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The "musical renaissance" movement is placing ever increasing treasures of olden time music before us in the form of "Denkmäler" and similar, more or less, monumental publications, edited by competent musical scholars. Thus the old masters of music are again. accessible to libraries which could not and can not acquire them in the very costly and scarce original editions, and this remark applies for obvious reasons to practically all American libraries.
While therefore the evolution of modern music may be fairly well reconstructed through the medium of these modern editions of old music, it is entirely different with the old books on music in which there lies stored such a great wealth of historical suggestion and fact. They are not accessible in reprint, if we except certain works by standard authors-I mention at random Altenburg, Agricola, St. Augustine, Bach, Blankenburgh, Boethius, Diruta, Glarean, Hawkins, Mattheson, Parfaict, Praetorius, Quantz, Ramos de Pareja, Schlick, Virdung, Zacconi. Confronted by this fact, the Library of Congress, immediately after the reorganization of the Music Division in 1902, undertook systematically to collect the old books on music in the original (because practically, only available) editions. In the short space of ten years it was, of course, impossible to acquire every rare book of moment and in some instances this was due less to rarity than to prohibitive cost. Fortunately, a few such books are available either in modern reprints at the Library of Congress, or they found their way years ago, when prices were less exasperating, to other American libraries, principally the Boston Public, the New York Public and the Newberry Library of Chicago. It would be unsafe to assume that an old book on music is not to be found in America because it happens to be wanting here in the largest American collection of the kind.
Possibly, if fortune favors us, certain annoying gaps in our own collections, annoying because of the otherwise comprehensive character of the collections, will gradually disappear. But, whether or not fortune will so favor us, it was felt that the publication of a catalogue of the old books on music already in the Library of Congress-probably more than a third of the entire output before 1800-had become advisable in the interest of musicology at home and abroad. One point, however, should not be overlooked. It has not been the policy of the Library of Congress to collect every or even many edi
tions of a rare book, much less every known translation. The matter embodied in the edition usually decided our choice of edition. Nor did first editions without distinguishing matter tempt us, merely because they were first editions. Such a complete representation of the typographical history of a book may be and is a legitimate desideratum in special collections, but is not necessarily an essential in a general collection as planned by the Library of Congress.
This catalogue is practically the work of Miss Julia Gregory of the Catalogue Division, and, with revisions and certain modifications, represents the catalogue cards prepared since 1902. The adoption of the Anglo-American code of rules some years later will account for occasional slight variations in form between earlier and later entries. Suggestions that would naturally be offered from time to time by the chief of the Music Division, in whose custody the books are kept, have not materially affected the character of Miss Gregory's work. He assumes, however, the full responsibility for the form of this book, and for a few minor deviations from the code of "Catalogue rules, compiled by Committees of the American Library Association and the (British) Library Association," published 1908 with the modifications in force in the Catalogue Division of the Library of Congress. In case of doubt as to the meaning of a collation, etc., the user of the Catalogue is referred to that publication.
To avoid misunderstanding, it may be stated that the entries have as a rule been restricted to books dealing exclusively or in an essential degree with music. Many of the latter are not shelved in the Music Division, but elsewhere, and this accounts for classification symbols other than M, ML and MT to be found in this catalogue. Books dealing only incidentally with music, such as Forkel, for instance, enumerates, have been excluded for practical reasons, though their incidental musical matter may possess a greater scientific value than treatises. devoted exclusively to music. Finally, a subject index has been dispensed with after mature reflection, principally because the old books do not lend themselves satisfactorily to modern subject headings, and because a really useful subject index would have involved analytical labor of such magnitude as to be clearly out of proportion to its usefulness for the musicological expert, the person for whom alone it could possess a practical value. At the end of the volume will be found an "Index to anonymous works, including references to special contents" as compiled by me, and entries for books received too late for insertion in the main alphabet.
Librarian of Congress
Washington, D. C., May, 1913
O. G. SONNECK Chief, Music Division