RISM is a monumental undertaking to document the existence and location of printed and manuscript music before the year 1800. RISM publishes printed catalogs and computerized indexes. The project is divided into three subseries: A = Inventories of musical sources from 1600-1800 , in manuscript and printed editions, organized by composer. B = Bibliographies of materials organized by particular topic. C= Directories of music libraries around the world. An overview of the particular volumes follows.
For specifics within these individual volumes, scroll down to the respective box below.
A/I-II -- Inventory of printed music and manuscripts by composer, 1600-1800
RISM Series A/II: Music Manuscripts after 1600
The RISM Series A/II Database contains bibliographic records of music manuscripts written after 1600. The records include information in standard bibliographic categories as well as graphical images of over 740,000 music incipits.
The RISM Composer Database contains more than 28,500 composer names taken mostly from RISM series A/I and A/II. The composers are researched in standard music dictionaries as well as in local special literature.
RISM Libraries Sigla
he RISM Libraries Sigla Database identifies more than 6,250 libraries worldwide that hold music materials relevant to RISM series. All libraries are identified by name and RISM siglum. Other information provided may include the addresses.
RISM Bibliographic Citations Database
The RISM Bibliographic Citations Database contains references for all thematic catalogues and other secondary sources cited in the RISM A/II Music Manuscripts Database.
One RISM A/II database freely available online is
Music Manuscripts (1600 to 1800) in British and Irish Libraries
B/I-II -- Printed music in collections, 1500-1799
B/III -- The theory of music from the Carolingian age (c. 9th century) to c.1500
B/IV -- Manuscripts of polyphonic music, 11th-16th centuries
B/V -- Manuscripts of tropes and sequences
B/VI -- Printed writings about music, to 1800
B/VII -- Lute and guitar tablatures
B/VIII -- The German hymn
B/IX -- Hebrew sources of music and music theory
B/X -- Arabic sources of music and music theory
B/XI -- Ancient sources of music and music theory
B/XII -- Persian sources of music and music theory
B/XIII -- Sources of hymnody (In preparation)
B/XIV -- Manuscripts of processionals (liturgical books)
B/XV -- Masses transmitted in sources from Spain, Portugal and Latin America
C -- Directory of music research libraries