript (between 1765 and 1770) This unique anthology was written for William Henry Osborne, Earl of Danby (1690-1711), a proficient lutenist who succumbed to smallpox a few days before his 21st birthday. The manuscript contains numerous transcriptions of early 18th-century compositions, including works of Corelli and Handel, notated in French lute tablature. Pouglin Arthur Pougin, 1834-1921 Dictionnaire historique et pittoresque du théâtre et des arts qui s'y rattachent (Paris, 1885) After violin studies at the Paris Conservatoire, Pougin embarked on a writing career, contributing to numerous journals and
completing a biography of Verdi (1886). In 1885, he was
appointed chief editor of Le ménestrel. His vast working library, containing scholarly texts and also many operas in full score, piano-vocal scores, and piano solo transcriptions, was acquired by the University of Rochester in 1923, and divided between the Rush Rhees Library and the Sibley Music Library. His principal interest was the musical theatre, an interest manifest in this reference work which he compiled.
Leonardo Leonardo Vinci, 1690-1730, Artaserse, Manuscript copy from the library of the Earl of Aylesford A manuscript copy of the full score of Vinci's last opera, on which his fame now rests. Artaserse was first performed at the Teatro della Dame (Rome) on February 4, 1730. The manuscript was originally a holding of the famed library of the Earl of Aylesford, a friend of George Frederick Handel, and bears penciled annotations attributed to Handel. Choirbook 15th-Century Choirbook manuscript French illuminated manuscript, between 1253 and 1262,
Dominican gradual
The dating of this Dominican gradual is based on the inclusion or exclusion of certain Saints. The gradual contains music for the Mass, as well as some offices. It is written in French on fine vellum, in an even, careful script, with intricate decorative work best seen in the initials. Marginalia indicate close attention to liturgical changes and elsewhere, extensive markings on the calendar of Saints, where names have been added or erased.
Butterfly Giacomo Puccini, 1858-1924, Madama Butterfly,
(Milan: Ricordi, 1904)
This is an engraved proof copy of the first edition,
with revisions in the composer's hand. The copy is one of a substantial cache of rare editions of nine operas by Giacomo Puccini, purchased with funds generously provided by Dr. John F. Flagg (UR '36). The Sibley Music Library published a catalogue of these editions in 1997, edited by Dr. Michael V. Pisani (ESM '96)
Diego Pisador Diego Pisador, b.1509/10; d. after 1557
Libro de musica de vihuela
(Salamanca, 1552),
This book of vihuela repertory and teaching music contains eight of the Masses of Josquin des Prez, virtually complete, in addition to works by other composers and numerous songs and romances.
Codex Rochester Codex: Manuscript (between 1070 and 1103) This unique manuscript on the arts of the Middle Ages is attributed to three authors, including Hermannus Contractus, the leading German music theorist of the Middle Ages. The codex consists of vellum leaves sewn into signatures, which were stitched into modern binding in the late 1970s. Porgy George Gershwin, 1898-1937 Porgy and Bess
(New York: Random House, 1935)
This copy, number 227 of the limited first edition of the piano-vocal score, was signed by the composer (George Gershwin), the librettist (DuBose Heyward), the lyricist (Ira Gershwin), and the producer (Rouben Mamoulian) of the first production (1934). Mamoulian's first employment in the United States was at the Eastman School of Music, as Assistant Director of the Opera Department and Director of the Department of Dramatic Action and Dance (1923-26).
orlando Orlando di Lasso, 1532-1594, Magnum opus musicum,
(Monachii [Munich], 1604)
One of the acknowledged polyphonic masterworks of the Renaissance, composed by one of the most prolific and versatile composers of the 16th century. The partbooks of Lasso's Magnum opus musicum are known to reside in only four United States libraries.
Henricus Henricus Glareanus, 1488-1563, Dodecachordon, (Basel, 1547) A fusion of ancient thought and contemporary practice, the Dodecachordon (1547) was the work of Swiss-born humanist Heinrich Glarean who wrote with authority on mathematics, geography, philology, poetry, and music. The text contains monophonic and polyphonic musical examples, and is a valuable anthology of musical compositions by Josquin, Obrecht, Ockhegem, and Isaac. The Sibley exemplar is one of many that Glarean inscribed in his own hand, containing a prefatory address signed Glareanus propria manu. Giuseppe Giuseppe Sammartini, 1695-1750, Manuscript of various sonatas,(ca.1760) From 1729, the Italian oboist and composer Giuseppe Sammartini lived in London, where he was one of the leading writers of concertos and sonatas. The contents of this manuscript are varied: seven sonatas for solo oboe; eighteen sonatas for the flute traversière; and one sonata for solo violin. Several different copyists' hands are represented, and most of these sonatas remain unpublished. Bach Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750,
Die Kunst der Fuge (Art of the Fugue) (Leipzig, 1752)
This is one of five first editions of works by Johann Sebastian Bach held by Sibley Music Library. A handsome and spacious engraving, the exemplar is distinguished by the numerous floral embellishments, visually attractive and never failing to catch the reader's eye. Those same embellishments point to the engraver's lack of foresight in plotting out the engraved image on the page, and hence, they represent a means of filling in empty space.
Red,Hot and Blue The piano-vocal score of the musical comedy which featured the hit song "It's De-Lovely." Copies of Red, Hot and Blue! were cited as "extremely rare" in one recent antiquarian trade catalogue. Of this limited edition, 300 copies were printed, this copy being number 210, signed by the composer. Cole Porter, 1891-1964; Red, Hot and Blue!: A Musical Comedy, (New York: Random House, 1936) Forkel Johann Nikolaus Forkel, 1749-1818, Allgemeine Litteratur der Musik, (Leipzig, 1792) Forkel was the early biographer of J.S. Bach, and is generally regarded as the founder of modern musicology. His Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik (vol. I, 1788; vol. II, 1801) represented the first German attempt at a comprehensive history of music, and constitutes a bibliography of writings on music from antiquity through the late 18th century. This volume is from the library of the famous American music historian Oscar Sonneck. Josquin Josquin des Prez, d. 1521, Missarum Josquin liber primus; liber secundus; liber tertius, Printed at Fossombrone, Italy (1514-16) by Ottaviano dei Petrucci A rare, incomplete set of the partbooks of the Masses of Josquin des Prez ─ the Superius and the Bassus from the liber primus, liber secundus, and liber tertius. The Sibley partbooks are believed to date from a 1514-16 printing by Ottaviano dei Petrucci (1466-1539), the first to print polyphonic music from movable type. Petrucci's "multiple-impression" printing method initiated the dissemination of polyphonic music. Pietro The Toscanello was perhaps the best general treatise on musical practice of its generation, especially informative on counterpoint and compositional process. It includes the earliest published description of mean-tone temperament. Published in Italian instead of Latin, it was one of the earliest music treatises in the vernacular. Pietro Aaron, ca.1480-ca.1550, Toscanello in musica di messer Piero Aron, (Venice, 1529)

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.